It is no secret that the Millwaukee Brewers have dominated the Pittsburgh Pirates at Miller Park in recent years.
On paper, the Pirates have the easiest second-half schedule in Major League Baseball, but that includes this series and two more at Miller Park, not to mention several other National League Central opponents with many of these series occurring on the road.
The Brewers once again handled the Pirates, this time by a 3-1 score Friday night, spoiling a good outing from Steven Brault.
Brault had a high volume of pitches early in his outing, while squeezing out 106 pitches in six innings.
In the start, Brault (0-1) recorded seven ground ball outs and allowed all three runs on seven hits.
Brault’s biggest mistake came in the first inning. Jonathan Villar led off the game with a double but appeared to be stranded at second base. But it was first baseman Chris Carter who hit a 3-2 slider into left center field for his 23rd home run of the season.
This after being one strikeout way from tight-roping out of danger.
Brault had his battles with former Pirate Keon Broxton. Broxton entered play a .135 hitter this season but walked twice and singled in Scooter Gennett providing what proved to be an important insurance run.
On the other side, Junior Guerra (7-2) baffled the Pirates all night.
Not only did he nearly throw the first complete game of his major league career, but Guerra allowed four hits, two of which came in the ninth inning.
Guerra had only pitched eight innings once this season, and that was June 29 against the Los Angeles Angels. Yet, here he was flirting with a Maddux, which is also known as a complete game while throwing less than 98 times.
Matt Joyce pinch-hit in the ninth inning, recording a single and this was followed by John Jaso walking on a full count.
At this point it was was fairly certain that there was little chance for a Maddux.
With two outs, Andrew McCutchen singled in Joyce. This was the center fielder’s 41st RBI in 53 career games at Miller Park.
When Guerra was pulled for Jeremy Jeffress, the Brewers closer barely had time to pitch as Jung Ho Kang swung at the first pitch he saw, with the result being a game-ending ground out.
Francisco Cervelli’s frustrating season continued when he appeared to injure his right foot in the eighth inning of this game.
Juan Nicasio was in the mound and his pitch made contact with Gennett. The ball then ricocheted and in an effort to block the plate, Cervelli extended his leg a move which ended his night prematurely. The official diagnosis is right foot discomfort.
Cervelli has already missed 31 games this season with his broken left hamate bone.
This series continues when Jameson Taillon (2-1, 3.60 ERA) takes on Chase Anderson (5-10, 5.49 ERA. Taillon had a no-decision against the Brewers on Jul. 19 allowing a run on five hits in six innings.