The Pirates’ second half collapse continued Monday night, losing to the Brewers and Jordan Lyles 9-7.
Lyles’ return to PNC Park went well for the recently traded ex-Buc, picking up his second win as many starts with the Brewers (7-7). For those of you keeping track at home, since the start of June, he has more wins against the Pirates than with them.
Lyles lasted five innings, allowing two hits- both home runs- walking two and striking out one. He let three runs score, though only one was earned. Those tallies came in the fourth on a Bryan Reynolds line drive over the wall in right and then a pinch-hit homer from Pablo Reyes in the fifth, which also plated Kevin Newman.
Pirates’ starter Dario Agrazal (2-3) was also bit by the long ball, serving up two in his five innings pitched. The rookie right-hander is in the midst of his first big league slump, allowing multiple home runs in each of his last three starts, leaving him with some questions to answer.
“What I do know is that this is the big leagues, and hitters are continuously studying every single pitcher that they’re going to face,” said Agrazal through translator Mike Gonzalez. “Obviously they’re studying me.
“They’re getting to know me a lot better, and I’m just going to continue with my plan. Continue to work hard. Continue to make whatever adjustments I need to make.”
Christian Yelich bookended the Brewers’ scoring with solo home runs in the first and ninth innings as part of his 4-5 night.
The Brewers’ big inning came in the fourth, starting with a 459 foot home run by Mike Moustakas. Milwaukee then rattled off three consecutive hits to load the bases with nobody out, but Agrazal appeared to have gotten a much needed double-play ball off the bat of Lyles.
Instead, third baseman Colin Moran threw to first base, getting the out but allowing all the runners to advance. Trent Grisham then singled home both remaining runners before Yasmani Grandal grounded into an inning ending double-play. Had Moran gone to home or second with the throw, it stands to reason the Pirates would have surrendered one fewer run that inning.
“By the time the ball went up, I just kind of panicked,” said Moran. “I thought I wouldn’t be able to get him at home, and, stupidly, I didn’t go to second...obviously a mistake that just can’t happen.”
The Pirates were able to get the potential tying run into scoring position in the the sixth and bring the tying run to the plate in the eighth and ninth, but fell short all three times.
The Brewers rallied for three against Francisco Liriano in the eighth, with the rally starting by an error by Adam Frazier.
Josh Hader gets his 25th save of the season, allowing a run on two hits in his 1.1 innings of work.
The Pirates are now 4-19 since the All-Star break.
Reynolds Hits One Out, Brings One Back
Not only did Reynolds homer Monday, he also robbed one. With the Pirates down a run in the second, the Pirates’ left fielder made a leaping catch, reaching well into the stands to take a long ball away from Moustakas.
Listening to Reynolds describe the highligh reel catch in the postgame presser, it sounded like a routine play.
“I just ran back there, jumped, got it,” said Reynolds. “Nothing to it.”
Perhaps Agrazal can paint a better picture.
“Those are moments that not only do you celebrate the opponent, but also those are moments that they help me as a pitcher to be able to just get a breath,” Agrazal said. “Be able to just relax and get back in my zone, and give me a little bit of hope to continue.
“Amazing ball player and amazing catch.”
At the dish, Reynolds went 3-5 with a home run, a double and two runs scored.
Steven Brault (3-1, 4.15) will be activated off the injured list and make the start Tuesday. He has been sidelined since July 6 with a left shoulder strain. Chase Anderson (5-2, 3.73) is slated to go for the Brewers, with first pitch scheduled for 7:05 p.m..
1. The Pirates are now 17-43 in games where the starting pitcher does not pitch at least six innings.
2. Reyes’ home run was the ninth by a Pirate pinch-hitter this year. That’s tied for the second most in baseball with the Los Angeles Dodgers. The San Francisco Giants have 11.
3. Agrazal has allowed 10 home runs in his major league career. Eight of them have been solo shots, including both on Monday.