Gerrit Cole shut down the Brewers, holding them to three hits in seven innings, and the Pirates added on late for an 8-1 win on Monday night at Miller Park.
One of the hits Cole allowed was a home run, naturally — a solo shot by Travis Shaw in the second — but he had a snazzy 10-2 groundball ratio, with five strikeouts and two walks.
The Pirates took a 2-1 lead in the third on a couple well-placed groundballs. After a Francisco Cervelli walk, Jordy Mercer slapped a grounder through the hole on the right side of the infield. Cole bunted the two over, and Adam Frazier bounced one just out of the reach of shortstop Orlando Arcia. Cervelli scored easily and Mercer made it, too, with a nifty slide. The Pirates actually loaded the bases after that, but a Josh Bell groundout ended the inning.
Cole was rolling from there, and the Bucs added two runs in the sixth and four in the eighth.
Andrew McCutchen made it look easy, just swatting at one and sending it over the right-field wall for a two-run homer in the sixth.
Cole had 96 pitches through six, but went up to bat to start the seventh, and singled to center. Frazier walked, then Josh Harrison doubled to score Cole. Gregory Polanco singled to left, where Hernan Perez bumbled around, and two runs scored. McCutchen singled home another run for an 8-1 lead.
Polanco, McCutchen and David Freese had two hits each.
Jhan Marinez pitched the final two innings.
Cole relied a little more on the changeup, throwing 12 (11.7 percent usage). He allowed three hits in seven innings for the second straight start. This came after a string of four lackluster starts in which he didn’t make it past the fifth, allowing 10 or more hits in three of them.