Hoping to get off to a good start in Pittsburgh, the Milwaukee Brewers sent lefty Brent Suter to the hill for game 1 of their 4-game set with the Pirates.
The soft-tossing Harvard grad got off to a strong start, tossing 4.0 scoreless innings out of the chute. Milwaukee’s offense staked him to an early lead, scoring single runs in the 2nd inning on an RBI single by Orlando Arcia, and in the 4th inning on a fielder’s choice by Stephen Vogt. Pirate first baseman Josh Bell threw wildly to home on that play, otherwise Travis Shaw would have normally been a pretty easy out at the plate with the infield in and the contact play on.
Suter and the Brewers hit a wall in the 5th inning, though. Jose Osuna singled to lead off the bottom of the inning and would come around to score on a double by Gregory Polanco. Polanco moved to third on the play when Suter missed the catch while backing up the play at the plate, and would come home to tie the game when the next batter, Jordy Mercer, hit a sacrifice fly. Opposing pitcher Chad Kuhl and Josh Harrison would both hit singles to follow bringing Francisco Cervelli to the plate. Cervelli hit a ground ball through the right side and Kuhl was waved home. Domingo Santana came up throwing and was able to get the out at the plate, but only after a violent collision occurred between Kuhl and the catcher Vogt. Both players were down, though Kuhl would quickly get back to his feet and stay in the game. Vogt remained on his back for several minutes before getting helped up and walking off the field. He apparently avoided a concussion though, and was evaluated for both a neck and left knee strain. He was walking around after the game and is listed as day-to-day, but will have an MRI today to ensure there’s no structural damage.
Vogt was replaced in the game by Manny Pina and the inning would continue. Suter intentionally walked Andrew McCutchen to load the bases and would then get yanked in favor of Rob Scahill. The righty fell behind 3-0 to David Freese before coming all the way back with three called strikes to get the punchout and keep the score tied at 2-2.
The Pirates would add another run in the 6th off of Josh Hader and one more in the against Tyler Webb to make it 4-2, where the score would finish. Milwaukee had plenty of chances to break through offensively, but stranded the bases loaded in the 4th and 7th innings, and had a runner thrown out at home in the 6th.
The loss drops Milwaukee’s record to 52-43, and combined with a 4-3 victory by the Cubs over the Braves means that the Brewers lead in the NL Central is down to 3.5 games. The Brewers and Pirates will be back at it again at 6:05 PM CST, with Junior Guerra (1-3, 4.78 ERA) set to return from the DL to face off against Ivan Nova (9-6, 3.21 ERA)