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Brewers’ 7-series win streak snapped by Pirates after 9th inning rally comes up short

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It’s hard to win a series when you have a 16-inning scoreless drought

MLB: Pittsburgh Pirates at Milwaukee Brewers Patrick Gorski-USA TODAY Sports

WP - Trevor Williams (13-9)
LP - Jhoulys Chacin (14-8)
SV - Felipe Vazquez (34)
HR - Jesus Aguilar (32), Domingo Santana (4)

One More Stomach-Punch Box Score

The Milwaukee Brewers made it interesting in the 9th inning, but in the end a 16-inning scoreless streak was too much to overcome, as their 7-series win streak game to an end this afternoon in a 3-2 loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates.

After Christian Yelich homered in the first inning of Saturday night’s game, the Brewers proceeded not to score until the 9th inning this afternoon, when back-to-back home runs by Jesus Aguilar and Domingo Santana to lead off the inning gave the Miller Park 32,180 some hope before Felipe Vazquez recovered to get three consecutive outs.

Plenty will focus on this as a continued failure on the part of the Brewers offense against the Pirates this year, but Trevor Williams was once again very, very good. Williams came into this game with a 1.21 ERA in his last 10 starts, and it was easy to see why -- all afternoon, he had Brewers batters working from behind, throwing 63 of his 97 pitches for strikes and getting a first-pitch strike on 16 of the 22 batters he faced. That led to 7 strikeouts and plenty of defensive swings on two strikes that yielded weak flyballs and grounders.

Heading into the 9th inning, the Brewers had all of 3 hits, including doubles from Orlando Arcia and Erik Kratz in the 3rd and 5th innings, respectively (the other hit was a 2-out single by Kratz in the 7th). Once Williams was out of the game after 6 innings, Richard Rodriguez and Kyle Crick -- both with ERAs this year in the 2.50 range -- threw two scoreless innings before Vazquez took the mound for the 9th.

Jhoulys Chacin deserved a better fate, throwing 5 very good innings and allowing 2 runs on just 3 hits, although he did also walk 3. The runs came on a sacrifice fly and a single -- and both had a bit of misfortune added in. The first run came after Corey Dickerson doubled off the end of Christian Yelich’s glove as Yelich tried to make a running, leaping grab but came up short. Dickerson scored a couple batters later on that sac fly. The second run came on a Dickerson single, with Josh Bell chugging around the bases to score from second when the throw home from the cutoff man came in low to Kratz, allowing Bell to sneak in to score even as he looked to be dead meat at the plate.

Chacin’s day ended after just 79 pitches when Craig Counsell elected to take a shot offensively in the bottom of the 5th after Kratz’s double, sending Eric Thames up to pinch-hit. Thames ended up striking out looking on a 3-2 fastball that shaved the outside bottom corner of the strike zone. Kratz would be stranded at second after Lorenzo Cain grounded out to first.

The Brewers’ non-Hader-and-Jeffress bullpen, which has hit a rough patch lately, at least kept the team in the game with Chacin’s early exit, as Corey Knebel, Joakim Soria and Xavier Cedeno teamed up to throw 3 hitless innings. Corbin Burnes took the 9th inning, but couldn’t extend that streak, allowing a 2-out RBI single to Kevin Newman that proved to be a game-clinching insurance run.

If there’s good news coming out of a disappointing Wisconsin sports weekend, it’s that the Cubs lost 2-1 to the Reds today, meaning the Brewers at least won’t lose ground in the division race -- although with two weeks to play, gaining no ground is just about as bad as losing ground.

The Reds come to town starting tomorrow night before the Brewers have to face the Pirates one last time this season to close next week.