Six days after blanking the Marlins for six innings, Ivan Nova kept it up, allowing only one run to the Brewers in another six inning outing as the Pirates scratched out a 3-1 win in Milwaukee in the second of the three game series.
As happened Friday, Christian Yelich started the scoring with a line drive homer to center, this one his 30th of the year, but unlike Chris Archer’s start the day before, that would be the only run that Nova would allow on the night. The Brewers put runners on in the second and third, but then Nova retired ten in a row before Lorenzo Cain singled with two outs in the sixth, but he was left stranded at first.
In his six innings, Nova allowed four hits, one walk and struck out four, throwing 53 of 76 pitches for strikes (70%)
The Pirates broke through against Zach Davies in the second, tying the game at one apiece when Corey Dickerson walked and with two outs raced around to score on Colin Moran’s double to left field.
They went ahead 2-1 in the fourth when Josh Bell led off with an infield single and scored from first on Francisco Cervelli’s double down the left field line.
Pittsburgh scored their final run in the sixth against reliever Jacob Barnes. With one out Starling Marte doubled to left and went to second when Josh Bell walked. On a 1-0 pitch to Francisco Cervelli, both runners were off, and when catcher Erik Kratz’s throw to second in an attempt to nab the trailing runner Bell skipped into center, Marte continued around third and scored on the error.
The Brewers tried to rally in the seventh off Richard Rodriguez when Jesus Aguilar led off with a ground double down the left field line, and after a wild pitch was on third with nobody out, but Rodriguez bore down to strike out Mike Moustakas, got Kratz to foul out, and ended the inning by fanning Jonathan Schoop.
Again in the eighth Milwaukee put the leadoff runner on when Kyle Crick walked Eric Thames and then went to second on a ground out, but Thames got caught off second on Yelich’s grounder to third and Lorenzo Cain went down swinging to end the inning.
The third time was the charm, as in the nith pinch-hitter Ryan Braun greeted closer Felipe Vazquez with a sharp grounder to right for a single and Jesus Aguilar laced another single to left to put two on with none out, and bringing the winning run to the plate. Mike Moustakas took the count to 3-2 before hitting a soft liner to short, pinch-hitter Domingo Santana flew out to center, and once again Jonathan Schoop went down swinging, this time at a 98 mph fastball at the letters.
It was the 33rd save for Vazquez, and his 23rd in a row since June 1, over which period he has a 1.33 ERA.
The victory was the tenth of the year for the Pirates over the Brewers, clinching the season series. The two teams will play the rubber match of the series on Sunday at 2:10 pm Eastern, as Trevor Williams (12-9, 3.28) faces Jhoulys Chacin (14-7, 3.54)