The Pittsburgh Pirates have had their troubles closing out games so far this season, especially against the Milwaukee Brewers.
Thursday afternoon was no exceptions as Pirates’ close Mark Melancon squandered a 3-2 ninth inning lead without getting an out and Brewers’ left fielder Khris Davis came through with a two-run walk-off broken bat single as the Brewers rallied to defeat the Pirates 4-3 at Miller Park.
Ryan Braun started off the ninth inning with a single and then Melancon, who had walked only one batter the entire season up until this point, issued back-to-back walks to Jonathan Lucroy and Mark Reynolds to load the bases before Davis delivered the game-winning single.
The Pirates were 80-3 last season when leading after eight innings, this season they are only 12-4.
The loss killed the Pirates momentum as they could have won their fourth series in a row.
Wandy Rodriguez was activated off the disabled list prior to the game and got the start and pitched better than he had at any point so far this season.
Rodriguez lasted only five innings, allowing only two runs on four hits while striking out four.
The Pirates had some success with the long ball as well, getting to Brewers’ starter Yovani Gallardo, who usually owns the Bucs.
Tony Sanchez gave the Pirates a 2-1 lead in the fifth inning, his first homer of the season.
Gaby Sanchez then broke up a 2-2 tie in the sixth with a solo shot, his fourth of the year.
The Sanchez homer looked like it was going to stand up after some outstanding relief work from Justin Wilson and Tony Watson as the Pirates duo combined to toss three scoreless inning in which they struck out six Milwaukee hitters.
Unfortunately Melancon (1-2) didn’t have similar success.
The Pirates looked like they would be able to add on a few times, but the Brewers were outstanding defensively, especially Reynolds down at third base, who robbed Pirates hitters on more than one occasions, costing the Bucs a couple of runs.
Rob Wooten (1-1) picked up the win in relief for Milwaukee.
The Bucs will be back in action on Friday when they travel to Yankee Stadium to take on the Bronx Bombers.