Josh Bell sparked the Pirates offense coming out of a 2 hour, 27 minute rain delay and the Bucs handed the Brewers their first shutout loss of the season, 4-0, in front of a few hearty souls on a long, rainy, chilly Friday-night-turned-Saturday-morning at PNC Park.
The teams breezed through three scoreless innings before the rain intensified and the tarp was pulled out. With dropping temperatures and a nasty forecast, not many fans stuck this one out. As your faithful author was considering heading out, himself, a flash of black and gold, stamped with the unmistakable number 38, darted from the third-base dugout towards the bullpen. It was Wade LeBlanc, and we weren't done quite yet.
Leading off the bottom of the fourth, Bell smacked a double to center field. Gregory Polanco's liner to center just barely dropped in front of a charging Keon Broxton, and Bell scored, rather than being doubled off. Francisco Cervelli followed with a single, and Eric Thames made a wild throw to second on Jose Osuna's grounder, allowing Polanco to score. With two outs, Jordy Mercer received a Rob Manfred-approved no-pitch intentional walk to load the bases for LeBlanc. LeBlanc slashed a liner to left, though, to plate Cervelli for a 3-0 lead before an overzealous Osuna was easily nabbed at home.
Bell drilled a homer to right-center, bouncing it into the Allegheny, in the fifth to extend the lead to 4-0.
Meanwhile, LeBlanc picked up where Chad Kuhl had left off, striking out four, walking none and allowing two hits in three scoreless innings. The Pirates starter fanned a couple in the first three innings before the delay.
Juan Nicasio ran into some trouble in the seventh, giving up a double to Broxton (wherever he came from) and loading the bases on a walk of Domingo Santana. Felipe Rivero came on and induced Jonathan Villar into a fielder's choice, though, then got past the meat of the Brewers' order, including the resurgent Eric Thames with a clean eighth. Daniel Hudson gave up a single, but had a decent ninth, with Orlando Arcia's fly ball falling into Andrew McCutchen's glove at 12:23 a.m.
Like Bell, Polanco went 2-for-4. He added a double in the fifth.
Two former Pirates relievers pitched for Milwaukee. Rob Scahill handled the fourth and fifth coming out of the delay and got touched up for four runs (two earned). Jared Hughes made his return to PNC Park as a visitor, with a walk, a hit and a strikeout in the sixth.