The Pirates exploded for six runs on six consecutive hits in the top of the first inning against Brewers’ starter Zach Davies, then cruised to a 7-3 final score.
With one out Josh Harrison was again hit in the leg with a pitch (the first of two times on the night, and now leading MLB with 14 plunks), then scored after singles by Gregory Polanco and David Freese. After Elias Diaz lined a single to center to load the bases, Andrew McCutchen lined a 3-2 pitch to left-center to drive in two more. Jose Osuna then bombed a pitch deep into left center, his 5th homer of the season, to give the Pirates a 6-0 lead. Jordy Mercer continued the onslaught with a triple into the left field corner, but mercifully for the Brew Crew Chad Kuhl fanned and Adam Frazier tapped out to end the inning.
Kuhl had a typical start for him, firing away at up to 99 mph while still allowing seven hits and a homer in five innings. Despite throwing only 58 of his 98 pitches (59%) for strikes, Kuhl walked only two and struck out six. He made a victim of the impossibly ripped Eric Thames three times on a night that he fanned four times in five trips, and now seven of nine for the series.
McCutchen was the hitting star for the Pirates, going three-for-three plus a walk, one of those hits his 14th homer deep into the seats down the left field line. Once left for dead, the former MVP is now batting 268/343/494 on the season.
The game got slightly interesting when Edgar Santana was ineffective in the sixth. Orlando Arcia, leading off the inning, reached on a rare
throwing error bad throw by shortstop Mercer that was ruled an error on first baseman Jose Osuna for not holding the throw and was promptly driven in by a Keon Broxton double, but Broxton was then gunned down at third base by Elias Diaz when he attempted to move up on a pitch in the dirt. Santana departed after walking Eric Sogard, and after Tony Watson k’d Thames, he coughed up a double to Domingo Santana, putting runners at second and third with two away. However, Watson got Travis Shaw to ground out to end the threat, while Daniel Hudson, Juan Nicasio and Felipe Rivero followed up with three perfect innings to seal the victory.
The Pirates have now taken the first two of a four games series in Milwaukee, hoping to erase the reputation of the House of Horrors. The victory also slides the Pirates into third place, a smidgen ahead of the Cardinals, and only four games behind the front-running Brewers. The series continues tomorrow night at 7:40 p.m. Eastern (I’ll try to remember that so as to get a game thread up on time)