The Pittsburgh Pirates opened up their series against the Milwaukee Brewers on Tuesday night with a 6-3 win.
The Pirates (75-75) scored quickly in the first inning off the Brewers’ starting pitcher, Matt Garza (5-8, 4.52 ERA). Andrew McCutchen hit a double toward the deep left side of the field, scoring both Adam Frazier and Josh Bell.
On the hill for Pittsburgh was 24-year-old Steven Brault (0-3, 4.26 ERA), who was starting his seventh game in a major league uniform. Brault looked solid through two innings (two Brewers got on base because of throwing errors), but, in the third, Brault gave up a deep double to Domingo Santana. That double scored Chris Carter, who had singled to right on the previous play.
But the Pirates didn’t want to keep playing in a one-run ball game, so it didn’t take long for them to expand their lead. In the top of the fourth inning, Jordy Mercer singled to the center and scored Francisco Cervelli, who had doubled to left. Sean Rodriguez moved to second on that play, but, on the next play, he was caught advancing and was thrown out at third base to end the inning.
In the bottom of the fourth inning, Brault got Jake Elmore and Michael Reed to ground out, but Martin Maldonado hit a solo homer on a 1-1 count. Brault then got Garza to strike out.
The scoring would keep going back-and-forth when Josh Bell then helped extend the Pirates lead again in the top of the fifth inning. His well-hit single to center scored Brault and Frazier, who had singled and doubled, respectively. Despite a nice single from McCutchen, Pittsburgh couldn’t send either Bell or McCutchen home.
Then, in the bottom of the fifth, Jonathan Villar walked on a full count and stole second, and Orlando Arcia hit an infield single that moved Villar to third. Pittsburgh manager Clint Hurdle then made the decision to pull Brault in favor of reliever Jared Hughes. In four innings, Brault gave up five hits, allowed three runs, struck out four and walked two. Hughes got Carter to ground into a double play, but the Brewers got their final run on the scoreboard when Villar still crossed home plate.
The Pirates, in the top of the sixth inning, then faced Brewers pitcher Ben Rowen (15.00 ERA). Off Rowen, Cervelli singled to center, and Mercer hit another single to the center to score the Pirates’ catcher. That was the final run scored by either team.
The Pirates then brought in Wade LeBlanc, Juan Nicasio and Antonio Bastarto to close the night out, and, along with Hughes, in four innings, the Pirates’ relievers allowed two hits while striking out five. Closer Tony Watson was brought in for the ninth, and he struck out two and allowed no hits.
The Pirates will face the Brewers in the second game of their three-game series. First pitch is scheduled for 8:10 p.m. Chad Kuhl will be the starting pitcher for the Pirates, and Jimmy Nelson will pitch for the Brewers.
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