Major League Baseball

Brewers look for sweep against sinking Pirates

mlb9PIRATES (30-33) AT BREWERS (37-28)
2:10 p.m. ET; FSWI, ATTSN-PT, MLB.TV

The wins continue to come for the Milwaukee Brewers when they face the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Another victory will put Milwaukee 10 games over .500 for the first time this season and the Brewers get a chance Sunday afternoon when they host the Pirates and go for the three-game sweep.

Milwaukee enters Sunday with eight wins in its last 12 games to improve to 37-28. Five of those wins are against the Pirates, whom they have scored 46 runs and hit 16 of their 112 homers against.

Though Milwaukee has topped double-digits in three of the victories, the other two wins were tight games. The Brewers concluded last weekend’s four-game series in Pittsburgh with a 4-2 victory and secured a series victory Saturday afternoon with a 5-3 win.

On Saturday, Ryan Braun hit a tiebreaking single in the fourth inning and Mike Moustakas homered while Milwaukee drew nine walks and had several lengthy at-bats.

“That’s just good offense and that’s something we want to do every day,” Milwaukee manager Craig Counsell said. “We’ve done a wonderful job of it days one and two of this series. Just tough at-bats.”

Pittsburgh’s inability to beat Milwaukee is part of a 6-13 slide that has dropped them three games under .500 at 30-33. In each of the last two games starting pitchers Rookie Davis and Jordan Lyles have lasted only three innings, marking the sixth time in the last 12 games a Pirates starter has recorded 12 outs or fewer.

Pittsburgh has done enough offensively by scoring 33 times in six games against Milwaukee, though Josh Bell is 4-for-25 in the season series after hitting a sacrifice fly Saturday. Bryan Reynolds is batting .393 (24-for-61) during his 16-game hitting streak and Colin Moran has five of his nine homers in his last 10 games.

The Pirates are hitting .283 in the six games against Milwaukee but the respectable batting average is negated by a 7.23 ERA in those games.

“You’ve got to figure it out,” Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said after his team held Milwaukee to 2-for-14 with runners in scoring position and stranded 13 runners. “We’ve been able to figure it out. You hope that collateral damage doesn’t come from it down the road.”

Pittsburgh is 9-23 in games when its starters last fewer than six innings and is hoping to get some distance from Steven Brault, who is making his fifth start and 11th appearance Sunday. He last started Tuesday when he allowed one earned run in four innings but needed 93 pitches to get through his no-decision against Atlanta.

Brault is 1-0 with a 4.76 ERA as a starting pitcher this season and 3-4 with a 4.76 ERA in 20 career starts. He is 1-2 with a 4.28 ERA in 11 career appearances (five starts) against Milwaukee. His last start against the Brewers was Sept. 20, 2017, when he pitched five innings in a no-decision.

After winning the first two games of the series with Brandon Woodruff and Zach Davies on the mound, Milwaukee will start Chase Anderson. Anderson is 2-1 with a 3.71 ERA as a starting pitcher this season but allowed four runs on seven hits in four innings of a 16-0 loss to the Miami Marlins on Tuesday.

Anderson is 8-4 with a 3.61 ERA in 15 career starts against the Pirates. He held Pittsburgh to two runs on six hits in five innings in Milwaukee’s 11-5 win on May 30.

–Field Level Media

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