Nick Kingham fanned nine, Josh Bell laced four hits and Gregory Polanco smashed his 14th homerun as the Pirates had their way with Brewers starter Junior Guerra once again en route to a 7-3 victory at PNC Park, giving Pittsburgh five wins in their last six games.
In two starts Guerra has surrendered eleven runs in only nine innings to the Pirates, while in his other 16 starts he’s enjoyed a 2.44 ERA. Tonight the Pirates combined for twelve hits and seven walks and jumped on Guerra for three runs in the bottom of the first.
Everybody was hitting the ball hard as Corey Dickerson lined a double to right and Starling Marte lined a single to left to put runners at the corners with no one out. After Marte stole second Polanco lifted a sacrifice fly to center to score Dickerson with the first run. Francisco Cervelli followed with a walk and Colin Moran lined a single to center before Josh Bell doubled to right center, but Moran failed to make it all the way around from first and was thrown out at home.
The Pirates tacked on two more in the third to open a 5-1 lead. Moran lined a single to right, his second of three hits on the night, then did score from first when Josh Bell’s line drive deflected off the wrist of center fielder Lorenzo Cain and bounced away for a two-base error. After Josh Harrison walked, Jordy Mercer doubled down the left field line to score Bell.
Moran got one more first to home spring in the eighth when he singled ahead of bell’s triple into right center field.
Meanwhile Nick Kingham was having his way with the Brewers batters. He did allow a run in the third on a pair of ground ball singles wrapped around a walk, but got out of the inning when Can grounded into a double play. The only other runs he allowed were solo homers to Brewers’ relief pitcher Brandon Woodruff in the sixth and Travis Shaw in the seventh. Kingham finished with five hits and one walk allowed, along with nine strikeouts, in 6 1⁄3 innings.
Edgar Santana and Kyle Crick each got four outs to finish out the game, giving Felipe Vazquez much needed rest heading into Saturday’s double header.
The first game will start at 12:35 pm Eastern as Chase Anderson (6-6, 3.81) faces Ivan Nova (5-6, 4.50). Game two will immediately follow, with lefty Brent Suter (8-5, 4.53) for the Brewers and Clay Holmes (0-1, 7.11) being recalled for a spot start for the Pirates.