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Brewers beat Pirates 7-4, keep pace with Cubs

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Return to Miller Park brings return of homers

MLB: Pittsburgh Pirates at Milwaukee Brewers
The Moose goes yard!
Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

WP: Corbin Burnes (5-0); LP: Chris Archer (4-8); Save: Jeremy Jeffress (12); Home runs: Pit - Pablo Reyes (1); Mil - Christian Yelich (29); Travis Shaw (29); Mike Moustakas (26)

Hey! A “we beat the Buccos” Box Score!

It wasn’t clean, but the Milwaukee Brewers (85-63) did enough to top the Pittsburgh Pirates (72-74) 7-4 tonight at Miller Park. The Crew hit three homers and overcame a shaky start by Gio Gonzalez, gave up an early 3-0 lead, and pulled away late for the victory.

The Chicago Cubs beat the Reds tonight, so Milwaukee continues to trail them by 1.5 games in the NL Central. Los Angeles shut out the Cardinals, and those two are now tied for the second Wild Card spot, four games behind the Brewers.

Bucs’ starting pitcher Chris Archer took a while to get going tonight. The Brewers started the bottom of the first with a base hit by Lorenzo Cain and a homerun by Christian Yelich to put the Crew up 2-0.

That was Yeli’s 29th homer of the season, putting him one up on Travis Shaw for the season. One out later Shaw belted his 29th as well, and Archer and Pittsburgh were behind 3-0.

Milwaukee starter Gio Gonzalez was never as sharp tonight as he was in his first start, and he could only make it through 4.2 innings. He allowed three hits and four walks, and one of the hits was rookie Pablo Reyes first homerun in his young career. Gio fanned six. He had two scoreless innings to start, and the second out in the second was a fine play by Lo Cain:

A walk, fielder’s choice, triple, and sac fly brought Pittsburgh to within 3-2 in the top of the third, while Reyes homer came with one out in the fifth and tied the game at three. A walk an out later ended Gio’s night, and brought on Corbin Burnes. Burnes got the final out in the fifth, then worked around a one out double in the sixth for another scoreless appearance for the rookie. He also earned his fifth win of the year when the Crew took the lead in the bottom of the fifth.

Craig Counsell used a double switch when he brought in Burnes in the top of the inning, inserting Orlando Arcia at short and hitting in Gonzalez’ spot. Lando drilled one off of Archer’s posterior for a single, and it looked rather painful. Archer either couldn’t locate where the ball was, or it hurt too much to look...it was right in front of him. Cain walked to put two on, and Christian Yelich’s drive to left was caught on the track by Reyes. Arcia tagged and took third, with Cain oddly holding at first as the throw came into third. No problem...he stole second without a throw with Jesus Aguilar at the plate. Zeus golfed a curve from Archer with one hand to the track in left again for a sac fly, and both runners moved up. It would seem that the Crew had a scouting report that said you could run on the rookie Reyes.

Archer fell behind Shaw 3-0 before they intentionally walked him. The Mayor stole second during the next at bat, but with runners on second and third Ryan Braun took a fastball right down the middle for a called strike three. 4-3 Brewers.

Milwaukee extended their lead in the bottom of the sixth against lefty reliever Steven Brault. Mike Moustakas led off with a jam shot base hit to center, and Domingo Santana pinch hit for Burnes and doubled down the leftfield line to put runners at second and third. Manny Pina hit a shallow pop to right with the runners holding.

Arcia then doubled down the rightfield line to plate both runners and build a 6-3 lead. Well, that doesn’t exactly explain the double:

Haven’t seen something like that since I played little league.

Corey Knebel had a scoreless seventh despite a single and hit batsman, and Moustakas turned around a two strike, 98 mph fastball above the letters for a long homer to boost the lead to 7-3.

Joakim Soria again couldn’t get a clean inning, allowing two doubles to make it 7-4 with two outs. Xavier Cedeno had another scoreless performance, although Brewer killer Adam Frazier hit the ball hard to second, but Hernan Perez picked it and retired Frazier to end the inning.

Jeremy Jeffress earned his twelfth save after striking out the first two he faced, getting a walk on a 3-2 pitch, before getting Francisco Cervelli on a grounder to Moustakas.

The Brewers can win their eighth straight series with a victory tomorrow night. They’ll send out Zach Davies (2-5, 4.75) for his third start since returning from the disabled list. Pittsburgh is starting Ivan Nova (8-9, 4.17).

Game Notes

  • Mike Moustakas had three hits to improve his resume, including the late homer.
  • Orlando Arcia entered the game in the top of the fifth but had enough time to get three hits of his own.
  • Manny Pina caught a foul tip for strike three in the top of the eighth with Jose Osuna at the plate that I swear looked like he reacted to the tip and reached down and caught. I don’t think that’s possible, but it sure looked like it.
  • Gonzalez’ fourth inning was the only 1-2-3 frame for Brewer pitching.
  • Shaw and Yelich have now had seven games this year wear they have both homered.
  • Craig Counsell’s career record is now over .500 (305-304). Let’s keep it that way.