Andrew McCutchen provided all of the offense the Pittsburgh Pirates needed in a 10-inning 3-2 road victory against the Milwaukee Brewers Friday night.
This win snapped a nine-game losing streak dating back to July 17, 2015 for the Pirates at Miller Park. Miller Park has not been friendly to the Pirates, who are 41-88 at a place which can be called unfriendly confines.
McCutchen started with a first-inning solo home run on a two-out, 3-2 slider over the left field wall. This home run, McCutchen’s 18th of the season, came off Brewers starter Wily Peralta.
In the third inning, McCutchen recorded another two-out hit off Peralta, this one being a single that scored Starling Marte. Marte singled and then stole his career-high 42nd base of the season before coming around to score on the single.
For six innings, Chad Kuhl was able to pound the lower half of the strike zone, and the Brewers had two hits to show for it. Just about everything else was beat into the ground, as Kuhl had 11 ground ball outs and no fly ball outs in this outing.
Then came the seventh inning.
Kuhl was able to get Hernan Perez on a ground ball out but a double allowed to Chris Carter, Kirk Nieuwenhuis’s 12th home run of the season and another Brewers double from Orlando Arcia ended his night.
With the Perez out, Kuhl earned his longest major league outing to date.
Kuhl has been a model of consistency pitching at least six innings in what is now his past five outings. This includes his start against the Washington Nationals prior to him being sent down to Triple-A Indianapolis.
In these last five outings, Kuhl has allowed two earned runs or fewer. Still, his outing resulted in a no decision. Felipe Rivero got the final two outs of the seventh inning.
Neftali Feliz came into his eighth-inning appearance with a 2.45 ERA in his last 27 games but in the past two appearances, he had been scored on.
This time around, Feliz struck out the side, including Ryan Braun.
Antonio Bastardo (2-0) pitched the ninth and despite two strikeouts, allowed pinch-hitter Keon Broxton to get into scoring position after a walk and stolen base. Bastardo was able to get Manny Pina to fly out to extend the game into extra innings, a place familiar to the Pirates seeing as they have been there nine times this season.
Brewers reliever Carlos Torres (2-3) started the 10th inning by allowing a single to pinch-hitter John Jaso. Josh Harrison used a sacrifice bunt to advance Jaso to second base and a Starling Marte ground out allowed for McCutchen to come up with a runner on third base.
McCutchen wasted no time swinging on a first-pitch four-seam fastball for a single, which put the Pirates in front.
Pirates closer Tony Watson came in for the save and had a 1-2-3 inning including a game-ending strikeout of Scooter Gennett who looked at strike three. This was Watson’s eighth save of the season.
Friday night is the second game of this four-game series. Ryan Vogelsong (2-3, 2.98 ERA) will face Matt Garza (4-5, 5.27 ERA). Vogelsong is 5-3 with a 4.67 ERA in 16 career appearances (10 starts) against the Brewers.