The story of tonight’s ball game was home runs, by both the Pirates and the Brewers. In what looked like a potential pitching duel, Brewers star third basemen Travis Shaw, put Milwaukee up 3-0 with a third inning three-run home run. Ivan Nova started the game for the Pirates, and even though he logged another six inning outing, it was one of his worst outings of the season. In the Brewers three-run third inning, he allowed six straight hits to open the inning, but Domingo Santana being hit by a batted ball, and Hernan Perez thrown out trying to steal second base, helped Nova get through the nightmare inning. The Brewers would scatter four other hits against Nova throughout the outing, but they failed to take advantage of a huge scoring opportunity they had against him in the second inning. This would ultimately cost them, even though the Pirates did not figure out Junior Guerra until late in his outing.
The first five innings were very frustrating for the Pirates offense against Brewers starting pitcher Junior Guerra, as they collected only one hit before Francisco Cervelli led off the sixth inning with a solo home run. With the next two batters hitting routine fly balls to the outfield, it appeared as if Cervelli’s home run would be the only sign of life for the Pirates against Guerra. A two-out walk issued to Starling Marte, would get things going again however. Josh Harrison followed the Marte walk by working the count and eventually driving a tying home run to right field. The Pirates were not done yet though, but that would end Guerra’s outing, as he was removed from the game in favor of relief pitcher Oliver Drake. Drake would walk McCutchen, who was the first batter that he faced with two outs in the bottom of the sixth inning. Josh Bell followed the McCutchen walk with a first pitch single into center field. David Freese put together his best at bat of the night by working the count, and eventually hitting the ball into right field for the go-ahead base hit. The inning would finally come to an end when Gregory Polanco lined out to Travis Shaw. This would conclude all of the scoring for the night, but the recap is not complete without documenting the ninth inning drama.
Pirates closer Felipe Rivero would have the toughest outing he has had in quite some time, when he was not able to field a one out come-backer cleanly, giving Orlando Arcia a base hit against him in the top of the ninth inning. Pinch hitter Jett Bandy would follow Arcia’s base hit, with a first pitch single of his own. Rivero, determined not to spoil Marte’s return, proceeded to strike out Santana and Thames back-to-back to end the ball game. With the win, the Pirates improved to 46-48, just five games back of the Brewers who dropped to 52-44.