WP: Chase Anderson (8-11); LP: Steven Brault (0-2); Save - none; Home Runs: Mil. Santana 2 (6), Villar (12), Carter (32), Pitt. none
Milwaukee completed their three game weekend sweep over the Pirates with a 10-0 win. Four Brewer homers and solid pitching dropped the Pirates 3.5 games behind the Cardinals in their chase for the last Wild Card spot.
The first inning started promisingly for both teams this afternoon, but neither team could make anything out of it. Keon Broxton, back at lead-off with Jonathan Villar still unavailable in the field, doubled to right center but was doubled off when Orlando Arcia lined up the middle into the shift for an unassisted double play to second baseman Josh Harrison. Harrison lined a single to lead off for the Pirates, but John Jaso’s liner was right at Chris Carter, holding Harrison at first, for another unassisted double play.
The Brewers broke into the scoring column in the second with one out when Domingo Santana hit a long homer to dead center on a first pitch fastball from Pirates’ starter Steven Brault. They appeared to score a second run in the fourth when Orlando Arcia walked with two out and Hernan Perez’ groundball to thirdbaseman Adam Frazier was thrown wildly over Jaso’s head. Jaso came down and collided with Perez while the throw bounced into short right. Arcia came all the way around to score, and on the throw to the plate Perez tried to take second. He was thrown out for the inning’s final out.
But wait! There’s more! The umpires ruled that Perez could not be retired due to obstruction, but had to return to first. Then they inexplicably ruled that Arcia would not have scored if the play had proceeded normally...even though that’s exactly what happened. Craig Counsell, being a relatively logical guy, was miffed and got himself tossed, probably for calling the umpires delusional idiots. Well, that was one of the nicer things that I called them. Pat Murphy took over for CC. Perez stole second, but Carter lined to left for the fourth...er, third out of the inning.
Chase Anderson pitched very effectively for his five innings, earning his eighth win of the season. Pittsburgh couldn’t score despite a hit an inning, and Chase’s pitch count and performance warranted more work, but when Jake Elmore drew a two out walk to load the bases in the top of the sixth with two down, Murphy sent up Villar to pinch hit. Jonathan was fine to hit, although his knee had kept him out of the starting line-up. Murphy earned his season’s salary when Villar lined reliever Juan Nicasio’s 1-2 fastball on the outer part of the plate down the leftfield line and into the seats for a grand slam that put the Brewers up 5-0. The sudden breathing room totally changed the complexion of the game, and Tyler Cravy’s two scoreless innings were a very welcome contribution from the pen.
The Brewers turned it into a laugher in the top of the ninth. Shoddy fielding aided the Brewers in plating Jake Elmore on a force out from Perez, and then Carter and Santana went back to back off of reliever Kelvin Marte for four more and a ten-zip lead. All five runs were unearned.
Ben Rowen made his Brewer debut in the ninth, and his first major league appearance since 2014 (Rangers). Rowen, a submariner, pitched a perfect frame to send the Brewers home with a four game winning streak.
The Cubs come to Miller Park tomorrow for a Labor Day noon contest. Chicago (87-48 pending the outcome of today’s game against the Giants) send Kyle Hendricks (13-7, 2.09) out to face rookie Zach Davies (10-6, 4.07) and the Brewers (60-76).