For just the fifth time this season, the Pittsburgh Pirates were swept Sunday as they were defeated 6-1 by the Brewers at Miller Park in Milwaukee. The crew of the Jolly Roger is 6-5 in 11 contests against Craig Counsell’s squad, and 17-24 against the National League Central Division.
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Milwaukee fans witnessed their first sweep in the friendly confines of Miller Park since last July. It was then that the Brewers took three from the Cincinnati Reds.
Pittsburgh is 6-4 in their last 10 match-ups, and remain in second-place in the NL Central, five games behind the St . Louis Cardinals (58-33).
Adding to the sting of Sunday’s loss was the injury to Pirates shortstop Jordy Mercer in the bottom of the second. The Brewers’ Carlos Gomez slid into Mercer’s left leg in trying to break up a double-play. Mercer had to be assisted off the field by cart. He is going back to Pittsburgh to have it evaluated.
The Pirates captured the lead in the fifth inning. After Jaff Decker tripled on a fly ball to center and two out, starting pitcher Jeff Locke took matters into his own hands. Locke singled on a line drive to left that scored Decker. Pittsburgh owned a 1-0 lead over Milwaukee.
It was the only offense the Pirates could generate against Taylor Jungmann. He allowed just one earned run on five hits over his seven innings. The 6-foot-6, 222-pound right-hander struck out five and walked three in taking on 27 batters. The 25-year-old Jungmann threw 60 of his 89 pitches for strikes in claiming his fifth win.
The Brewers bullpen of Will Smith, Jeremy Jeffress, and Neal Cotts kept the Pirates bats in check as they permitted just one hit among them over the eighth and ninth innings.
The Brewers rallied back in their half of the seventh. Carlos Gomez led the inning off with a walk off Locke. Aramis Ramirez moved Gomez to second base with his line drive single to left. With one out, Khris Davis added his 11th double of the season on a line drive shot to center that drove in Gomez and Ramirez. The scoreboard read 2-1 in favor of the Brewers.
Milwaukee’s assault of the scoreboard was not complete as they erupted for a total of four runs in the bottom of the eighth. With one out, Jonathan Lucroy singled to left and moved over to second on Ryan Braun’s sharp ground ball back to Pirates reliever Jared Hughes, who had come in to replace Locke. The bases were loaded when Carlos Gomez ripped a line drive to center.
The stage was set for the barrage. Adam Lind reached first on a fielding error by Pittsburgh first baseman Travis Ishikawa. That miscue pushed Lucroy across the plate. Aramis Ramirez popped a sacrifice fly to center to bring home Braun. Shane Peterson hit his fourth double of the season on a line drive to left that scored Gomez and Lind. Peterson was able to take third from a fielding error by left fielder Jaff Decker. The score sheet at this point read 6-1 in favor of the Brewers.
Locke surrendered three earned runs on eight hits over seven 1/3 innings for Pittsburgh. The 6-foot, 185-pound left-hander struck out three and walked two in collecting his sixth loss against five victories. The 27-year-old Locke is now 4-3 against the Brew Crew in nine career starts.
Up Next: The Pirates keep their bags packed as they head to Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City Monday for a three-game series with the Royals. K.C. manager Ned Yost will give the ball to 24-year-old Yordano Ventura (4-6, 4.73 ERA/1.27 WHIP). The 6-foot, 180-pound right-hander has 58 strikeouts over 72.1 innings pitched.
Pittsburgh will send 38-year-old A.J. Burnett (7-3, 2.11 ERA/1.22 WHIP) to the hill. The right-hander has put up 100 strikeouts over 119.1 innings pitched. The first pitch is set for 8:10 p.m. ET, and you can check out all the interleague action on ROOT Sports Pittsburgh.
From The Clipboard: The game lasted 2:56, and there were 33,835 in attendance at Miller Park…The Bucs were 47-44 after 91 games last season…The Pirates placed outfielder Gorkys Hernandez on the 15-day disabled list Sunday. The move was retroactive to July 13th. They recalled right-handed pitcher Wilfredo Boscan from Triple-A Indianapolis to take Hernandez’ place on the 25-man active roster…Francisco Liriano, who was scratched from his start Saturday due to neck tightness, told the media he was feeling better Sunday.