The Pittsburgh Pirates looked to avoid being swept again in Milwaukee to the Brewers, and with a late inning rally came away with a 6-4 victory Wednesday afternoon.
Jeanmar Gomez got the start for the Pirates as Jonathan Sanchez was designated for assignment yesterday and was a mixed bag. The Brewers struck in the first inning. Jean Segura reached base because of a John McDonald throwing error. Segura then stole second base setting the stage for a Ryan Braun single and the opening salvo.
In the next half inning, Brewers starter Hiram Burgos got Brandon Inge to pop up, however the next batter Pedro Alvarez hit his fifth home run of the season to right field to tie the game.
Gomez hit a rough patch in the fourth inning as with the game still tied at one, Carlos Gomez and Yuniesky Betancourt hit back to back solo homers their fifth and seventh of the season respectively.
Gomez went four innings throwing 79 pitches and allowing three runs with two being earned.
“If he does okay, there’s a chance to reshuffle,” Manager Clint Hurdle told reporters prior to the game about Gomez. “There would be a chance where he only goes one start and then goes back to the bullpen.”
He was replaced by Justin Wilson who kept the score where it was heading into the top of the seventh. Then it was Michael McKenry who rewarded Hurdle’s decision to put him in the lineup by hitting a solo homer, his third of the season to bring the score to 3-2.
The Brewers would finally figure out Wilson, getting an RBI single by Segura to score pinch hitter Khris Davis to take a two-run advantage once again.
In the eighth, the Brewers went to what worked for them in last night’s game by turning to John Axford. Axford lost his closer’s job earlier in the season and had a tough outing.
It started with Travis Snider pinch hitting for Bryan Morris and legging out an infield single. This became very important when Starling Marte hit a home run, his third of the season to center field to tie the game. It was the second straight day he has connected for a homer in an important situation.
Jose Tabata was able to single right after on Axford and stole second base, however he would leave with a left hamstring injury after being looked at by the trainers. James McDonald pinch ran for him and scored on an Inge single. Now trailing, the Brewers turned to Michael Gonzalez to keep the deficit where it was at, but in a lefty on lefty match up lost to Alvarez making the Pirates lead 6-4.
Mark Melancon came in to pitch the eighth inning and allowed a single but retired the other three hitters he faced.
The Pirates did not put any runs on the board in the top of the ninth against Burke Badenhop and Jason Grilli came in to get the save. He would set the Brewers down to get his 11th save of the season.
Morris got his first career win in the major leagues to go 1-1 on the year and make Axford 0-3. Grilli’s 11 saves are currently one better than Jim Johnson of the Baltimore Orioles for the MLB lead.
The Pirates have a day off Thursday before coming back to PNC Park and facing the Washington Nationals. A.J. Burnett (2-2, 2.83) will start for the Pirates and his mound opponent Ross Detwiler (1-2, 2.03) takes the ball for the Nationals.
Of note: Hurdle projected return dates of May 11 for Francisco Liriano and May 14 for Charlie Morton. Jeff Karstens will throw a simulated game Friday. Snider will likely not start Friday against fellow lefty Detwiler and should start Saturday. Neil Walker will not start Friday but Hurdle expects Contreras to be with the team Friday.
“We’ve got some options in front of us with these two off days,” Hurdle said. “The best guys will pitch and we’ll have a very interesting decision to make here sooner or later.”