The Pittsburgh Pirates couldn’t complete the comeback. With the tying run on first base in the ninth inning and two outs, Pedro Alvarez struck out as the Brewers avoided the series sweep 4-3 on Sunday afternoon in Milwaukee.
Clint Hurdle‘s squad saw their three-game winning streak come to a halt and their record moved to 67-63. They remain in third place in the National League Central, five games behind the first-place Brew Crew. The Bucs are 27-37 on the road this season while putting up a 40-26 mark along the North Shore at PNC Park.
Milwaukee starter Mike Fiers kept the Pirates off balance for seven innings with a 72 mph curveball that made his fastball appear more rapid even though it barely registered 90 mph on the radar gun.
The 6-foot-2 right-hander gave up two earned runs on two hits while striking out seven and walking only one on 99 pitches.
The Brewers pushed two runs across the plate in the first when Ryan Braun bounced a comebacker off Vance Worley‘s glove for an infield single, that was followed up with RBI singles from Scooter Gennett and Mark Reynolds.
Worley saw his record drop to 5-4 as he surrendered four earned runs on twelve hits over 6 1/3 innings of work. The 6-foot-2, 230-pound right-hander struck out five and walked one on 94 pitches.
Starling Marte got the Jolly Roger crew even with a two-run home run, his ninth of the season, that brought home Alvarez in the second.
Andrew McCutchen kept it interesting for fans on both sides of the aisle in the ninth with his 19th home run on a fly ball to left field. Russell Martin walked next, before Brewers reliever Francisco Rodriguez struck out Alvarez to claim his 39th save this season.
The Pirates open a three-game series with St. Louis at PNC Park on Monday. The first pitch is set for 7:05 p.m. The second-place Cardinals (70-59) will send right-hander John Lackey (12-8, 3.88 ERA) to the hill while the Bucs will go with Francisco Liriano (3-10, 4.18 ERA).
The 30-year-old left-hander will be making his 23rd start of the season. Liriano has put up a 2-4 record with a 3.52 ERA in eight starts since returning from the disabled list. The game will be broadcast by ROOT Sports Pittsburgh.