Josh Bell and Jung Ho Kang both went deep with two outs in the ninth to erase a four run deficit, but the Brewers wound up pulling it out in extras Friday night 7-6.
Trailing 6-1 entering the ninth, Melky Cabrera, Adam Frazier and pinch-hitter Jacob Stallings got a rally going by string together singles to load the bases. After Starling Marte traded a run for the second out of the inning, Bell went deep to right to bring the Bucs back to within one.
With the Brewers’ bullpen nearly depleted, Junior Guerra was brought in to try to get the save, but Kang put his first offering in the seats in the left field bleachers to tie the game at six each.
The celebration was short lived, though, as Lorenzo Cain topped a ball the other way for a softly hit RBI single off Felipe Vazquez in the 10th to reclaim the lead.
Vazquez said despite the sudden comeback, he had enough time to throw the same pitches he normally would in the bullpen.
“You just have to be ready,” said Vazquez. “It’s baseball. You don’t know what’s going to happen, so you just have to be ready in any situation.”
Elias Diaz and Frazier both singled in the 10th to keep the game going, but with the pitcher spot up and no hitters remaining, Clint Hurdle was forced to have Joe Musgrove pinch-hit. He gave a couple of mighty cuts, but struck out.
“We’re going to fight. We’re going to play,” said Clint Hurdle. “We got outscored by one run tonight. Found our way back in it.
“Crazy game. All over the place.”
That craziness and short bench stemmed from an injury shortened outing by Steven Brault. After walking Orlando Arcia to lead off the fifth, he made a signal to bring head athletic trainer Bryan Housand to the mound. After a short conversation, they walked off the field together.
Left shoulder discomfort is the diagnosis at the moment.
“It was a little bit bothersome from the beginning,” said Brault on his shoulder. “Just had a hard time getting it loose today. And then I came out for that fifth inning and it just wouldn’t loosen up.”
The plan is for Brault to see how it feels over the next couple days before deciding if any further action is required.
Brault lasted 4+ innings, allowing one earned run on three hits and two walks while striking out four.
The Pirates could not plate a run against Brewers’ starter Zach Davies, though they came close in the second inning. With the bases juiced and two outs, center fielder Lorenzo Cain ran a Jerry Rice-esque route with the catch to match to rob Frazier of extra bases at the wall.
Davies lasted five frames, allowing five base runners and striking out four.
Cain balanced his defensive contributions out in the seventh, dropping a Diaz pop fly in the Bermuda triangle, sparking a two out rally. After a Cabrera walk, Frazier took an 0-2 pitch up the middle for an RBI knock.
The Brewers turned to Josh Hader there, and after hitting Bryan Reynolds in the hand, he got Starling Marte to pop to first to end the rally.
Reynolds exited as part of a double-switch that inning. Hader went on to pitch a scoreless eighth before giving way to Deolis Guerra in the ninth.
After getting out of the jam, Jesus Aguilar and Manny Pina each launched two run homers off Dovydas Neverauskas in the 8th, giving the Brewers a seemingly insurmountable lead.
Neverauskas gave the Pirates a scoreless frame in a similar situation Wednesday night. That outing, coupled by Hurdle’s reluctance to use Kyle Crick and Felipe Vazquez when down a run with two games remaining before the break, is why the skipper went to Neverauskas.
“It just didn’t work out,” Hurdle said.
The Pirates fall to 42-45, four games behind the Brewers. Guerra gets a blown save and a win (3-1). Vazquez takes the loss on his birthday (2-1).
Saturday is Trevor Williams’ spot in the rotation, but he was placed on the paternity list late Friday night. Dario Agrazal (1-0, 2.70) will be recalled and make the spot start. Milwaukee will counter with Adrian Houser (2-2, 3.26), with first pitch scheduled for 4:05 p.m..
1. Brault extended his hitting streak to six games with an infield single in the second. That’s the longest streak by a Pirate pitcher since Rick Rhoden’s 10 gamer in 1984.
2. Richard Rodriguez tossed a scoreless sixth, pushing his scoreless innings streak to 16.1. That’s the longest streak for a Pirate pitcher this year.
3. Pirates batters had three batted balls with an expected batting average over .750 that resulted in outs Friday. That’s the most they have in a single game this season, per Baseball Savant. They had 42 such outs in their first 86 games.