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Pirates make Chacin walk the plank; sink Brewers 9-4

Three bases-loaded walks. Ugly.

MLB: Milwaukee Brewers at Pittsburgh Pirates Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Box Score

So, maybe there is a curse on Opening Day starters for the Milwaukee Brewers.

Jhoulys Chacin once again did not have it right out of the chute tonight for the Cream City Nine. Back-to-back two-out hits put Chacin in an early 1-0 hole in the first inning. He allowed another two-out hit in the second, but it wound up being harmless in front of pitcher Chris Archer, who struck out to end the scoreless frame. In the third, though, the wheels fell off for Jhoulys.

Kevin Newman, Gregory Polanco, and Starling Marte strung together consecutive hits to begin the inning, plating Pittsburgh’s second run. Josh Bell hit a liner that was caught for the first out, and then Chacin started having difficulty finding the strike zone. Bryan Reynolds walked to load the bases. Colin Moran strolled to first on a base on balls to force home a run. After a Jacob Stallings punchout, Chacin walked in another run, giving Adam Frazier an RBI the easy way. Then came Archer, a career .088 hitter. He worked Chacin for yet another free pass, only the second time Archer had ever walked as a big league hitter. It was also his second career RBI. That was enough to convince Craig Counsell to yank Chacin out of the game in favor of Freddy Peralta. Fastball Freddy allowed two of Chacin’s runs to score on a Newman single before finally ending the inning with a strikeout of Polanco. The Pirates brought 11 men to the plate and scored six runs to take command of the game.

By the time the dust settled on Chacin’s outing, he was the owner of a 5.74 ERA through 58.0 innings. His current 4.50 BB/9 rate would be the highest he’s ever allowed in his career, and according to the Baseball Prospectus ‘Called Strikes Above Average’ metric, Chacin has the worst command in baseball this season.

A solo homer by Jesus Aguilar and a three-run blast by Keston Hiura in the middle innings would bring Milwaukee to within a three-run gap at 7-4, but Peralta eventually caved and allowed a couple runs of his own during his long relief outing. An RBI single by Moran in the sixth made it 8-4 Pittsburgh, and then on the next play a double-error by Keston Hiura allowed another run to come home. With runners on the corners, Jacob Stallings hit one back up the middle the Hiura couldn’t field cleanly, then when he finally did wrangle the ball in he threw it well over Aguilar’s head into the stands.

Chris Archer allowed the four runs and struck out seven across seven innings for the Pirates tonight, who used a pair of lefties in Francisco Liriano and Felipe Vazquez to close out the 9-4 victory and climb back to .500 at 28-28. Alex Claudio worked the final two frames for the losing Brewers, allowing only one hit and zero runs.

Milwaukee (32-26) will face the Steel City Nine in game three of the series tomorrow afternoon, with first pitch scheduled for 3:05 PM central. Brandon Woodruff will toe the slab facing off against Nick Kingham.