Stop me if you have heard this before, the Pittsburgh Pirates had a rough go of things while losing in Milwaukee on Monday night
After taking three of four at home from the Washington Nationals the Pittsburgh Pirates kicked off a three-game series in Milwaukee against the Brewers on Monday night. Unfortunately for the Pirates, as their fans have witnessed plenty of times in the last 15 years it was a difficult night at the house of horrors in Milwaukee.
After falling in an early 1-0 hole the Pittsburgh Pirates rallied to tie the game in the 4th inning. Things would then quickly go off the rails, leading to a 6-1 loss. Following the loss, the Pirates are now 5-5 on the season.
4th inning proves to the Pittsburgh’s undoing
Zach Thompson started for the Pirates and looked strong through the game’s first 3 innings. While he allowed back-to-back singles to start the game before uncorking a wild pitch and issuing a walk to find himself in a 1-0 hole, he bounced back to strikeout the next 3 batters.
Thompson then retired the Brewers in order in the 2nd inning and stranded a pair of base runners in the 3rd inning. Then in the 4th inning the wheels completely fell off for the tall righty.
After retiring the first batter of the inning Thompson allowed a single, a double, and issued a walk. Thompson then surrendered a sacrifice fly to Kolten Wong, making the score 2-1 Brewers, and it appeared he may be able to wiggle off the hook only allowing the single run.
Well, after walking Willy Adames, the biggest hit of the game occurred. Former NL MVP Christian Yelich launched a Thompson pitch over the wall in right-center field. Yelich’s grand slam proved to be the biggest hit of the game as it extended Milwaukee’s lead to 6-1.
Outside of the 4th inning it was an evenly played game. It was also a good night for the Pirate pitching staff outside of Thompson’s 4th inning. However, all 9 innings count and the 4th was the decisive one on Monday night.
First career MLB home run for Diego Castillo
Since the start of spring training Diego Castillo has been a major story for the Pittsburgh Pirates. Castillo led the team in Grapefruit League home runs with 6 and is off to a hot start at the plate offensively this season.
One of the few highlights of Monday night’s loss was Castillo hitting his first MLB home run. The home run came one pitch after he swung at a pitch that hit him just above the knee. Castillo’s opposite field blast tied the game at 1 in the 4th inning.
His home run was one of a pair of hits recorded by Castillo. The 24-year-old infielder is now hitting for a .310/.310/.448 slash line through his first 29 MLB plate appearances. While it has been jsut 29 PAs Castillo certainly looks like a hitter who belongs in the majors.
More strong bullpen work
After Thompson’s day ended Dillon Peters was summoned from the Pirate bullpen. Through the first 10 games of the season the bullpen, specifically the long/middle relief, has been a strength for the Pittsburgh Pirates, that continued with this outing from Peters.
Peters walked a batter, did not allow a hit and struck out 3 in 3 scoreless innings pitched. On the season Peters has not allowed a hit while walking 4 and striking out 5 in 7 scoreless innings pitched.
Fellow lefty Aaron Fletcher followed Peters. Fletcher retired the Brewers in order in the bottom of the 8th inning. Fletcher recorded a pair of strikeouts in his lone inning pitched and has now pitched three consecutive scoreless outings after struggling in his appearance on Opening Day in St. Louis.
The second game of the series is scheduled for 7:40 PM ET on Tuesday night. JT Brubaker (9.82 ERA, 5.83 FIP) is scheduled to start for the Pirates while defending NL Cy Young Award winner Corbin Burnes (2.25 ERA, 3.43 FIP) is scheduled to start for the Brew Crew.