It was #JuniorGuerraDay, but our hero had his first clunker of the season in the series opener against the Pirates. Things got off to a rough start right away in the first inning. Junior struck out Adam Frazier to begin the game, but then walked Gregory Polanco after having him down 0-2. Starling Marte followed with a single, then the runners moved up to second and third after an errant pickoff throw by Manny Pina at second base found its way into center field. Guerra walked the next two hitters - including Francisco Cervelli with the bases loaded to make it a 1-0 game - before getting Colin Moran on strikes to end the threat.
Guerra got the Pirates 1-2-3 in the second, and Milwaukee tied the game at one apiece on a solo homer by Pina, his third of the year. Junior retired the first two batters of the third inning before Josh Bell reached on a two-out single to bring Corey Dickerson up to the plate. He deposited Guerra’s second pitch of the at-bat into the seats in right field to make it a 3-1 contest.
Junior threw another clean inning in the fourth, but things came unraveled in the fifth inning. Polanco led off the frame with a solid single right back up the middle to bring Marte to the plate. Starling got into a middle-in fastball from Guerra and sent it flying off the wall in center field, to which Lorenzo Cain was standing much too close. The ball bounded off the top of the wall and went rolling around the warning track, and by the time the Brewers were able to get it back into the infield, Marte had come around to score for a two-run, inside-the-park dinger to make it a 5-1 game. Guerra managed to complete the rest of the inning unscathed, and ended the day with five innings, five runs (earned), four strikeouts, and four walks.
Milwaukee rallied in the bottom of the sixth against Pirates’ starter Nick Kingham. Christian Yelich led off with a double and scored on a Jesus Aguilar single to make it 5-2. Two batters later, Domingo Santana strode up to the plate and sent an 0-2 slider flying. It was his first home run of the season - on May 4th - and brought the score to 5-4. Kingham was then pulled in favor of Edgar Santana, who ended the threat without any further damage.
That was as close as the game would get, though, with Milwaukee failing to score and Pittsburgh adding an insurance run in the top of the 9th by way of a David Freese solo homer off Taylor Williams. The 6-4 defeat dropped Milwaukee’s record to 19-14, while Pittsburgh improved to 18-15. First pitch for game two of the series on Saturday is a 6:10 PM CST, with Jhoulys Chacin (2-1, 4.54 ERA) set to face off against Jameson Taillon (2-3, 4.83 ERA).