In a bid to win the series, the Pittsburgh Pirates (6-9) and Milwaukee Brewers (8-6) faced off Sunday afternoon at American Family Field in Milwaukee. For the Pirates, Chad Kuhl was given starting duties, while the Brewers countered with Freddy Peralta.
Milwaukee kicked off the scoring in the bottom of the first inning when Daniel Vogelbach homered (1) — a solo shot to center which staked the Brewers to a 1-0 lead. After an Avisail Garcia single, Travis Shaw would double in the second run of the inning, extending the lead to 2-0.
The Pirates picked up their first hit in the top of the second inning when Erik Gonzalez doubled to lead off the inning, but the Bucs weren’t able to turn it into anything; a pair of strikeouts and a groundout concluded the frame.
In the top of the third inning, however, Phillip Evans was able to draw a two-out walk, which led to a Bryan Reynolds double. Colin Moran connected on a 1-1 pitch to deep left field, and would ultimately result in an opposite field three-run homer, Moran’s fourth long ball of the season. With one swift swing, the Bucs had taken a 3-2 lead in the deciding game of the series.
It wouldn’t take long for the Brewers to draw the game even, however. In the bottom of the third, Garcia took a full count pitch for a solo home run, his third of the year. As the two clubs headed to the fourth inning, the game was knotted at 3-3.
Chad Kuhl would ultimately contribute five innings of pretty solid work, allowing five hits and three runs, one walk, while striking out six over his time. He made way in the sixth inning for lefty reliever Sam Howard, who pitched 0.2 innings, striking out one and walking one. David Bednar got the Pirates out of the sixth inning with the game tied.
With Brad Broxberger pitching for Milwaukee in the top of the seventh inning, Adam Frazier dropped in a lead off single to shallow left field, near the line. That single was followed up by an Evans strikeout, but Reynolds belted his second home run of the year well over the wall in right, staking the Pirates to a 5-3 advantage in the late innings.
Chris Stratton made entry in the bottom of the seventh to try to keep the Brewers at arm’s length. After inducing a groundout to begin the inning, Jackie Bradley, Jr. beat out a bunt single. Vogelbach promptly launched his second home run of the game — and the season — in the following at bat, resulting in a 5-5 score. Stratton navigated the remainder of the inning without problem, but the damage had already been done.
Kyle Crick contributed a scoreless eighth inning for the Pirates, tossing a clean frame and picking up one strikeout. Josh Hader would supply a pair of strikeouts in the ninth inning, setting the Brewers up for an opportunity to walk it off in the bottom of the frame.
Pittsburgh sent Richard Rodriguez to the mound to face Milwaukee’s 8-9-1 hitters. Rodriguez struck out Daniel Robertson to begin the inning before Omar Narvaez hit a sharp line drive, but nearly right to Reynolds in center. Bradley, Jr. concluded the inning with a popout in foul ground. With Rodriguez’s quick inning of work, the game was headed to extra innings.
With Major League Baseball still utilizing the rule where a runner begins extra innings on second, Moran stepped to the dish with the table already set for him. JP Feyereisen’s pitch was sent into the right field corner, resulting in a double and plating Reynolds in the process, giving the Pirates the 6-5 edge. A Kevin Newman walk would put two men on base, but a Michael Perez strikeout would conclude the inning.
Rodriguez took the mound for his second inning of work with Bradley, Jr. as the runner to begin the inning on second. A pair of flyouts from Vogelbach and Garcia brought up Travis Shaw as the final chance for the Brewers. Rodriguez struck out Shaw looking, thus wrapping up a 6-5 Pirates’ victory.
With the win, the Pirates improve to 7-9, while the Brewers fall to 8-7.
Of note, Reynolds and Moran supplied the ammunition for the Bucs on the afternoon, each picking up a home run, with the former driving in two and the latter driving in four. Vogelbach was the primary catalyst for the Brewers with his pair of long balls. Peralta and Kuhl virtually matched each other throughout this game, posting similar lines on the day. Additionally, Rodriguez’s flawless two innings of work in relief proved to be one of the primary difference makers Sunday afternoon.
The Pirates will have an off day Monday before beginning a three game series in Detroit against the Tigers. The club’s road trip wraps up next weekend with three games against the Minnesota Twins at Target Field in Minneapolis.