There was more to Sunday afternoon’s 4-2 loss by the Pittsburgh Pirates to the Milwaukee Brewers. Not only were the Pirates swept this weekend, but they never had a lead at any point.
Additionally, the Pirates have lost nine straight contests to the Brewers at Miller Park and are 17-64 there since the 2007 season.
In each of the three games this series, the Brewers scored first.
Friday and Saturday, the Brewers hit two-run home runs in the opening inning, but this time the run was scored in more of an unconventional way.
Pirates starter Francisco Liriano (6-11) got the first two outs rather routinely but allowed a single to Hernan Perez.
When Chris Carter was hitting, Perez stole his 17th base of the season. Pirates catcher Eric Fryer had a throwing error though, and Perez came all the way around to score.
The Pirates are now 15-32 this season when an opponent scores first.
Liriano was not yet out of the inning though as he walked Carter, surrendered a single to Scooter Gennett and walked Martin Maldonado before striking out Kirk Nieuwenhius to strand the bases loaded.
Still the damage was done as Liriano threw an extra 15 pitches.
The Brewers added a second run when Keon Broxton hit his second home run of the season over the right-center field wall.
Gregory Polanco answered with a solo home run of his own in the third inning off Brewers starter Matt Garza. It was his 15th homer of the season and second consecutive game with a home run.
Quickly the Brewers reply came as Perez scored when Maldonado grounded into a double play.
The Pirates cut their deficit to one run when John Jaso grounded into a force play that allowed Jordy Mercer to score. Mercer led off the inning with a single.
Carter allowed the Brewers to have an insurance run when he hit his 24th home run of the season, also off Liriano.
Liriano needed 91 pitches to get through five innings allowing the four runs on six hits.
The Pirates managed five hits on the afternoon and Jeremy Jeffress picked up his 27th save of the season while seeing the mound for a fourth consecutive day.
After an off day Monday, the Pirates will begin a three-game road series against the Atlanta Braves.
Pirates manager Clint Hurdle revealed that the rotation will be Gerrit Cole pitching Tuesday, Jeff Locke leaving the bullpen to start Wednesday and Ryan Vogelsong being activated from the disabled list to start Thursday.
Cole (6-6, 2.78 ERA) will face Mike Foltynewicz (4-4, 4.30 ERA). Cole is 2-0 with a 1.71 ERA in three career starts against the Braves.
Photo credit: @Pirates