Avisail Garcia slugged a two-run homer in the sixth inning to snap a 2-2 tie and propel the host Milwaukee Brewers to a 5-2 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates Sunday at American Family Field.
The victory gave the Brewers a three-game series sweep and extended the Pirates’ losing streak to seven heading into Monday’s 7:05 p.m. meeting with the Washington Nationals in the nation’s capital.
Despite the loss, the Bucs were on the receiving end of a solid effort from Wil Crowe, who delivered his best start as a Pirate.
The 26-year-old right-hander, obtained from the Nationals in the Josh Bell trade, gave up a leadoff single to Luis Urias in the first inning and then an RBI double to Daniel Vogelbach to put the Brewers in front 1-0.
But Crowe then proceeded to retire the next 15 straight batters and did not allow a ball out of the infield in that stretch. He also struck out eight.
Crowe took the mound in the bottom of the sixth with a slim 2-1 lead, thanks to Jacob Stallings’ solo homer in the top of the inning.
But Crowe, who was allowed to bat in the top of the inning with the bases loaded and two outs, could not put away leadoff batter Tim Lopes, who walked after a 10-pitch at-bat.
That was all for Crowe, who gave way to David Bednar. Urias greeted Bednar with an RBI triple, tying the score at 2-2. And after Vogelbach grounded out on a comebacker, Garcia delivered his two-run homer to give the Brewers a 4-2 lead.
Milwaukee added an insurance run in the seventh on light-hitting Manny Pina’s double off Sam Howard and Christian Yelich’s sacrifice fly.
Pirates manager Derek Shelton said in a postgame press conference televised by AT&T SportsNet afterward that Lopes’ 10-pitch at-bat led to his decision to remove Crowe from the game. “If he gets him more efficiently, he probably gets another hitter,” Shelton said of Crowe, who started the inning with 72 pitches.
The story of the game was squandered opportunities for the Pirates, who outhit the Brewers 10-5 and stranded 10 of their 13 base runners. Five of the Brewers’ six base runners ultimately scored.
NOTES – Colin Moran, who missed significant time with a groin injury and more recently was sidelined after being hit in the hand by a pitch, exited the game in the second inning Sunday after tweaking his lower back while running the bases. He was replaced at first base by Phillip Evans.