WP - Brent Suter (3-0)
LP - James Marvel (0-3)
HR - MIL: Keston Hiura (18), PIT: none
The Brewers haven’t been challenged much in another incredible September run, but when they have, they’ve responded accordingly.
We got another example of that early on Saturday night. A two-out error by Keston Hiura allowed the Pirates to get on the board first, but that deficit wouldn’t last very long.
Hiura came back from the defensive gaffe -- his 14th error in 77 games -- to drill a two-run home run in the bottom half of the first inning, and the Brewers never looked back, steamrolling the Pirates for a second consecutive 10-1 win.
Much like Friday night, the Brewers were able to tack on several runs with ruthless efficiency and patience at the plate.
They would add multiple runs to their lead in the 4th inning, with the first three runners reaching on a single by Ryan Braun, a HBP for Eric Thames, and an RBI single by Lorenzo Cain.
That was the second of three hits for Cain on the night, and sensing a big inning, Craig Counsell elected to pinch-hit for Zach Davies despite him never running into trouble in his 4 innings pitched.
That move ended up paying off, as Travis Shaw drew a walk in his pinch-hit appearance to load the bases. Trent Grisham followed with a bases-loaded walk to bring in a run, and a couple batters later, Mike Moustakas also walked to bring home another, growing the lead to 5-1.
They would tack on another run in the 5th inning when Braun again led off the inning with a single, then stole second base and moved to third when the throw went into centerfield. Cain came up with yet another clutch hit, again driving in Braun with an RBI single.
That came in between another two scoreless innings from Brent Suter in relief, allowing just a two-out broken-bat single by Adam Frazier.
More runs came in the 6th and 7th innings for the Brewers, with Grisham being a big factor in both innings. He led off the 6th with a single and then stole second base ahead of a walk by Yasmani Grandal. Braun then followed with a 2-RBI double, pushing the Brewers’ lead to 8-1.
Grisham provided the last two runs in the 7th with an impressive opposite-field home run.
About that efficiency that was mentioned before -- Grisham’s home run gave the Brewers 10 runs on 10 hits for the night. Eight of those came from Grisham (3), Cain (3) and Braun (2). Overall, the night was a pretty good way for Grisham to celebrate being named the organization’s Minor League Player of the Year.
While the offense kept tacking on runs, the Brewers’ bullpen kept putting up zeroes. That unearned run in the first inning would be all the Pirates could muster, and once Davies left the game, the combination of Suter, Alex Claudio, Matt Albers, Junior Guerra and Jimmy Nelson combined for just four baserunners over the last five innings.
The Brewers came into the game already knowing the Cubs lost later in the day, and with the win, Milwaukee now moves three games ahead of Chicago for the NL’s second wildcard spot with just seven games left to play. Their magic number is five.
You could say the math is on their side.
The Brewers will go for the sweep of the Pirates in what may be the final home game of 2019 on Sunday. Brandon Woodruff will get the ball first for the Brewers before giving way to Gio Gonzalez. They’ll face off against Trevor Williams.