The Pittsburgh Pirates lost the opening contest of their three-game set Friday 4-1 to the Brewers at Miller Park in Milwaukee. Clint Hurdle‘s squad is 6-4 in 10 match-ups with the Brew Crew, and 17-22 against teams in the National League Central Division.
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The crew of the Jolly Roger left three runners in scoring position with two out, and stranded a total of five base runners. With the defeat, the Pirates are 53-36, and 3.5 games behind the first place St. Louis Cardinals (57-33). The Redbirds edged the New York Mets Friday 3-2 at Busch Stadium.
The Brewers struck early, putting a run on the board in the bottom of the first. Gerardo Parra led the inning off with a double off Pirates starter Charile Morton, and was moved over to third on Jonathan Lucroy’s sacrifice bunt. With one out, Ryan Braun grounded out to Neil Walker and scored Parra.
The winning run for Milwaukee came in the fifth. Scooter Gennett got on board after being hit by a pitch. He took second on Mike Fiers sacrificte bunt. Parra collected his 23 double of the season on a line drive to right and drove in Gennett.
It was a tough night for Morton as he surrendered four earned runs on five hits over six innings for Pittsburgh. The 6-foot-5, 235-pound right-hander struck out two and walked three in picking up his third loss against six victories. The 31-year-old Morton is now 3-7 against the Brewers in 13 career starts.
The one bright spot for Pirates faithful occurred with one out in the seventh. Jung Ho Kang blasted his fifth home run of the season on a 384-foot shot to deep left center off Brewers starter Mike Fiers. The Brewers lead was cut in half at 2-1.
Milwaukee was not done as they added two more runs in their half of the seventh. Parra reached base on a fielding error by first baseman Pedro Alvarez, his 15th miscue of the season. It was enough to drive in Gennett. With nobody out, Lucroy grounded into a double play that brought Shane Peterson home.
Fiers permitted just one earned run on three hits over his seven innings for the Brewers. The 6-foot-2, 198-pound right-hander struck out seven and walked one in dealing with 26 batters. The 30-year-old Fiers threw 60 of his 89 pitches for strikes in collecting his fifth victory.
Francisco Rodriguez, Milwaukee’s All-Star closer, claimed his 21st save by not giving up a hit and striking out one to shut the door for the Brewers in the ninth.
Hurdle said to Brandon Curry and Tom Singer on MLB.com after the game, ““If we play a little better on the (defensive) side of the ball in the seventh inning, who knows how that inning plays out. We didn’t meet the demands of the game. I don’t think it needs any more explanation than that.”
Up Next: The Pirates and Brewers take the field for the second contest of their three-game set Saturday at Miller Park. The Brew Crew will send 26-year-old
Jimmy Nelson (6-9, 4.21 ERA/1.29 WHIP) to the hill. The 6-foot-6, 245-pound right-hander has put up 89 strikeouts over 109.0 innings pitched.
Pittsburgh will go with 31-year-old Francisco Lriano (5-6, 2.98 ERA/1.03 WHIP). The left-hander has 125 strikeouts over 114.2 innings pitched. The first pitch is scheduled for 7:10 p.m. ET, and you can catch all the balls and strikes on ROOT Sports Pittsburgh.
From The Clipboard: The game lasted 2:51, and there were 32,363 in the seats at Miller Park…The Bucs were 48-41 after 89 games last season…The Pirates play 10 of their next 14 contests on the road…Pittsburgh recalled left fielder Jaff Decker Friday from Triple-A Indianapolis. Decker is taking the place on the 25-man active roster of pitcher Wilfredo Boscan. The 6-foot-2, 175-pound righthander was optioned to Indy Monday. The 5-foot-9, 190-pound outfielder contributed nine doubles, one triple, three home runs and 24 RBI in 54 games with the Indians.