Big inning costs Brewers as they fall to Pirates, 12-2

MLB: Pittsburgh Pirates at Milwaukee Brewers
Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Buccos hit five home runs in blowout

Box Score

The Milwaukee Brewers and Pittsburgh Pirates looked to be on their way to a close, fun baseball game this afternoon, but when Brewers starter Colin Rea suffered some horrible luck in an inning that quickly spiraled out of control, the Pirates were on their way to an easy victory.

Rea got off to a nice start this evening, when he retired the Pirates in order in the first (two of which were on, we’ll say, “close” third strike calls). Pirates opener Josh Fleming had issues with control in the first inning: Jackson Chourio got things started with a walk but he was erased on a William Contreras double play. Fleming then walked Christian Yelich and Willy Adames back-to-back with two outs, and they moved to second and third on a double steal, but Blake Perkins popped out, and despite three walks, the Brewers were unable to score.

An Adames error on a Jack Suwinski ground ball prevented Rea from getting his second straight three-up, three-down inning in the second, and Suwinski moved into scoring position with two outs by stealing second. But Joey Bart hit a fly ball to Chourio in right field, and Rea was through two no-hit innings.

As was expected when he was activated off the IL earlier today, Quinn Priester (who is a starter) took over for Fleming in the second inning. Priester got the first two he faced before walking Eric Haase, but Vinny Capra struck out and the inning ended.

The strike zone tightened up a bit on Rea in the top of the third and he issued a one-out walk to Michael A. Taylor, Pittsburgh’s number nine hitter. He’d come to regret it: with two outs, Bryan Reynolds, one of the Pirates’ two All-Stars, got hold of a fastball that wasn’t quite high enough and hit it into Milwaukee’s bullpen to give the Pirates a 2-0 lead.

Chourio led off the bottom of the third by getting on base for the second time—the play was officially ruled a throwing error by Pirates shortstop Jared Triolo, though it really looked like it should have been ruled an infield hit. Chourio then advanced to second on a passed ball, and Contreras immediately paid it off when he smashed a double into the right field gap (108-mph exit velocity to the opposite field!) which scored Chourio and made it a 2-1 ballgame.

Yelich then walked to put two on with nobody out, and the Brewers were looking to take advantage of Priester, who hadn’t appeared in a big league game in more than a month. Adames struck out looking (swing the bat, Willy), but Perkins snuck a single through the right side, and despite a close-ish play at home, Contreras got in there to tie the game at two. Hoskins grounded into a fielder’s choice and Brice Turang grounded out to end the inning, but Milwaukee had evened it up heading into the fourth.

Nick Gonzales drew a walk to start the fourth, but Rea got the next three to put up a zero. Priester settled in in the fourth, and struck out Haase and Capra and induced a Chourio groundout. Rea also pitched a quick top of the fifth, and Priester worked around a one-out Yelich single to keep it tied in the bottom of the inning.

Reynolds led off the sixth with his second hit, a bit of a cheapie out to shallow left, and Rowdy Tellez followed with a ground ball that just got by Hoskins at first base. Rea hadn’t given up a ball that was hit harder than 86 mph, but there were runners on the corners with nobody out. Pittsburgh took the lead when Gonzales hit a hard grounder at Capra, a fairly difficult play that was initially ruled an error and was later changed to a hit but could easily have been a double play. Ke’Bryan Hayes followed with another tough-luck base hit, a 72-mph blooper to center field, and the bases were loaded with nobody out. Rea, who’d been efficient tonight, stayed in to face Suwinski. He got ahead of him 0-2 but Suwinski worked the count full, and then lined a single into right that scored a second run. With the bases still loaded, Pat Murphy was forced into a move and brought in Bryse Wilson.

Things went sideways quickly. Wilson got ahead of Bart but couldn’t put him away, and Bart got a hanging curveball that he blasted into the Brewer bullpen for a grand slam. So much for the bloopers. Pittsburgh took a six-run lead. Wilson got the next three without any trouble. It seemed so easy!

It was an incredibly unlucky sixth inning and no favors from his defense that undid Rea, who looked about the same tonight as he has all year but ended up being charged with seven runs, all earned. This is the type of start that Rea (and the fanbase) should just set aside and move on from. It didn’t tell us much. It was just a drag. That’s baseball.

Leading off the bottom of the sixth, Hoskins was given a reprieve when he watched what seemed an obvious third strike go by, and on the next pitch he lined a double into the left field corner. On the next pitch, Turang grounded out but advanced Hoskins to third, but Haase and Capra struck out, and the Brewers spoiled Hoskins’ leadoff double.

Hoby Milner was the next pitcher out of the bullpen for the Brewers—notable perhaps because Wilson only threw 18 pitches and one inning, which isn’t how he’s typically been used as a Brewer. In any case, Milner struck out Reynolds but got too much of the plate with a one-out sinker to Tellez, who hit his 100th career home run to make it 9-2.

Milwaukee went down in order in the seventh, and Suwinski led off the eighth with a home run off of Joel Payamps, and a few batters later, with two outs and a runner on, Joshua Palacios hit another one. and Payamps’ struggles with the home run ball continued: he has now given up six home runs in 32 1/3 innings on the season, a rate of 1.7 per nine innings.

The most notable thing to happen over the rest of the game was that Jake Bauers pitched for the third time this season and became the first Brewer pitcher of the night to not allow a run. He has a 0.00 ERA in three innings this year.

The Brewers will rue their early missed opportunities in this one: they had a great chance to put at least a run or two on the opener, Fleming, and could have scored more than the two they got in the third. But Priester locked in after that and dominated the Brewers for another four innings. It may not have mattered, as the Pirates hit five home runs in this game (the most that the Brewers have given up in a game all season), but things certainly could have unfolded differently.

The loss tonight means that the Brewers’ lead over the Cardinals has shrunk to just four games, the smallest their lead in the division has been since May 28. They’ll look to bounce back tomorrow night at 7:10 p.m, with Tobias Myers on the hill versus Martín Pérez.

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Title: Big inning costs Brewers as they fall to Pirates, 12-2
Author: paul_dietrich

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