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Brewers depleted bullpen can’t back up offense, lose to Pirates 8-7

Brewers built a four-run lead twice but the bullpen couldn’t hold the lead

MLB: Milwaukee Brewers at Pittsburgh Pirates Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Box Score

After taking three of four from the Mets, the Brewers bullpen was in need of some rest. Multiple relievers were unavailable and the team needed a night for recovery. The offense did their job and built a lead that could give the bullpen some rest. The few relievers available in the bullpen did not, and the Brewers took a demoralizing 8-7 loss on Friday night.

Early on, the Brewers offense did what they needed to do to support the pitchers. They got on the board first with a four-run third inning. Four different Brewers drove in runs that inning. Christian Yelich started the scoring with an RBI double. William Contreras brought in the second run on a fielder’s choice when Jared Triolo tried to get the out at home instead of the sure out at first, but Raimel Tapia beat the throw. Rowdy Tellez brought in the third run with a single to center, and Willy Adames brought in the fourth with a sacrifice fly.

Freddy Peralta gave back three of those runs in the fourth inning. Andrew McCutchen led off the inning with a solo home run, then two walks came in to score on a Nick Gonzales double. Peralta didn’t allow any more damage from there but the score closed to 4-3.

Peralta’s day was decent, though the Brewers could have used a longer start from him. He pitched 5 13 innings, allowing three runs on three hits and two walks. He also struck out eight in the start. He was pulled at 108 pitches and replaced by Thomas Pannone, who finished the sixth working around a single.

In the seventh, the Brewers built their buffer back up. Yelich reached on an error and Contreras was hit by a pitch. With two outs in the inning, Owen Miller doubled to drive in Yelich, and Brice Turang followed that with another double that brought in Contreras and Miller. That built a 7-3 lead through the top of the seventh.

Pannone was used for the next two innings to try and help save the bullpen, but the Pirates chipped away at the Brewers lead. Two singles in the bottom of the seventh closed the gap to 7-4 after McCutchen’s RBI single. A Carlos Santana double and a Jack Suwinski single in the eighth shrunk the lead to 7-5, though Joey Wiemer misplayed the single. Pannone finished the day with 2 23 innings pitched, two runs and five hits allowed, with a walk and four strikeouts. It wasn’t a strong performance, but Pannone did his job and kept the Brewers ahead.

With the rest of the bullpen basically out for the night, the Brewers turned to Matt Bush to try and finish the game with a two-run lead. Ji Hwan Bae started the inning with a single, then Josh Palacios grounded out to move up Bae to second and record the first out. McCutchen followed that up with a double and the Brewers lead was down to 7-6 with the go-ahead run at the plate. Henry Davis grounded out for the second out, but then Carlos Santana hit a home run to right field to send the Pirates home winners and the Brewers out losers by a score of 8-7.

Owen Miller led the offense with a 3-for-5 day with an RBI and a run scored. Every Brewers starter except for Blake Perkins reached base at least once. The offense was 4-for-13 with runners in scoring position and left just eight on base. While they were outhit 11 to 8, this was a good day for the Brewers offense.

On the other hand, the bullpen could not hold the lead. After the game, Craig Counsell made the situation that the Brewers were facing clear.

The Brewers are back to play again tomorrow with an afternoon game in Pittsburgh. It will be Corbin Burnes facing Johan Oviedo in game two of the series. First pitch is at 3:05 p.m.