A day after the Pirates opened the series with a 1-0 victory, the two teams combined for 26 strikeouts and only four run-scoring hits, but it was Jesus Aguilar who had two of them against Pirates’ starter Jameson Taillon and provided all the runs the Brewers would need.
Lorenzo Cain led off the first for the Brewers by beating out a slow roller fielded by catcher Francisco Cervelli. Two batters later Cain would score on Aguilar’s homer to the seats in right-center. Taillon struck out each of the other three batters in the inning, but it took 26 pitches to complete.
The same pair struck again. Cain beat out a slow roller to short then raced around the bases when Aguilar lined a double into the left field corner to give Milwaukee a 3-0 lead.
Meanwhile rookie pitcher Freddy Peralta mowed through the Pirates’ order, as he allowed only a pair of singles in six innings while striking out seven, without a walk.
Taillon had seven K’s himself, but left after five innings, having allowed seven hits while throwing an even 100 pitches.
The Pirates’ bullpen was outstanding for the second night in a row. Tyler Glasnow followed Taillon with four strikeouts in two scoreless innings. Edgar Santana fanned two of three batters he faced and Kyle Crick retired the Brewers in order in the ninth.
Pittsburgh mounted a serious threat seventh. Dan Jennings relieved Peralta and got the first two batters, but Josh Bell walked on the 11th pitch he saw and Gregory Polanco singled to right on the 10th pitch of his at bat. That brought Jeremy Jeffress out of the Brewers’ bullpen, but Jordy Mercer greeted him with a double to left-center which scored Bell and put the tying runners at second and third. Austin Meadows came in to pinch hit and ran the count to 2-2, fouling off a pair of upper 90’s fastballs, before waving at a change up low and away for strike three.
Jeffress stayed on for the eighth and surrendered a homer by Starling Marte which brought the Pirates to within one, but got Colin Moran on a called strike to end that inning.
Corey Knebel came on in the ninth, throwing hard but running up his pitch count. Francisco Cervelli struck out swinging and Josh Bell flew out to left, but Polanco drew a walk, bringing Mercer to the plate again as the potential winning run - but he whiffed on a 2-2 pitch to end the game.
The Pirates drop to 36-37, 7.0 games behind the Brewers. They conclude the series Wednesday at 7:05 pm Eastern, as left Brent Suter (7-4, 4.30) faces Chad Kuhl (5-4, 3.76)