In his first game back after being called back up from San Antonio, Keston Hiura was in the starting lineup, hitting sixth and playing second base. His companion on the airplane from San Antonio to Milwaukee and fellow call up, Tyler Saladino also got the start at shortstop and hit ninth. Saladino in particular made his presence known in this game on defense.
Milwaukee got things going early. To lead off the bottom of the first inning, Yasmani Grandal drew a walk. With two outs in the inning, Lorenzo Cain doubled, and Grandal moved to third. Grandal scampered home on a wild pitch bounced in front of home plate by Chris Archer. LoCain would score next on a double into the right field corner by Eric Thames. Unfortunately, this would be all of the offense Milwaukee would muster in this game.
Jhoulys Chacin took the mound for the Brew Crew hoping to put together a solid start, and that is what he did. He did get into a little trouble in the top of the third inning. Kevin Newman hit a hanging slider over the left field wall to make the score 2-1. Bryan Reynolds would immediately follow with a single, but he was erased as Chacin was able to induce a double play ground ball to Starling Marte.
Chacin was also able to wiggle out of trouble in the fourth and the fifth innings as well. The Pirates would go on to load the bases in the fourth. They loaded the bases via an intentional walk to Jacob Stallings so as to get to Chris Archer’s spot in the order with two outs. Chacin was able to strike Archer out to end the threat. In the fifth, the Pirates were able to get a runner (Bryan Reynolds) to third base with Starling Marte (Marte did hit a sacrifice fly to move Reynolds from second to third) and Josh Bell coming to the plate, but he was unable to score.
Chacin turned in a solid start. He pitched five innings giving up just the one run. The Pirates were able to get six hits off the Brewers’ starter as well as two walks. Chacin, however, was able to get out of virtually every jam the Pirates put him in.
Unfortunately the bullpen did not come through in this one. While Alex Claudio and Corbin Burnes pitched clean sixth and seventh innings, the same cannot be said for the eighth and ninth innings.
Junior Guerra took the top of the eighth inning. He started the inning by walking Bryan Reynolds. Starling Marte followed with a single. Josh Bell next grounded back to Guerra, and with a better throw from Junior, it may have been a double play. The next batter, Colin Moran, hit a hot grounder that Hiura fielded. He was able to eliminate Marte on the force at second, but the Brewers were unable to get the inning ending double play. As a result, Bryan Reynolds (who led off the inning with a free pass) scored the tying run.
Jeremy Jeffress took over in the top of the ninth in a tie ball game. Jeffress was able to get the first out of the inning, but he followed that with a walk to Elias Diaz. Jose Osuna followed with a single that sent Diaz to third. With one out in the inning, Kevin Newman hit a slow roller back to Jeffress. Jeffress fielded the ball cleanly and threw to second base. The throw was off target, and it was all Tyler Saladino could do to make the catch and get the force at second.
For the second consecutive inning, the Brewers were unable to turn an inning ending double play. For the second consecutive inning, the inability to turn the double play resulted in a runner scoring from third. And for the second consecutive inning, the runner that scored from third was the result of a walk.
The go-ahead run by the Pirates would be all that they would need as they have one of the best relief pitchers in the game in Felipe Vasquez. He actually took over pitching duties in the eighth and pitched two innings for only the second time this season. Doing his best Josh Hader impersonation, he struck out Grandal, Christian Yelich, and Mike Moustakas in the eighth, and was able to maneuver through Cain, Manny Pina, and Hiura to notch the save and the win for Pittsburgh, 3-2.
The good news is that Brewers’ starting pitchers not named Brandon Woodruff and Zach Davies pitched solidly in two consecutive games. The bad news is that this loss makes the Brew Crew 4-11 in their last fifteen as the slide continues. Hopefully they can get the “W” tomorrow as these two teams go at it again at 7:15 CT. Former Brewer, Jordan Lyles takes the mound for Pittsburgh, and Brandon Woodruff toes the rubber for Milwaukee. Per usual the game can be seen on Fox Sports Wisconsin and listened to on WTMJ.