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Harrison, Freese lead Bucs comeback

MLB: Milwaukee Brewers at Pittsburgh Pirates Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Josh Harrison’s two-out, two-run homer in the sixth tied the game and David Freese’s single drove in the go ahead run as the Pirates roared back with four in that inning to down the first place Brewers 4-3, taking a two games to nothing lead in the four game series.

Ivan Nova looked like batting practice when he gave up six consecutive hits in the third, but the only scoring came on Travis Shaw’s three-run blast that cleared the right-center seats.

Over the next three innings Nova settled down and only allowed two more singles, one of which was erased on a double play. Meanwhile, the Brewers’ starter Junior Guerra faced the minimum through five, the only base runner being a line-drive single by Starling Marte in the fourth, who was then picked off second base with two outs.

That all changed in the bottom of the sixth when Francisco Cervelli led off with a shot into the left-field seats for his fifth homer of the season, cutting the Brewers’ lead to 3-1. After retiring Jordy Mercer and Adam Frazier, Guerra suddenly lost his command, walking Marte on four pitches and falling behind 3-0 on Harrison. After taking a strike, Harrison lined an outside pitch over the Clemente Wall in right for his eleventh homer, tying the game at three.

Guerra was done for the night but the Pirates weren’t. Reliever Oliver Drake walked Andrew McCutchen and allowed a single to Josh Bell, putting runners at first and second with two outs. After falling behind in the count 0-2, Freese worked it to 3-2, then grounded a single into right to score McCutchen with the go ahead run.

That’s when Clint Hurdle called on the bullpen, and recently reunited A.J. Schugel was filthy in the seventh, throwing 12 of 16 pitches for strikes while allowing only an infield hit to Eric Thames and striking out Ryan Braun swinging to end the inning.

Daniel Hudson, now apparently in the circle of trust, started the eighth with a called strike three on Milwaukee’s cleanup hitter Shaw that may have been six inches outside. Shaw slammed his bat on the ground and turned to saw a few choice words to home plate ump Mike Muchlinski who promptly tossed both Shaw and manager Craig Counsell. Two ground balls later, it was a 1-2-3 inning.

As is now the custom, Felipe Rivero was called on the pitch the ninth. After Keon Broxton struck out his league-leading 120th time, Orlando Arcia singled off Rivero’s glove and pinch-hitter Jett Bandy lined another hit into right. With the tying run at second, Rivero pumped the 100 mph heat to strike out two of the Brewers’ better hitters, Domingo Santana and Eric Thames, to end the game.

The series continues with game three on Wednesday night at 7:05 p.m. Eastern, with Zach Davies (11-4, 5.08) facing the Pirates’ Gerrit Cole (7-7, 4.35)