Joe Musgrove was tagged for a trio of homers Thursday night in an 11-5 Pirates loss to Milwaukee.
The homers came early and often for Musgrove (3-6) Thursday.
Mike Moustakas was public enemy number one, homering in his first two trips to the plate against the right-hander. In the third, Yasmani Grandal hit the left field foul pole on the very next pitch after Moustakas’ second dinger to put the Brewers up 5-1.
Musgrove was able to give the Pirates some length, completing the third and then tacking on three scoreless innings to spare the bullpen. Pitching in what he called “survival mode” for most of the night, Musgrove finished his six innings with five earned runs, 11 hits, two walks and six strikeouts on his ledger.
Thursday was the first time Musgrove served up three home runs in a game with the Pirates. He entered play allowing just two long balls in 2019.
“It’s execution of pitches,” Musgrove said. “I had a good game plan. You saw when I executed the pitches, I got the results that we needed.”
Colin Moran got in on the home run fun with a fourth inning home run. The Pirates would threaten to get back in the game in the fifth when they put two runners on for Josh Bell and Bryan Reynolds, but Bell fly out to center and Reynolds grounded out to second to end the inning.
That closed the book on Chase Anderson (3-0), who allowed two runs on six hits in five innings.
Bell went 1-5 with a double Thursday, while Reynolds picked up a pair of singles in four trips to the plate.
Melky Cabrera would make it a game again on a pinch-hit two RBI double in the eighth before coming home on a Cole Tucker single. Josh Hader was brought in to end the rally and succeeded when he caught Kevin Newman looking on a full count.
“We had three different chances offensively with tipping points in the game and we didn’t convert any of them,” said Clint Hurdle. “Whether it’s the second inning, whether it be the fifth inning or whether it be the eighth inning, when the tying run’s at the plate.
“The game seemed like we were so far away, but we weren’t.”
Milwaukee made those runs a moot point, tagging Alex McRae for two runs in the eighth and Richard Rodriguez for four in the ninth.
Chris Archer (1-5, 5.75) will go for the Bucs Friday against Jhoulys Chacin (3-6, 4.88) in game two of the series. First pitch is at 7:05 p.m..
1. Bell’s 24 extra-base hits this month are tied for the most by any Pirate batter in any month. Paul Waner had 24 extra-base hits in August of 1928 and in June of 1927.
2. Reynolds extended his hitting streak to nine games. Newman also pushed his hitting streak to nine with a third inning base knock.
3. Musgrove got only two whiffs on 44 non-cut fastballs. This month, he has not had a start where he got more than two combined whiffs with his four-seamer and sinker.