WP: Josh Hader (1-0); LP: George Kontos (2-3); Save: none; Home runs: Pitt: Starling Marte (5); Mil - none
Whadayano? A Box Score!
The Pittsburgh Pirates (18-16) walked five Milwaukee Brewers (20-14) at Miller Park tonight; four of them scored. They walked .105 hitting Eric Sogard three times (once intentionally), and he scored twice. The Bucs were efficient at the plate, scoring three times on just four hits, but the Crew had Ryan Braun to play late in the game and evened the series at a game apiece into tomorrow’s rubber match.
The Brewers spent the early part of the night putting runners on and failing to score off of Pirates’ starter Jameson Taillon. Lorenzo Cain led off the bottom of the first with a single and moved up on two infield outs, but Travis Shaw lined out to left. Two singles (Domingo Santana, Manny Pina) had runners at first and third with one down in the second, but Eric Sogard bounced into an easy 4-6-3 double play to finish that frame.
One out singles by Cain and Christian Yelich put runners on first and third with one down in the bottom of the third, bringing up Jesus Aguilar. He was jammed with a fastball and hit a shallow pop into short right that was caught by second baseman Adam Frazier. Cain challenged Frazier’s arm but was easily thrown out at home.
All of the baserunners finally paid off in the bottom of the fourth. A lead-off walk to Shaw (Taillon’s only walk in his start) turned into a run an out later when Hernan Perez continued to torture Taillon (who christened Hernan with his Latin Babe Ruth nickname for the three homers he has hit off of him in his fifteen at bats) with a line drive double that short-hopped the left field wall. That gave the Brewers a 1-0 lead.
Jhoulys Chacin had another effective outing for the Crew. He shut out the Pirates on one hit and two walks through the first five innings, but consecutive singles leading off the sixth put runners at the corners. Josh Bell had a sac fly to center to tie things up at one. Jhoulys got the final two batters to finish his night with six innings pitched, three singles and two walks with the one run scored, striking out four. Jeremy Jeffress had a scoreless seventh despite a lead off walk, with one strikeout.
After scoring their first run, the Brewers suddenly stopped getting base runners at all. The only runner, in fact, for the next eleven batters was Sogard, who was intentionally walked to get to Chacin in the bottom of the fourth. Then the Pirates continued to show respect for the .105 hitting Soda Boy by walking him with one down and nobody on in the bottom of the seventh. Pinch hitter Ryan Braun then struck out in that job for the second night in a row. Fortunately he remained in the game at first base.
With Cain at the plate, Pirate hurler Kyle Crick uncorked a wild pitch, sending Sogard to third. Cain walked and Pittsburgh stuck with the righty against lefty Yelich; it backfired when Yelich singled into left-center to put Milwaukee back on top 2-1.
With Aguilar at the plate Pirates’ catcher Francisco Cervelli allowed a low, outside fastball to go off of his glove and to the backstop for a run-scoring passed ball. Crick had another wild pitch on ball four to Aguilar to put runners at first and third and end his night with 2⁄3 of an inning, one hit, two runs, three walks, a passed ball, and two wild pitches.
Lefty Steven Brault ended the inning by retiring Shaw on a groundball into the shift in short right. Milwaukee took a 3-1 into the eighth.
A 3-1 lead into the eighth meant it was finally time for Josh Hader to make his first appearance since his eight strikeout performance against the Reds last Monday. But Josh couldn’t locate after striking out lead-off hitter Sean Rodriguez, and walked Gregory Polanco on a 3-2 pitch before falling behind 2-1 to Marte. Starling went with an outside corner fastball and sent it out to right to tie the game up at three. Josh finished the inning with two more strikeouts, but the damage was done; 3-3 into the bottom of the eighth.
With George Kontos pitching for the Buccos, Santana led off the bottom half of inning number eight with a double just inside the third base bag. Orlando Arcia, in the game defensively in the top of inning, failed on three attempts to bunt Sunday over and struck out. Pina’s groundball to short didn’t advance Santana either, leaving it up to Sogard - who the Pirates walked AGAIN...this time on four pitches, to get to Ryan Braun.
Braun whiffed on two hanging sliders, but not on the third, lacing a two run double into the left-center gap. Another game winning hit for Braunie provided Hader with his first win of the season after his blown save, and Hader unofficially saved his own win with a 1-2-3 ninth. The ballgame closed on a diving grab of a line drive by Orlando Arcia, ending a close, tense game. Hey, the Brewers beat a team with a winning record.
Chad Kuhl (3-2. 5.01) will start for Pittsburgh tomorrow afternoon and Milwaukee counters with Chase Anderson (3-2, 3.38). The Brewers remain a half game behind St. Louis in the NL Central.