The Pirates offense stole the show for a second straight night in Milwaukee, helping the Pirates jump out to a 2-0 lead in this four-game road series with a 7-3 victory. It all started when David Freese recorded his first hit of the night, an infield RBI single against Brewers starting pitcher Zach Davies. After Elias Diaz lined a single to center field, Andrew McCutchen continued his strong play of late, by adding a two-run single to give the Pirates a three to nothing lead. Jose Osuna, getting the start at first base, capped the Pirates huge first inning with a three-run home run. Jordy Mercer would continue his torrid pace of late, by adding a one out triple in the first, but a strike out by Chad Kuhl and a groundout by Adam Frazier would finally bring the top of the first inning to an end.
The Pirates would add on in the top of the third inning, when Andrew McCutchen registered his second hit of the game. It was a lead off solo home run, which was his team leading 14th of the season. The Pirates would threaten in a few other innings, but with seven runs on the board, their lead felt relatively safe throughout the ball game. Zach Davies settled down to give the Brewers five full innings of work, however the damage was done by the time he started getting outs with regularity.
Chad Kuhl had another outing that has quietly become his signature lately, going five innings while having plenty of traffic on the base paths, but limiting the opposing offense to three runs or fewer. Tonight, Kuhl threw 98 pitches in five innings of work, with 58 of them being strikes, while allowing two runs on seven hits, two walks and six strike outs. The strikeouts were huge for Kuhl, as he routinely used them to work out of damage while not allowing base runners to advance. Nick Franklin did all the damage against Kuhl, with a lead off solo home run in the second and an RBI double in the third. Left-handed hitters continued to be a problem for Kuhl, as long their name was not Eric Thames. Kuhl held the Brewers slugging first basemen in check, while striking him out in two of the three plate appearances that he faced him.
The Brewers would add another run against Edgar Santana, when Keon Broxton hit a double into the left field corner to score Orlando Arcia from first base in the sixth inning. Tony Watson would enter the ball game to pick up the slack for Santana, after the only out recorded with Santana on the mound, was Elias Diaz throwing Broxton out at third base trying to advance on a pitch in the dirt. The Pirates would have Daniel Hudson, Juan Nicasio and Felipe Rivero combine to pitch a very quiet final three innings of the ball game.
With the win, the Pirates improved to 33-38, while the Brewers dropped to 38-35. The win pulled the Pirates within four games of the first place Brewers, without any huge concerns being presented to the late inning relief staff. Rivero needed only seven pitches in a scoreless ninth inning, which should allow him to be available the rest of the series when needed.
Tune in tomorrow night at 8:10 PM eastern time, as Trevor Williams (5.16 ERA/4.66 FIP) takes the mound to take on Junior Guerra (2.84 ERA/6.06) and the Brewers in game three of the four-game series at Miller Park in Milwaukee.