Pittsburgh Pirates swept by Brewers, Lose 5-3
The losing ways continued for the Pittsburgh Pirates on Thursday as the Milwaukee Brewers completed the sweep with a 5-3 win. Francisco Liriano was not very sharp in his seventh loss of the season, issuing five walks over seven innings of work. Taylor Jungmann on the other hand was in control during his six innings, only giving up one run off of three hits.
The Brewers got on the board in the fourth inning when Hernan Perez hit a sacrifice fly to bring in Jason Rogers. The Pirates answered in the fifth inning off of a fielder’s choice from the bat of Josh Harrison that scored Jordy Mercer. Milwaukee took the lead back in their half of the inning when Khris Davis hit a double to score Ryan Braun.
Liriano got into some trouble in the sixth inning when he started it off by walking Domingo Santana. Santana scored on a triple by Perez, which was followed up by a run-scoring double from Elian Herrera. Liriano was lifted before recording an out in favor of Antonio Bastardo, who escaped the inning without allowing any runs to score, thanks to Herrera and the third base coach hesitating and getting thrown out at home.
Pittsburgh started to mount a comeback in the seventh inning but ultimately fell short. The fleet-footed Michael Morse began the inning with a triple to right field and scored on a double by Mercer. A run-scoring single by Jung Ho Kang brought the Pirates within one run at 4-3, but Santana put the game away with a solo home run in the eighth inning. The loss on Thursday was the fourth in a row for the Pirates and puts them at 79-53 heading into the weekend.
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What Stood Out
Liriano, like the other starters in the series against Milwaukee, struggled and was hit hard by a Milwaukee team that has not been very good all season. What is worrisome is that the Pirates were not able to overcome the poor starts from their pitchers in this series and dropped three very winnable games that could have brought them closer to St. Louis as the season winds down. Miller Park continues to be a place that is very difficult for this team to win and it’s hard to pinpoint why the Pirates struggle so much in that ballpark.
A positive note to take away from the game is that Mercer got on base all four times he went to the plate, with two doubles and two walks. He will probably continue to see a reduced role with the team due to the emergence of Kang, but performances like this show that he can at the very least be a decent option off the bench.
Things do not get any easier for the Pirates on Friday, as they begin a three-game series with the St. Cardinals at 8:15 PM. J.A. Happ and Carlos Martinez will face off in the opening game of the series. Happ has been outstanding in his last few starts and the Pirates will certainly hope to get another good start from him on Friday. Martinez continues to be one of the stronger options in the St. Louis rotation and it will be no easy task to score off of him. To say that this game and the series in general is important is a gross understatement. A poor series in St. Louis could put the Pirates too far back in the Central in the waning weeks of the season.
Next: A look at the Pittsburgh Pirates' September reinforcements