The Milwaukee Brewers came into today looking to sweep the Pittsburgh Pirates in front of a sellout crowd for Christian Yelich bobblehead day. Steven Brault and Chase Anderson matched up for a good old fashioned pitching duel, at least for six innings. Anderson pitched very well. He touched 97 mph on his 4-seam fastball, and his cutter/change combination had the Pirates’ left-handed hitters struggling the entire afternoon.
The only runs given up by Anderson came in the top of the second. With two outs in the inning and a 3-2 count on Gregory Polanco, it looked like Chase had Polanco rung up. Unfortunately, the umpire called the pitch a ball, and Polanco took his base. The next pitch to Jung Ho Kang got too much of the plate, and the Pirates’ shortstop did not miss as he launched a home run to left to give Pittsburgh the early lead.
Chase was otherwise very effective. Anderson went six innings. He gave up just the two earned runs while striking out six. Brault was just as effective, looking as if he were going to own the Brewers on this afternoon. While pitching well, he did make the mistake of throwing a slider that hung up just a bit too much to the MVP. With today being Christian Yelich bobblehead day, Yelich did what he is supposed to do. He deposited that hanging slider over the right field wall for his major league leading 24th home run.
As mentioned before, both pitchers pitched well for six innings. Craig Counsell took Anderson out for the seventh in exchange for a fresh Adrian Houser. Houser was impressive and was able to pitch a scoreless seventh. Pirates’ manager, Clint Hurdle, sent Brault out for the seventh inning. Hernan Perez placed a ball deep in the hole between the third baseman and shortstop. Kang was able to get to the ball, but unable to throw out Perez at first. Orlando Arcia would walk later in the inning, and then things got interesting.
Craig Counsell sent Manny Pina to the plate to pinch hit for Houser. That evidently forced Clint Hurdle’s hand. The Pirates’ manager removed his starter in exchange for right hander, Richard Rodriguez. Counsell countered by removing Pina as the pinch hitter, and sending up Ben Gamel in his place.
Gamel would work the count to 3-2, perhaps getting the benefit of a borderline call to get the count full. Gamel made the best of it. He took the 3-2 offering from Rodriguez to left field for a single that scored Perez to tie the game. Brian Reynolds airmailed a throw that missed all cutoff men and allowed Arcia and Gamel to advance to second and third respectively.
Rodriguez would next walk Lorenzo Cain to load the bases and to offer a golden opportunity for the Brewers with every base occupied, one out, and Mr. Yelich coming to the plate. Unfortunately, the MVP did not come through in this at-bat as he popped up to the shortstop. Ryan Braun would follow up with a ground ball to end the inning and the opportunity.
Jeremy Jeffress took over the top of the eighth inning, and he was able to hold the Pirates off the scoreboard. Francisco Liriano would take over for the Pirates in the bottom of the eighth. He walked Yasmani Grandal start the inning. Mike Moustakas followed with a blast that hit the Toyota RAV4 in right field for number 20 of the year.
Hernan Perez would continue things with a single to left. He would go on to steal second base. Jesus Aguilar would get Perez to third with a single to right field and still no one out. Hurdle would go to his bullpen again in attempt to stop the bleeding. Geoff Hartlieb was able to record an out against every batter he faced, but Orlando Arcia was able to lift a fly ball to centerfield that scored Perez and make the score 5-2, Brew Crew.
The top of the ninth went to Josh Hader which constituted only the third time this year he pitched on back-to-back days. Hader would walk Kevin Newman, who pinch hit for left-handed hitting, Colin Moran, to lead off the inning. Hurdle pinch hit for the next scheduled left-handed hitter too, Gregory Polanco. The pinch hitter, Jose Ozuna, saw multiple sliders in the at-bat, but struck out on a 96 mph fastball on the inner part of the plate. The next hitter, Jung Ho Kang, made Hader work as he fouled off pitch after pitch. Hader would eventually strike him out on a slider. Elias Diaz was next. Hader would strike him out, and thus strike out the side to get his 16th save of the year.
Milwaukee will have the day off tomorrow. They will start a two game series in Houston with the Astros on Tuesday. Freddy Peralta and Brandon Woodruff are scheduled to take the ball for the two games.