Pirates swept by Brewers, lose sixth straight meeting
MILWAUKEE (AP) — The Pittsburgh Pirates can’t figure out the woeful Milwaukee Brewers.
The Pirates hoped to gain ground in the Central Division title chase upon arriving in Milwaukee. Instead, they were swept in the series and have now lost six straight to the Brewers.
“Our focus needs to be on playing better. We got out-pitched, out-hit and out-defended three straight games,” Pittsburgh manager Clint Hurdle said.
Taylor Jungmann pitched six strong innings in the Brewers’ 5-3 win over the Pirates on Thursday night.
“It seems like they always play good against us every time we come here,” Pirates second baseman Jordy Mercer said. “I don’t know what it is. It is not like we played bad. You have to give them credit too. They came out swinging and they didn’t miss pitches.”
The three losses at Miller Park dropped the Pirates 6 1/2 games behind the NL Central-leading Cardinals. Pittsburgh opens a three-game series at St. Louis on Friday night.
“We’re a good bounce-back team. I think the last time we got swept here we went on a tear for a month and a half,” Mercer said. “Nobody is really panicking at all.”
Domingo Santana homered for Milwaukee, which has outscored the Pirates 39-18 during its run. The fourth-place Brewers play four times at PNC Park next week.
Jungmann (9-5) gave up one run and three hits. In three starts against the Pirates this season, he is 3-0 with a 1.35 ERA in 20 innings.
Francisco Rodriguez closed for his 33rd save in 34 chances.
Francisco Liriano (9-7) gave up an RBI double to Khris Davis in the fifth that gave Milwaukee a 2-1 lead.
“I just got behind in the count a lot and walked too many guys,” Liriano said.
Milwaukee added two more runs in the sixth, the first on Hernan Perez’s triple. Elian Herrera followed with what initially was ruled a two-run homer, but was changed to a double after a review.
Mercer and Jung Ho Kang drove in runs in the seventh to cut the Brewers’ lead to 4-3.
Santana hit a leadoff home run in the eighth.
The Brewers honored Pirates third baseman Aramis Ramirez before the game. Ramirez, who is retiring at season’s end, played for the Brewers from 2012 until being traded to Pittsburgh in July. The Brewers presented Ramirez with third base from his final game as a Brewer and a plaque listing his accomplishments.
Pirates: OF Andrew McCutchen was given the night off due to what manager Clint Hurdle described as left knee soreness. “We’ve been talking about a day off for the past four or five days,” Hurdle said. McCutchen later said in the clubhouse that he has a sore Achilles. He is expected to play Friday at St. Louis. ... 1B/OF Corey Hart has been returned from his rehabilitation assignment with Triple-A Indianapolis. He will remain on the major league disabled list for the remainder of the season and has returned home to Arizona.
Brewers: Jungmann was hit on his pitching hand by a hard grounder off the bat of former teammate Aramis Ramirez in the sixth. The right-hander stayed in the game after being checked by trainers. ... RHP Tyler Cravy, who’s on the 15-day disabled list with a right elbow impingement, had his bullpen session rescheduled from Thursday to Friday. He could be activated by Monday, manager Craig Counsell said.
Pirates: J.A. Happ (3-1, 1.98 ERA) will pitch the opener of a three-game series at St. Louis. Happ is 1-8 with a 6.79 ERA, including six consecutive losses, in 10 career starts against the Cardinals. He hasn’t faced St. Louis since June 7, 2012, as a member of the Houston Astros.
Brewers: Matt Garza (6-14, 5.56 ERA) will be on the mound as Milwaukee opens a four-game series at Cincinnati. He is 4-3 with a 4.71 ERA in 11 career starts against the Reds, including 1-0 with a 7.84 ERA in two starts this season.