MILWAUKEE (AP) — After back-to-back wins in which the Pittsburgh Pirates scored in double digits, they had to scratch out a victory against the Milwaukee Brewers.
Kevin Newman homered and extended his hitting streak to 18 games, and the Pirates rallied with two late runs to beat the Brewers 3-2 on Friday night in the opener of a three-game series.
“Tonight, was a perfect indication of how good things can happen when you put the ball into play and win a game with two runs coming on infield ground balls and situational RBIs,” Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said.
The Pirates tied it in the eighth when Bryan Reynolds led off with a walk off reliever Junior Guerra and later scored on a fielder’s choice. In the ninth, Elias Diaz drew a one-out walk off Jeremy Jeffress (1-2) and moved to third on Jose Osuna’s single. Diaz scored when the Brewers failed to turn a double play on a comebacker to Jeffress.
“I think we should go home on that one,” Milwaukee manager Craig Counsell said. “There may have been a double play on a good turn and throw, but the safer play is the runner at third.”
Pittsburgh closer Felipe Vázquez (2-0) pitched two scoreless innings to help the Pirates won for the seventh time in eight games. Four relievers held the Brewers scoreless over the final five innings.
The Pirates, who have scored at least 10 runs in three out of their last four, generated little offense against Milwaukee starter Jhoulys Chacín. The right-hander, is winless since April 30, gave up six hits and one run in five innings in his longest outing since May 25.
“I thought Jhoulys pitched well,” Counsell said. “He gave us a good chance.”
Chris Archer’s wild pitch allowed Yasmani Grandal to score from third with the game’s first run. Eric Thames doubled to drive in another to give Milwaukee a 2-0 lead after one inning.
Newman hit a solo homer in the third, his fifth of the season, off Chacín to extend the longest active hitting streak in the majors.
“I feel like my approach is good I’m just trying to go up there and hit the ball hard,” Newman said.
Archer was pulled after four innings as a precaution after experiencing left hip discomfort while swinging at a pitch in the fourth. He gave up three hits and two runs while striking out six and walking two.
“It doesn’t feel great,” Archer said. “If I thought it was something I could fight through and still get good results, I would have stayed out there.”
Milwaukee recalled 2B Keston Hiura and INF/OF Tyler Saladino from Triple-A San Antonio. 3B Travis Shaw was optioned to San Antonio and INF/OF Hernán Pérez was designated for assignment. Hiura started at second and Saladino at shortstop.
Pirates: C Francisco Cervelli rejoined the team in Milwaukee but hasn’t been activated from the concussion injured list. … SS Erik González (factured left clavicle) began a minor-league rehab assignment with Triple-A Indianapolis on Friday. Gonzalez, who was injured in a collision with CF Starling Marte in April, went 0 for 3 in Indianapolis’ game at Gwinnett.
Brewers: RHP Jimmy Nelson was placed on the 10-day injured list, retroactive to June 26, with fluid on his right elbow. … RHP Corbin Burnes was recalled from Triple-A San Antonio. Burnes pitched a scoreless inning in relief.
Newman’s hitting streak ties him with Neil Walker (2010) and Rennie Stennett (1971) for the longest by a Pittsburgh rookie. Bryan Reynolds, another Pirates’ rookie, had a 17-game hitting streak earlier this season.
SEARCHING FOR ANSWERS
The Brewers have dropped eight of their last 11 and fell to 3-5 on the 10-game homestand. “We’ve got to win baseball games,” Counsell said. “Right now, we’re not getting consistent performance from all areas.”
Saladino and Orlando Arcia, who has been the everyday shortstop, are likely to split time in the coming games, Counsell said. “Tyler Saladino’s going to play,” he said. “I think at least for a while here we’re going to share some time at shortstop.”
Pirates: Jordan Lyles (5-3, 3.64 ERA), who has been out with left hamstring tightness, is expected to come off the injured list to start the second game of the series. Lyles is 3-4 with a 4.10 ERA in 14 career games (nine starts) against the Brewers.
Brewers: Brandon Woodruff (9-2, 4.01) will make his 17th start and third against the Pirates this season. He is 1-1 with a 7.11 ERA in five career games against Pittsburgh.
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