The Pirates’ offense again failed them as they suffered an embarrassing sweep by the Brewers with a 4-2 loss Sunday.
I hesitate to call Francisco Liriano’s start a disaster, since he did strike out seven and get his fair share of swings and misses. But he walked three, elevated a bunch of pitches, and gave up home runs to Keon Broxton and Chris Carter. Before that, there was a run in the first in which Hernan Perez stole second and then came all the way around to score on some clown-car Pirates defense. The Brewers also scored in the third after Liriano allowed the first three runners to reach base.
Meanwhile, the Pirates’ offense failed to do much against Matt Garza, even though he’s sort of the Brewers equivalent of Liriano -- a once-effective veteran starter who doesn’t seem to have it anymore. Gregory Polanco hit a solo homer in the third, and Jordy Mercer led off the fifth with a single and came around to score thanks in part to Perez’s throwing error.
Max Moroff, by the way, made his MLB debut against Will Smith in the eighth and whiffed. Felipe Rivero, the key piece in yesterday’s Mark Melancon trade, pitched the bottom of the inning and had a considerably better first appearance as a Pirate, breezing in 96-97 MPH fastballs, confusing hitters with a slider in the high 80s, and striking out two batters in a scoreless inning. He was, however, a bit wild, elevating a pitch for a single, allowing a walk, and requiring 30 pitches to get three outs.
Josh Harrison also left the game in the sixth after colliding with Broxton. He appeared to hurt his leg, and the Pirates say he has “leg discomfort,” but he was able to walk off the field.
One more note: Juan Nicasio struck out five batters in two innings, continuing to do good work in relief. Pirates pitchers registered 14 strikeouts in eight frames this afternoon.