Given their recent strings of quality starts, It wasn’t surprising that starters Jameson Taillon and Jhoulys Chacin were locked in a pitcher’s duel late into Saturday’s matchup, but it was the Pirates, led by Gregory Polanco and Adam Frazier, who eventually broke through and then abused the Brewers’ relievers.
The Brewers took the first lead of the night in the bottom of the third when Christian Yelich lined a homer to left-center field, his second in two nights and 23rd of the year.
The Pirates responded immediately when Francisco Cervelli led off the top of the fourth with a ground double down the left field line and scored an out later on Josh Harrison double to right that eluded Eric Thames.
Meanwhile, Taillon kept on dealing. Mike Moustakas doubled with one out in the fourth but Thames and Hernan Perez both fanned to end the inning. The Brewers went down in order in the fifth and the first two batters in the sixth grounded out softly before Jesus Aguilar lined a single to right, but Moustakas went down swinging to end the inning and Taillon’s night.
Chacin went back out for the top of the seventh to face Adam Frazier, pinch-hitting for Taillon. On a night when home plate umpire Sam Holbrook called very few pitches on the edge as strikes, Chacin was visibly upset when a 3-2 pitch to Frazier was called ball four. Starling Marte then drove a 1-1 pitch deep to center. Chacin didn’t even turn to watch the flight of the ball, but it struck halfway up the wall 400 feet away as runners settled in at second and third with none out. After Josh Bell was waved to first base to load the bases, setting up a force at home, Chacin was done and lefty Dan Jennings came in to face Gregory Polanco. The night before the same matchup resulted in a four pitch walk, but this time Polanco lined a 0-1 pitch to left to drive in a pair and put the Pirates up 3-1.
After Corey Dickerson made the last out of the inning, Frazier stayed in the game by replacing him in left field. Edgar Santana made quick work of the Brew Crew in the bottom of the seventh and then Taylor Williams came in to face the Pirates in the eighth. You knew it would be his night when he started by walking Josh Harrison, but after the next batter Colin Moran doubled (his third of four hits on the night), Harrison limped into third and an out later was removed for a pinch-runner. Knowing it would likely take an extra base hit to score the slow footed Moran from second, Frazier came to the plate and took another 3-2 pitch into the bullpen in right-center for his sixth homer of the year, putting the Pirates up 6-1.
The Bucs put the finishing touches on the night with three more runs off the hapless Matt Albers. A walk to Polanco, a Cervelli single and a wild pitch added one, Sean Rodriguez singled in another, and then Moran doubled yet again to drive in Rodriguez.
Taillon threw 69 of 108 pitches for strikes, striking out eight without a walk. Santana chipped in two scoreless frames and Keone Kela put two of three batters down on strikes in ninth inning mop up work.
The Pirates now have won 10 or 13 against the Brewers this year and the two teams will conclude this series on Sunday afternoon at 2:10 pm Eastern as Chris Archer (4-6, 4.41, 1-1, 4.91 with the Pirates) faces right-hander Chase Anderson (8-7, 3.92)