Brewers wait out delay, unload on Pirates
PITTSBURGH — Doing nothing against Pittsburgh Pirates starter Ivan Nova, the Milwaukee Brewers’ offense got to reset after a delay of 2 hours 14 minutes sent the right-hander to the bench and took full advantage.
Travis Shaw, Mike Moustakas and Erik Kratz homered during a six-run sixth inning as the Brewers rallied for a 7-3 victory over the Pirates on Friday night and gained ground in the NL Central race.
The Brewers drew within 1½ games of the division-leading Chicago Cubs, who lost 10-4 to the crosstown White Sox. Milwaukee leads the NL wild card standings by three games over the St. Louis Cardinals.
Shaw’s two-run home run, his 30th, followed Jesus Aguilar’s RBI double and put the Brewers ahead 4-3. After Ryan Braun walked, Moustakas and Kratz hit back-to-back homers. Kratz drive cleared the 410-foot sign in left-center, the deepest part of the park.
Pittsburgh had its five-game winning streak end. The Pirates fell 5½ games behind the Colorado Rockies for the second NL wild card.
Keon Broxton added a solo homer in the eighth for the Brewers.
Corbin Burnes (6-0) pitched a scoreless fifth. Edgar Santana (3-4) allowed three runs in the sixth and failed to retire any of the three batters he faced.
The Pirates’ Corey Dickerson hit a two-run homer in the fourth — his 12th of the season but first since July 22, a span of 147 plate appearances — and tripled.
Josh Bell’s homer gave Pittsburgh a 1-0 the lead in the first and Braun tied it with an RBI single in the fourth.
Neither starting pitcher returned after the delay in the top of the fifth. Jhoulys Chacin allowed three runs in four innings while remaining winless in six starts against Pittsburgh this season, and Nova gave up one run in 4 1/3 innings.
Moustakas hit .208 with one home run in his previous 14 games. He hit .277 in August after the Brewers acquired him from the Kansas City Royals.
Mayfield a Yeli fan
Like many other sports fans, Cleveland Browns starting quarterback Baker Mayfield has an opinion on who should get the nod for the NL Most Valuable Player.
Unlike many other sports fans, he has a platform to let a lot of people know what he thinks. After leading the Browns to a comeback victory on Thursday, he gave a shout-out to Yelich.
“Christian Yelich for NL MVP,” he said to close his postgame news conference, and that came after he walked into the stadium wearing an autographed Yelich jersey.
Mayfield and Yelich became friends in the offseason, when Mayfield trained for the NFL Combine at the same facility Yelich uses in California. Yelich and the Brewers got to Pittsburgh in time to watch Mayfield’s big game unfold.
“They played a great game yesterday, so it was fun to watch,” Yelich said. “We had a lot of guys in the clubhouse rooting for the Browns yesterday. Obviously it’s a big victory for the Browns and the city of Cleveland. It was fun to watch.”
Yelich said he got a heads-up that Mayfield was going to wear his jersey, one that Mayfield had bought and asked Yelich to autograph while they were training. But nobody expected Mayfield to have a postgame press conference after he started the game as Cleveland’s backup.
“He came in one day wearing it,” Yelich said. “He asked me if I would sign it for him. Obviously, I did, and he ended up wearing it to the game. You don’t really think it was going to go down how it went down [Thursday], so it was a really cool moment for him getting that win for the Browns and the city of Cleveland.”
While Yelich appreciated the gesture, he’s not sure how much pull Mayfield has in the proper circles to influence the vote. Members of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America vote for MVP.
“We’ll see,” he said. “That’s up to you guys. In all honesty, we’re trying to just see if we can win as many games as we can down the stretch here, these last nine. I feel like everything else just takes care of itself. Obviously, it’s a cool moment and much appreciated.”
In addition to being an MVP candidate, Yelich led the NL with a .319 batting average, a .569 slugging percentage and a .954 OPS entering Friday, but he remains more focused on the team goals at hand.
“When our team’s in it and we have so much at stake every night, it’s easier to separate the two,” he said. “In your head, you don’t have it carry over because we’re so focused on our team goals, what we have to go out and accomplish as a team, and what we’re on the brink of — being able to clinch a postseason spot.”
Cain still hurting
Center fielder Lorenzo Cain was not in the Brewers’ lineup for the second consecutive game after leaving Tuesday’s game with an intercostal strain in his rib cage.
Cain remains day to day, and with an injury that has such a pronounced impact on a player’s swing and that has an opportunity for continued aggravation, the Brewers are being conservative with his return.