The Brewers got good performances from Chase Anderson and Yasmani Grandal on Tuesday night, but it was ultimately an odd -- and pretty much lucky -- play that gave the Brewers the insurance run they needed to hang on to a 4-3 win in Pittsburgh.
Ben Gamel was hitting with the bases loaded and the Brewers leading 3-2 in the 8th inning when, as Craig Counsell explained after the game, he called for a play to draw a throw to first from Pittsburgh catcher Elias Diaz. Travis Shaw did his part, getting way off the base to draw the throw and try to induce a rundown.
Shaw admitted that was a first for him as a base runner. "(First base coach) Carlos (Subero) said, 'Get picked off.'" I asked if he checked to make sure he heard it right and he said it was in #Brewers playbook so he knew what to do.— Tom (@Haudricourt) August 7, 2019
Trent Grisham hesitated as he broke for home, though, and wound up in a short rundown himself before appearing to be tagged out at home. But umpire Joe West ruled that Diaz obstructed the basepath between Grisham and home and ruled the run to score, giving the Brewers that crucial run.
That ended up being one of the game’s deciding plays, as Matt Albers had a tense 9th inning as he tried to close out the game with Josh Hader unavailable and Craig Counsell trying to save as many arms as possible for Wednesday’s Johnny Wholestaff bullpen game.
Diaz led off the bottom of the 9th inning with a hard single and ended up on second base after a wild pitch when Manny Pina couldn’t get in front of a slider from Albers. Pablo Reyes followed with an RBI double, cutting the lead to 4-3 with nobody out.
Despite the first two batters of the inning getting hard contact against Albers, Clint Hurdle gifted the Brewers an out by calling for a sacrifice bunt to move Reyes over to third. It’s worth noting that Reyes is one of the fastest members of the Pirates and likely would score on any hit to the outfield.
Bizzare and a little lucky, but the Brewers were due for a few of those kinds of wins.
Things didn’t start off too well for the Brewers in the first half of the game, either. Lorenzo Cain had to leave the game after the game’s first at-bat when he fouled a ball off his knee (after the game, it was reported that Cain’s knee is bruised and he’s unsure if he’ll be able to play on Wednesday night). Steven Brault also took a perfect game into the 5th inning, because that’s the kind of thing that happens at PNC Park.
It was that 5th inning that saw the Brewers finally break out of that, though, first with Ryan Braun leading off the inning by breaking up the perfect game bid with a walk, then Yasmani Grandal breaking out of his slump by ripping a double into the gap, allowing Braun to score from first. Grandal would end the night 2-for-3 with 2 doubles and a walk.
The Brewers added another run in the inning, although it would cost them two outs, as a run came across on a Trent Grisham double play to make the score 2-0.
Chase Anderson cruised for much of the game, matching Brault inning-for-inning before facing a little adversity in the bottom of the 5th on a pair of infield singles, but he ultimately got out of the inning unscathed.
With Anderson’s pitch count in good shape and needing innings, he went back out for the 6th inning to face the top of the Pittsburgh order a third time. Things didn’t go quite as well, as New Brewer Killer Bryan Reynolds took Anderson deep to centerfield to cut the lead to 2-1. That was followed by a single from Old Brewer Killer Starling Marte, who then scored the tying run on an RBI double by Jose Osuna.
Anderson couldn’t finish the inning and left with two outs and two runners on base, but Junior Guerra was able to put out the fire. That secured Anderson’s 9th straight outing allowing 2 earned runs or less.
New acquisition Jake Faria made his Brewers debut in the middle innings, throwing 2 scoreless innings while allowing 2 hits and picking up a strikeout.
The Brewers go for the sweep tomorrow night at 6 p.m. CDT. Counsell says he doesn’t know yet who will pitch, and may not know for sure until tomorrow. Freddy Peralta, Drew Pomeranz, Devin Williams, Junior Guerra and Josh Hader all figure to be available in some capacity. Trevor Williams will take the ball for the Pirates for his first start against the Brewers this year after holding them scoreless over 19 innings last year.