It was a weird day at PNC Park. Fickle weather had some fans wearing tank tops and shorts while others bundled up. It started pouring just before the national anthem was sung. The teams stepped out of their dugouts and got soaked, as did the singers. A pack of Boy Scouts probably earned badges for presenting the colors in the driving rain. The grounds crew scurried about, stopped for the anthem and, perhaps realizing the shape the field would soon be in, silently went about covering the field as the anthem went on.
The goofiness didn't stop after a short rain delay, as the Pirates fell behind 6-1 and then came back for a 7-6 victory over the Brewers on Josh Harrison's 11th-inning walk-off single.
Pinch-hitter Travis Ishikawa led off the bottom of the 11th with a single to left, then took second after a game of Chicken with Shane Peterson, who couldn't quite figure out how to pick up that baseball. Jordy Mercer's groundout advanced Ishikawa's pinch runner, Pedro Florimon, to third, and Sean Rodriguez was hit by a Tyler Thornburg pitch. Harrison came up big for the second straight game while playing in Starling Marte's place, singling to left to close the day's events after more than five hours.
The game started out quite ugly. Francisco Liriano lasted 2.1 innings, giving up five runs on seven hits. Joe Blanton allowed another run in 1.2 innings, but Arquimedes Caminero, Antonio Bastardo, Tony Watson, Mark Melancon, Joakim Soria and Jared Hughes combined to pitch seven scoreless innings as the Bucs fought their way back with the bats.
Liriano walked two of the game's first three batters, Jean Segura and Ryan Braun. With two outs, Jason Rogers had a swinging bunt down the third-base line. Liriano's throw pulled Pedro Alvarez off first base, and the ball still got away from Alvarez and both runners scored.
Alvarez got a run back in the second with a solo home run to center. The next batter, Francisco Cervelli, hit one to the warning track in left, but Khris Davis made an excellent running catch at the wall. The Brewers then scored three more in the third on Davis' two-run homer and Elian Herrera's RBI double, ending Liriano's outing.
Milwaukee extended its lead to 6-1 in the fourth when Segura doubled and scored on Hernan Perez's single.
The Pirates got three back in the bottom of the fourth to pull within 6-4. Jung-Ho Kang singled and Alvarez and Cervelli walked to load the bases for Travis Snider, who scored two on a book-rule double down the left-field line. Jordy Mercer's sacrifice fly scored another.
Still, Taylor Jungmann, another thorn in the Pirates' side, struck out seven and held the Bucs to four hits in six innings.
Jeremy Jeffress wasn't as strong as Harrison reached on an error, then three straight singles, by Neil Walker, Andrew McCutchen and Kang, produced two runs to tie it at 6 in the seventh. Jeffress kicked at the dirt in frustration as the inning ended, but he was sent out for another inning, as Craig Counsell apparently trusts, like, two pitchers on the team. The Pirates couldn't get anything going against him in the eighth, though, nor against Will Smith in the ninth and Thornburg in the 10th.
The Brewers got runners on the corners with one out against Hughes in the 11th, but he got noted pest Scooter Gennett to ground into a 4-6-3 double play, then the offense came through with its heroics.
The win kept the ball rolling after the Pirates gained significant ground on Saturday. St. Louis won big on Sunday, but the Cubs lost, leaving the Pirates 2 1/2 back of the Cardinals and four ahead of the Cubs entering this week's big four-game series with the Cubs.