Steven Brault’s late-season woes continued Friday night as the Milwaukee Brewers touched him up for six runs in 51/3 innings en route to a 10-1 shellacking at Miller Park.
The loss was the Pirates’ seventh in a row, while Milwaukee strengthened its position in the National League wild-card chase.
The Brewers remained a game behind Washington in the battle for the No. 1 wild-card slot, and Milwaukee now leads Chicago by two games in the race for the second wild-card spot as the Cubs lost to St. Louis Friday night.
Milwaukee also has its eyes on the top spot in the NL Central, as it trails first-place St. Louis by three games with eight games remaining.
The Brewers wasted no time in jumping Brault, as they touched him for three runs in the first inning.
Mike Moustakas drove in Lorenzo Cain with an RBI single, and two runs scored on Pirates shortstop Kevin Newman’s throwing error.
Friday marked the third straight start that Brault had surrendered at least five runs.
He yielded six in a 10-1 loss to St. Louis on Sept. 7 and followed that by allowing 10 runs – all earned – in a 17-8 loss to the Cubs on Sept. 13.
His ERA has climbed by more than a full run in his last three starts, jumping from 3.98 to 5.07 after Friday night’s loss.
The Brewers added three runs in the sixth inning on Keston Hiura’s RBI single, a hit-by-pitch to Manny Pina with the bases loaded and a bases-loaded walk to Ben Gamel.
Pirates reliever Yacksel Rios plunked Pina while fellow reliever Williams Jerez served up the bases-loaded walk to Gamel.
The bullpen fared even worse in the seventh as Milwaukee rocked Geoff Hartlieb for four runs on three hits and a walk. Trent Grisham struck the key blow – a bases-clearing triple – and Pina added a sacrifice fly.
The Pirates’ lone run came in the seventh on Adam Frazier’s 10th homer of the season.
Other than that, the lone Pirates’ bright spot was rookie Bryan Reynolds, who went 3 for 4 to raise his average to .321 on the season.
Pittsburgh will look to snap its seven-game slide in a 7:10 p.m. matchup Saturday against the Brewers.
Rookie James Marvel (0-2) will start for the Pirates against Milwaukee’s Zach Davies (10-7).