WP: Nick Tropeano (1-0)
LP: Brandon Woodruff (2-3)
HR: PIT - Gregory Polanco (5), Josh Bell (4)
The Pittsburgh Pirates will likely end the year as one of the worst teams in Major League Baseball. The best the Milwaukee Brewers can now hope for is a .500 record against them this season after dropping Sunday’s game in a punchless 5-1 loss.
After back-to-back games of strong offensive outputs, the Brewers’ lineup struggled to get anything going in what amounted to a bullpen game for the Pirates. Their lone run came in the bottom of the 3rd inning, when Keston Hiura broke (another) 0-for-15 streak with a 2-out RBI single to tie the game at 1.
Unfortunately, the good feelings of a two-out run-scoring hit didn’t last long, as Brandon Woodruff’s 4th and 5th inning struggles came back again.
After giving up a solo home run to Gregory Polanco in the second inning, Woodruff gave up another moonshot of a home run in the top of the 4th, this time a two-run blast that landed with a thud off the Toyota in right-center field.
The Pirates would add another run in the 5th inning on a bizarre — and quite frankly, incorrectly-ruled — play. A 2-out single by Kevin Newman appeared to score Erik Gonzalez to put the Pirates up 4-1, but Adam Frazier was thrown out at third base for the third out. Replay seemed to show a clear case that Frazier was tagged out before Gonzalez crossed the plate — thus negating the run and ending the inning — but the original ruling was ultimately upheld and the run was counted, increasing Pittsburgh’s lead to 4-1.
After the game, manager Craig Counsell said C.B. Bucknor straight-up missed the original call, which is hard to argue.
In the end, it never really mattered. Despite having runners on base every inning, the Brewers were unable to score any runs after Hiura’s RBI in the third inning. The biggest missed opportunity came late in the game, when the Brewers were able to load the bases with two outs, but Justin Smoak struck out to end the threat.
The Brewers ended the game 1-for-9 with runners in scoring position, with Hiura, Mark Mathias, Luis Urias, Jacob Nottingham and Smoak (2) all leaving runners in scoring position to end an inning.
The Brewers will hope to break even for the year against the Pirates tomorrow night in a rare Monday series finale. They’re now 15-18 and are a game back of 2nd place in the NL Central — which would guarantee a playoff spot — before Monday afternoon’s trade deadline. We’ll see if there are some new faces slated to join — or leave — the team before tomorrow night’s first pitch.