The Brewers opened up a three-game series on Friday against a familiar foe, the same Pirates team that they faced last weekend in Pittsburgh. The last time these two teams faced each other, the two ball clubs combined for 10-plus runs in three of the four games. Tonight was a different story, as a handful of base hits and a home run by Willy Adames would be enough to propel the Brewers over the Pirates, winning by a score of 4-3.
The Brewers got on the board first in the second. Kolten Wong got things started with a one-out single, allowing him to steal second a few pitches later. Luis Urias and Omar Narvaez then worked back-to-back walks to load the bases for the DH Keston Hiura. Hiura was able to drive in Wong with a single to left, giving the Brewers an early 1-0 lead. With the bases still loaded with one out, Jace Peterson was unable to extend the lead as he hit into an inning-ending double play.
Aaron Ashby, who was off to a good start through three innings, ran into trouble in the fourth. Bryan Reynolds led off the inning with a double to left. Following a botched bunt by Michael Chavis and a flyout from Yoshi Tsutsugo, Diego Castillo gave the Pirates a 2-1 lead with a home run into the Brewers bullpen. The lead would be short-lived, as the Brewers came right back in the bottom of the fourth to tie the game at 2-2. A leadoff walk by McCutchen set the table for Kolten Wong to even the score on an RBI triple to right.
The Brewers were not content with just tying the game, however. A pair of walks loaded the bases again for Jace Peterson, who was seeking redemption after his bases-loaded double play ended the inning in the second. He would deliver this time, lacing a base hit to center to drive in Wong and give the Brewers a 3-2 lead. The lead would stay at just one run, as Christian Yelich and Willy Adames ended the inning with back-to-back strikeouts.
Five innings would all either starter would last, as both Aaron Ashby and JT Brubaker got the hook in the sixth. For Ashby, it was a good bounce-back performance after he struggled his last time out against these Pirates. That home run would be his only blemish on the resume, with his final line being two earned runs on three hits with three strikeouts. Ashby also made a nice play on a comebacker, snagging hard-hit liner to end the fifth. Brubaker was not as sharp but still solid, striking out six while giving up three earned runs on five hits.
While the bullpen was doing their job keeping the Pirates off the scoreboard, the offense tacked on an insurance run in the seventh via a Willy Adames solo home run to left. The solo shot would be Adames’ 17th on the season, extending his Major League lead for home runs by a shortstop.
As mentioned above, the Brewers bullpen was lights out again tonight. Trevor Gott and Hoby Milner combined for a perfect sixth and seventh, each recording a strikeout. Milner in particular has been a key piece out of the pen. The lefty lowered his ERA to 2.25 and has allowed just two earned runs in his last 20 innings of work.
Devin Williams got himself into some trouble in the eighth. Faced with runners on first and second with only one out, Williams worked himself out of the threat. A strikeout of former Brewer Ben Gamel got a fist pump out of Victor Caratini, while a pop-out from Tsutsugo to Urias at third ended the inning with the score still 4-2 Milwaukee.
Things got interesting in the ninth with Josh Hader on the mound. After allowing a walk to lead off the inning, Hader got Suwinski to strike out swinging. With one out, Newman got on with a base hit to put men at the corners. After a strikeout of Oneil Cruz made it two outs in the inning, former Brewer Daniel Vogelbach had an opportunity to pull the Pirates even. Down to his last strike, Vogelbach got a base hit to right-center, driving in Castillo to make it 4-3. Instead of stopping there, the Pirates tried their luck with the speed of Newman, inexplicably sending him to try and tie the game. The relay throws from McCutchen to Adames and then home got Newman out by a mile, giving the Brewers a 4-3 win.
The Brewers and Pirates are back at it again tomorrow afternoon. Brandon Woodruff gets the start for Milwaukee against Zach Thompson, with the first pitch being at 3:10 pm CT. You can watch the game on Bally Sports Wisconsin or listen on the Brewers Radio Network.