WP: Corbin Burnes (6-0); LP: Edgar Santana (3-4); Save: none; Home Runs: Mil - Travis Shaw (30), Mike Moustakas (27), Erik Kratz (6), Keon Broxton (4); Pit - Josh Bell (11), Corey Dickerson (12)
A PNC winning Box Score!
It was like two different games Friday night at PNC Park in Pittsburgh. The Pirates (77-75) won the first half, then Mother Nature gave the Brewers a needed breather (and a new pitcher to face), and the Milwaukee Nine came back for an 8-3 win, slamming the Bucs with a three-homer, six-run sixth inning.
The Wild Card chasers both won, so the lead over the Cards remains 3 games, and the Rockies are 4.5 games back. But more importantly, the White Sox stomped the Cubs 10-4, so Milwaukee is back within 1.5 games of the best record in the National League.
Jhoulys Chacin had another less than exemplary start for the Brewers, but this time the offense bailed him out. Chacin retired the first two in the bottom of the first, but Josh Bell drilled the first pitch he saw out to right, and it wasn’t a cheapie. The Pirates went down in the second and third with no runs scored, but Francisco Cervelli singled leading off the bottom of the fourth, and Corey Dickerson pulled a slider well out to right to give the Bucs a 3-1 lead.
That Brewer run had scored in the top of the fourth after Ivan Nova had shut them down for the first three innings. Christian Yelich had Milwaukee’s first hit on a double to right with one out. Jesus Aguilar was caught looking for a strikeout, and Clint Hurdle opted to walk Travis Shaw and pitch to Ryan Braun. Braunie responded with a base hit to right that scored Yeli, tying the game at one. That tie only lasted until the bottom of the inning.
The top of the fifth took about 2 1⁄2 hours but the Brewers didn’t score a run. A one out bunt hit by Orlando Arcia was followed by the roughly 2 hour and 15 minute rain delay. This allowed me to follow other pursuits for a while, fretting about the state of baseball in Milwaukee. When baseball resumed, Tyler Saladino hit for Chacin, and Ivan Nova was out of the game for Pittsburgh (whew). Saladino watched four pitches, three of which were strikes, and sat down. Arcia took second on a passed ball, but Curtis Granderson ground out to end the inning.
Edgar Santana was on the mound for the Pirates in the top of the sixth, and he lasted four batters. He actually left during the fourth at bat with forearm tightness and a 3-0 count. Cervelli had left a bit earlier with an upset stomach, so the entire battery left during the inning. It was a reasonable decision. Santana allowed a single to Yelich, an RBI double by Aguilar, a home run for Shaw, and a walk that was completed by Steven Brault. Brault then gave up back-to-back homers to Mike Moustakas and Erik Kratz. Just like that, the Brewers led 7-3.
In the top of the seventh Travis Shaw struck out swinging for the second out and reacted with a loud expletive. As there were about 25 fans left in the stands, it was quite audible on the telly. Travis must have said something in the dugout a few seconds later, as home plate ump Marty Foster tossed him. Marty could hear everything, too. What’s that we used to say? Rabbit ears?
Keon Broxton followed the excitement by drilling a line drive homer to bump the Milwaukee lead to 8-3.
The ‘A’ bullpen hadn’t pitched for a while, so they worked tonight. Corbin Burnes took over for Chacin in the bottom of the fifth and allowed a two out single but no runs, notching his sixth win with no losses. Josh Hader worked 1.1 innings, striking out three and allowing a triple, but no runs as well. Corey Knebel continued to look good while striking out the two batters he faced, and Joakim Soria has a scoreless inning with a hit, walk, and strikeout. Yay!
Jeremy Jeffress hadn’t pitched in a week and took the 9th, getting the Pirates 1-2-3 to finish off a big win.
With eight games left, Zach Davies (2-6, 4.66) goes for a series win tomorrow night, while the Bucs counter with ace Trevor Williams (13-9, 3.16), who gave the Crew fits last week at Miller Park.
- PNC Park isn’t a home run field — except for tonight, when six dingers were hit (four by the Crew).
- Josh Hader set a record tonight, dating back to the start of the expansion era (1961): he had 16 straight outs recorded via the strikeout after striking out the side in the sixth, stretching back three appearances. That string was broken with a groundout on the last batter he faced.
- The Milwaukee pen worked five innings, allowed three hits, no runs, a walk, and six k’s. Actually, as I look at that, it was kinda an off night.
- The Brewers started the bottom of the second with two fielding gems. Travis Shaw made a nice backhand stop of a grounder from Dickerson, nipping him at first with a good throw. Then, rookie Pablo Reyes drilled a frozen rope into deep left center that Christian Yelich ran down. So the Brewers didn’t miss Lorenzo Cain tonight, except for the smile.
- For the second straight season, the Brewers now have three players with 30 homers, as Shaw has joined Aguilar and Yelich. They had previously not done it since 1982.
- Saladino and Eric Thames continue to make the final spot choice for a play-off roster tough. They both struck out (again). Maybe Tyler gets a boost from seeing one more pitch; Thames went down on three. On the other hand, Saladino could conceivably get better results if he swung.
- Erik Kratz was the “winner” of the Who Gets Plunked Between the Shoulder Blades Sweepstakes leading off the bottom of the eighth. Clint Hurdle teams play the game the right way.