In a night filled with extra-base hits and home runs, it’s the health of a Brewers starting pitcher that is dominating the headlines again. Adrian Houser leaving the game with an arm injury, a previously-struggling rookie catcher hitting three home runs and the Brewers falling in love with leadoff doubles are the headlines as the Brewers lose game one to the Pirates, 8-7.
The Pirates got on the board first with a flurry of runs in the second. Josh VanMeter started the inning with a double off of Houser, setting up 23-year phenom Oneil Cruz to crank a two-run home run to center field, giving the Pirates an early 2-0 advantage. Not to be outdone, the next batter was Jack Suwinski who hit a home run of his own to center field, quickly making it a 3-0 Pirates lead. The Brewers would counter in the top of the 3rd, as Christian Yelich drove in Jace Peterson, who led off the inning with a double, on a triple to right field. Willy Adames then drove in Yelich on a groundout, making it a 3-2 game.
Omar Narvaez tied things up in the fourth as he doubled to deep right, driving in Kolten Wong who led off the inning with a double of his own. Extra base hits were the story for the Brewers’ offense on Thursday, as seven of their 12 hits on the night were for extra bases, including four lead-off doubles.
Trouble struck the Brewers in the bottom of the fourth, and it’s a problem they have become all too familiar with. With one out in the inning, Houser had to get pulled from the game for what the Brewers are calling “right elbow tightness.” After the game, Counsell said he will return to Milwaukee to get further testing and that he would be placed on the injured list. Houser joins a long list of Brewers pitchers who have landed on the IL, as Aaron Ashby and Freddy Peralta currently reside on the IL and Brandon Woodruff just got off this week. Brent Suter took over following Houser’s exit.
Where the Brewers hit doubles and triples, the Pirates hit home runs. The home run barrage continued in the bottom of the fourth, as Michael Perez hit a two-run home run to right to give the Pirates the lead back, making it 5-3. Perez wouldn’t stop at one home run, however. In the bottom of the sixth, following a Brewers run in the top of the inning, Perez struck again hitting his second two-run home run of the night to give the Pirates a 7-4 lead.
If you thought Perez would stop at two home runs, think again. With the score still stuck at 7-4, Perez made it home run number three on the night, hitting a solo home run to right field and extending the lead to 8-4. Perez, who had hit just three home runs all season before tonight and was slashing .129/.178/.235 in 29 games, accounted for five of the Pirates eight runs on the night. The Pirates also made some history on Thursday. Per ESPN Stats and Info, the Pirates became the first team in MLB history to have three different players with a 3-homer game in the same month. In addition to Perez, Bryan Reynolds went deep three times yesterday and Jack Suwinski smashed three on June 19.
The Brewers put up a good fight down 8-4 in the ninth. After Tyrone Taylor lined out, Yelich and Peterson got on with singles. Willy Adames drove in Peterson with a double following the Yelich single, and Rowdy Tellez got Yelich home on a ground out to second. With the score now 8-6 Andrew McCutchen got on with a walk and Wong drove in Adames on an infield hit off the first baseman, making it 8-7. The rally would fall just short, however, as Urias flew out to center, giving the Pirates an 8-7 victory. The loss ends the Brewers' win streak at four games
The Brewers will try to start another win streak on Friday as ace Corbin Burnes gets the start against Roansy Contreras. The first pitch is at 6:05 pm CT and you can watch the action on Bally Sports Wisconsin or listen on the Brewers Radio Network.