The Pittsburgh Pirates were swept for the sixth time this season after losing 5-3 Thursday night to the Milwaukee Brewers. This is the second second-half sweep for the Brewers against the Pirates.
This is the first time since June 20, that the Pirates have lost a game started by Francisco Liriano. Liriano [9-7] allowed four runs on seven hits in five innings.
Domingo Santana recorded a double and Jason Rogers, who walked in the at-bat prior, advanced to third base. Hernan Perez hit a sacrifice fly on the first pitch to place the Brewers in front.
The Pirates scored half an inning later. Jordy Mercer recorded his 15th double of the season and advanced to third base on a Liriano fly out. Josh Harrison then grounded out, which allowed Mercer to cross home plate.
In response to the Pirates tying the game, the Brewers struck shortly after when Khris Davis doubled in Ryan Braun. The Brewers would add another two runs in the sixth inning. Perez recorded his second triple of the season batting in a run Elian Herrera doubled him in. Initially, the play was ruled a home run, however a crew chief challenge found a different result from the original call.
The Pirates flirted with an eighth inning cycle as a team. Pinch-hitter Michael Morse started the rally with a triple, his first since Aug. 25, 2014 against the Colorado Rockies. Mercer added his second double of the game and 16th of the season. He would score when the next batter, pinch-hitter Jung Ho Kang, singled. This would be as close as the Pirates would get for the rest of the night.
With Radhames Liz pitching in the eighth inning, Santana added an important insurance run with his fourth home run of the season.
Francisco Rodriguez earned his 33rd save of the season in relief of Taylor Jungmann [9-5].
Following the sweep, the Pirates will play three key road games against the St. Louis Cardinals. Friday J.A. Happ [3-1 1.98 ERA] will face Carlos Martinez [13-6 2.91 ERA]. Happ is 1-8 with a 6.79 ERA in 10 career starts against the Cardinals. Martinez who was pushed back from his start earlier in the week will start in place of Lance Lynn.
Of note: Aramis Ramirez was honored prior to the game by the Brewers for his contributions with the team. He was presented with a plaque and the third base bag the night of his last start at third base with the Brewers… Corey Hart will not join the club as a September call-up and will remain on the 60-day disabled list all but certainly ending his time with the team. The Pirates stated that Hart flew back to his Arizona home.
Photo credit: Jeff Haynes/Getty Images