It was Craig Counsell’s birthday on Friday, a big round number for the locally-grown skipper — 50. Unfortunately, his lifeless offense could not muster enough runs to celebrate Counsell’s milestone day with a victory.
The Milwaukee Brewers did actually get on the board first in Pittsburgh, with Ben Gamel hitting a solo home run in the second inning to kick off the scoring. Milwaukee starter Adrian Houser gave that run right back in the bottom half, however, yielding a solo blast to Bryan Reynolds.
Pittsburgh’s first big inning came in the fourth. Josh Bell and Colin Moran hit consecutive singles to begin the frame, then Reynolds singled on a groundball to shortstop Orlando Arcia, who committed a throwing error that allowed Bell to score. Gregory Polanco then singled, bringing Moran home. Cole Tucker made it four straight singles when he beat out another ball fielded by Arcia, which allowed Reynolds to score. At the end of the fourth, it was 4-1 Pirates.
Christian Yelich cut the deficit to two in the eighth with a solo home run, his 7th of the season, to make it 4-2. Houser came out after seven complete innings, allowing the four runs on nine hits with a walk and three punchouts. Alex Claudio came on, and he could not keep the Pirates close. Once again Bell and Moran hit singles to lead things off, with Moran’s a bunt to beat the shift. Then Reynolds tripled to left to score both runners and make it 6-2. After a Polanco strikeout, Tucker added another RBI to his ledger with a single to center. Claudio got out of the inning after that, but the damage was done.
The game ended in a 7-2 loss for Milwaukee as the offense recorded only five hits on the night — three from Gamel and one each from Yelich and Luis Urias. Only two members of tonight’s starting lineup own batting averages above .250, and only four have an OPS over .700. The Brewers were 0-for-6 with runners in scoring position and stranded seven men on base.
The offense will look to take a step in the right direction on Saturday, with game two of the series scheduled to begin at 3:05 PM central. Josh Lindblom is set to oppose Derek Holland.