WP: Wade LeBlanc (2-0); LP: Rob Scahill (0-1); Save: none; Homeruns: Mil., none; Pit., Josh Bell (5)
The Brewers and Pirates played three scoreless innings before a two and a half hour rain delay cost the Pirates most of the fans at the game, the BCB game thread many of it’s followers, and some of us some sleep. The Pirates’ bats woke up quickly after the delay, while the Brewers’ bats remained somnambulant.
Jimmy Nelson was close to perfect through his three innings. An error from Orlando Arcia was the only blemish on Jimmy’s line, on a knuckle-ball liner from starting pitcher Chad Kuhl. It appeared that Arcia missed the ball entirely and it caromed off of his ankle into left-center field. Nelson fanned the first two hitters he faced for his two K’s. Pittsburgh starter Chad Kuhl allowed two hits and no runs in his three innings. Neither starter returned after the long delay.
Kuhl was followed by Wade LeBlanc, Juan Nicasio, Felipe Rivero, and Daniel Hudson. The five combined for the shutout, and four Brewer pitchers (Nelson, Jared Hughes, Jacob Barnes,and Jhan Marinez) combined to shut out the Bucs. Unfortunately, they also had Rob Scahill making his season debut for the Crew, and he was the only hurler among the ten that worked to give up any runs.
The Pirates struck for three in their first at bats following the rain delay after the Brewers went in order in the top of the fourth. Scahill allowed four hits in the inning, and a throwing error from Eric Thames on a potential inning ending double play ball made two of the runs unearned. Further damage was averted when Hernan Perez gunned down Jose Osuna at the plate on a single by relief pitcher Wade LeBlanc. The Brewers had intentionally walked number eight hitter Jordy Mercer to get to LeBlanc, who picked on Scahill’s first pitch for his base knock. Is it just me, or are the Brewers having an inordinate amount of difficulty when they pitch to opposing pitchers?
Josh Bell added the Bucs’ fourth run in the bottom of the fifth with a long homerun to deep right center. They wasted a two out double from the season-long slumping Gregroy Polanco (.221/.316/.302) when Francisco Cervelli bounced out to short. Scahill’s night concluded with two innings, six hits (including two doubles and a homer), a walk, and a strikeout. Two of his four runs allowed were earned.
Jared Hughes made it two ex-Pirates in a row facing their ex-teammates when he followed Scahill in the bottom of the sixth.
Nick Franklin started in rightfield tonight, and had three hits - the only Brewer with a multiple hit night as they notched just seven. The Pirates had only seven as well, but six of them came in the two innings thrown by Scahill.
Ryan Braun returned to Milwaukee for an exam of his injured arm/shoulder, and is expected to rejoin the team tomorrow.
The Brewers (15-15) drop back into a tie with the St. Louis Cardinals (14-14), both 1.5 games back of the Chicago Cubs (16-13). The Cubs dropped a 3-2 decision to the New York Yankees at Wrigley Field, blowing a 2-0 ninth inning lead, while the Cards topped the Braves in Atlanta, 10-0.
Saturday night the Brewers look to even the series when they send Matt Garza (1-0, 3.38) out to face Brewer fan favorite Gerrit Cole (1-3, 3.50). Come to think of it, both pitchers are Brewer fan favorites. Weather permitting, game time is 6:05 pm.