Game 1 -- Pirates 8, Brewers 7
Beleaguered Brewers starter Adrian Houser was knocked around again, giving up five runs in just 2 1/3 innings before leaving the game with what was later called "elbow tightness". While Houser has not pitched well of late, an already banged up Brewers rotation can ill afford another long IL stay from yet another starter.
Christian Yelich continued his hot hitting from the leadoff spot, knocking an RBI triple in the third inning, and scoring on an RBI groundout, and went two for five on the night.
The big story for the night was Pittsburgh backup catcher Michael Perez, who came into the game with a career OPS below .550 and just twelve career homeruns in over 500 plate appearances, who hammered three home runs on the night. Hitting one off of Houser, another off of Brent Suter, and finally, tagging Jason Alexander in the sixth inning, for three of the five homeruns the Pirates hit on the night.
Down 8-4, the Brewers put up a rally in the ninth inning, with Jace Peterson and Yelich reaching on Singles, and Willy Adames hitting an RBI double. After Rowdy Tellez drove in another run with a groundout, Andrew McCutchen walked and Kolten Wong singled to bring the Crew to within a run at 8-7, but the rally was snuffed out as Luis Urias flew out to end the game. Houser takes the loss, and his record drops to 4-8 on the season.
Game 2 -- Brewers 19, Pirates 2
That's not a typo. The Brewers put up a nineteen spot on the Pirates. Corbin Burnes , who hasn't exactly been the beneficiary of heavy run support, watched his offense put up a seven spot in the second inning. Burnes struggled a bit with the command tonight, walking four and hitting a batter, but he gave up just one hit and one run.
In that second inning, the Brewers batted around and then some, with Urias, Keston Hiura, and Tellez all hitting home runs for the Brewers, and chasing Pirates starter Austin Brice from the game after just 1 2/3 innings. The homerun from Tellez, his 16th, was a three run shot that tied him for the team lead with Adames at sixteen, just before the halfway point of the season.
Tellez notched two more RBI in the fourth inning with a two run double, giving him five RBI for the night, and pushing the Brewers lead to 9-0.
In the eighth inning, the Pirates brought in reliever Cam Vieaux, and the Brewers proceeded to knock the rookie reliever around. The first ten batters reached base as Vieaux pitched to fourteen batters and threw 56 pitches in the inning. Pirates manager Derek Shelton told reporters after the game that he was saving his bullpen. The most pitches thrown in an inning since that data has been kept (1988) is 62, by Russ Ortiz. A notorious record to be chasing, to be sure.
During the Brewers eighth inning, with the game well in hand, there wasn't much else to do but add to the Brewers run differential, and that's just what Willy did with the bases loaded.
Pirates first baseman Josh VanMeter moved to the mound for the ninth, and Victor Caratini greeted him with his sixth home run of the season, pushing the score to 18-2, and the Brewers closed out the scoring with a groundout RBI from Mike Brosseau. Manager Craig Counsell turned to Brosseau to close this one out, and he nearly pitched a clean ninth inning, aside from an error from second baseman Hiura.
With the easy win, Burnes moves to 7-4
Game 3 - Pirates 7, Brewers 4
Aaron Ashby returned from the IL to take the mound for the Crew as the Brewers tried to earn at least a split of the series. The Brewers struck in the top of the first with a two out RBI single from Wong. The Brewers lost a golden opportunity in the second when with men on second and third with just one out, Yelich lined out and Peterson was doubled off of third base to end the inning.
Ashby worked through the first pair of frames with just a walk and a single, punching out four Pirates batters. In the third, he ran into trouble, and with one run already in, surrendered a home run to Brian Reynolds . In the fourth inning, the Pirates exciting rookie shortstop Oneil Cruz took Ashby deep, and Ashby's day came to a close at just 3 2/3 innings.
Yelich brought the Brewers back within a pair with his eighth home run in the top of the fifth, In the bottom of the frame, Trevor Gott allowed a pair of walks, and was one out away from getting out of the inning when he was relieved by Hoby Milner. The normally reliable Milner surrendered a pair of base hits before getting the third out and the Brewers were down 7-2.
The Brewers grabbed a pair of runs back in the eighth on a solo home run by Wong and an RBI double by Peterson, but ultimately couldn't muster a rally in the ninth.
The Brewers had baserunners in every inning today, but hit into a pair of double plays and burned a runner caught stealing a base. Ashby's record drops to 1-6 and the Brewers head into the series finale needing a win to get the split.
Game 4 -- Brewers 2, Pirates 0
Brandon Woodruff 's second start back from the IL wasn't quite as good as the first one, but the result was the same. Six innings, no runs allowed, and eight strikeouts today as the Brewers shutout the Pirates behind another solid start from Woodruff. For the second start in a row, Woodruff didn't walk a batter.
The Brewers offense didn't do much for Woodruff today, but in the fifth inning, Omar Narvaez provided all the offense the Brewers would need.
Narvaez's third homerun of the season made it 2-0 Brewers, and that would be all the margin the Crew would need. After Woodruff pitched six innings, the usual lockdown trio of Brad Boxberger, Devin Williams, and Josh Hader picked up the last three innings. Unusually, all three of them had runners on base today. Boxberger gave up a walk and a hit, but worked out of the seventh, and Hader loaded the bases in the ninth with a walk, a single, and a batter reaching on a strikeout/wild pitch combo. Despite all the traffic, he secured his 25th save in game number 81, making a winner of Woodruff, who is now 7-3 on the season.
The Brewers will now head home and face the Cubs.
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