Brewers 5, Pirates 3: Last takes

MILWAUKEE | The Milwaukee Brewers took game two of a three-game series over the Pittsburgh Pirates with a 5-3 win Saturday afternoon.

Zach Davies improves to 7-0

Davies became the first starter in Brewers franchise history to begin a season 7-0 and the second to win at least his first 7 decisions with the team in a season (CC Sabathia began his tenure with the team 9-0 in his first 13 starts after being acquired in 2008).

Like everyone else in the clubhouse though, Davies is only worried about the team accomplishments.

“I think after the season that will be a fun time to kind of reflect back on it,” Davies said on his 7-0 start. “Coming up a game short of the World Series last year I think that’s the goal for us and our focus is forward on that.”

The most impressive moment for Davies came in the third inning. The Pirates had bases loaded with no outs and Davies was able to get out of the jam allowing just one run.

“The third inning he did a great job,” manager Craig Counsell said. “Two lead-off hits, a swinging bunt, the Josh Bell up at the plate, he fell behind him 3-1 then he came back and got the sac fly and came out of the inning with one run. That just limited the damage and that’s just about keep making pitches and he kept making pitches.”

Offensive contributions across the board

Counsell mentioned how good the offense can be when everyone contributes. We witnessed that on Saturday. Milwaukee did leave 13 runners on base but the way they were able to get on base was terrific.

9 batters reached base in one way or another. The Brewers drew nine walks as a team. Orlando Arcia got the Crew going in the second with an RBI-Double scoring Travis Shaw who walked on the previous at bat. Lorenzo Cain then drove in Arcia to the tie the game at 2-2.

The Brewers were down again in the third inning before Mike Moustakas blasted his 19th home run of the season to knot it up at 3-3.

Ryan Braun picked up an RBI in the fourth with a single driving in Lorenzo Cain. Their final run came in the eighth inning on Manny Pina’s second career pinch-hit home run.

“That’s just good offense and that’s something we want to do every day,” Counsell said. “We’ve done a wonderful job of it days one and two in this series. Really the first three innings were almost a carbon copy of yesterday | forcing the starter to throw a lot of pitches, we’re already twice through the order in three innings. That’s just good offense, I think we stranded a bunch of runners today but that’s the offense you want.”

Bullpen shuts the door

The bullpen looked great. Counsell went to four different pitchers over the last four innings and got four scoreless innings out of them. Alex Claudio pitched a 1-2-3 sixth inning. Junior Guerra then came out in the seventh allowing one hit and striking out two batters.

Jeremy Jeffress dominated the eighth mowing down three straight batters. Finally, Josh Hader struck out the side to pick up his 15th save of the year.

“Good job by all of them for sure,” Counsell said. “We used four guys and they cleared their innings really nicely.”

What’s next?

The Brewers (37-28) will look for the sweep against the Pirates (30-33) on Sunday. Chase Anderson (3|13.93 ERA40 SO) will get the start for Milwaukee. Pittsburgh will counter with Steven Brault (2|15.45 ERA29 SO). First pitch is scheduled for 1:10pm.

Brewers activate Pina, place Gonzalez on IL

The Milwaukee Brewers made a few roster moves on Saturday, activating catcher Manny Pina off the 10-day injured list and placing starting pitcher Gio Gonzalez on IL.

Manager Craig Counsell described the injury to Gonzalez as “dead arm.” Zach Davies will start in Gonzalez’s place against the Pirates Sunday.

Gonzalez has been a bright spot in the starting staff since joining the team in late April. He’s posted a 2-1 record, 3.19 ERA and 7.5 K/9 in 31 innings (six starts).

Pina has been out with a hamstring injury since May 15. In his 23 games with the Brewers, he’s batting .133/.220/.244.

The Brewers beat is speculating how the roster may look moving forward.

Milwaukee overcomes early deficit to beat Pittsburgh 7-6

Powered by five home runs, the Milwaukee Brewers came back from an early deficit to beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 7-6 on Wednesday afternoon at Miller Park.

Manager Craig Counsell’s team trailed 4-0 entering the bottom of the third inning when their bats finally woke up. Centerfielder Keon Broxton drilled a solo home run, which was followed by a two-run shot from second baseman Neil Walker.

Things stayed 4-3 until the sixth inning, when third baseman Travis Shaw tied the game with his 26th homer of the year. The Pirates answered that with a run in the seventh, only to see Broxton hit another solo shot to tie things up in the bottom of the frame. After an Adam Frazier single gave Pittsburgh a 6-5 lead going to the bottom of the eighth inning, the Brewers showed off their resiliency as catcher Manny Pina hit a two-run homer that proved to be the game-winner.

The victory was the fourth straight for the Brewers, who improved to 2-43 this season when trailing after seven innings, and in doing so moved into sole possession of second place in the NL Central, 1 ½ games back of Chicago and a game in front of St. Louis.

After a rough first three innings, Jimmy Nelson settled in, going 6 1/3 innings, allowing three earned runs on eight hits while striking out seven. Anthony Swarzak picked up the win, while closer Corey Knebel earned his 24th save with a scoreless ninth inning.

Milwaukee now hits the road for nine games, starting Friday night in Colorado.

Brewers drill six home runs in an 11-3 win at Cincinnati

Milwaukee drilled the most home runs it had in a decade in an 11-3 win at Cincinnati Thursday night.

Outfielder Ryan Braun started what would turn into a home run derby for the visiting Brewers, going deep in the first inning for his second long ball in three games since coming off the disabled list. Homers from Manny Pina, Jesus Aguilar, Domingo Santana and two from Jonathan Villar followed, as the Crew banged a total of six bombs on the night and held a 10-0 lead before the Reds got on the board.

“We swung the bats really well tonight, obviously,” manager Craig Counsell said. “The first four innings we just kept coming at them.”

The Brewers bats were equal opportunity abusers, with the team getting three off of starter Homer Bailey, two on Kevin Shackelford and another off Ariel Hernandez. It was the fifth time in franchise history they’d hit at least six homers in a single game — one off the team record of seven back in 1980.

Starter Jimmy Nelson wasn’t too bad himself, making it seven innings, giving up two runs on three hits and striking out 11. It was the third time this month and fifth time this year he’s thrown a double-digit number of strikes in an outing.

“From the first inning you could tell he had really good stuff just by some of the swings,” said Counsell of Nelson, who improved to 6-4 on the year. “When we got him a lead, he got even better.”

The win was a good response to late blunders in Wednesday night’s 4-3 loss to the Reds.

“It was a tough game (on Wednesday) in a lot of ways,” Counsell said. “We keep saying it, but we keep bouncing back from those tough games.”

Milwaukee finished its six-game road trip just 2-4, but remains a game up on the Chicago Cubs in the NL Central.

The Brewers will begin their final homestand of the first half of the season on Friday night as they host the Miami Marlins.

Brewers fall for a fourth straight game, lose Braun and Pina to injury

The Milwaukee Brewers lost 4-0 to the Arizona Diamondbacks on Thursday night, and in the process they lost two more players to injury.

Outfielder Ryan Braun left with stiffness in his calf, the same one he injured earlier this season that landed him on the 10-day disabled list, and it appears this one will cost him some time as well.

“It grabbed on him a little in the first inning going after a fly ball,” manager Craig Counsell said. “He’s just at the point where he’s not able to go out there and run full speed, go after balls in the outfield. So we’re going to have to start over with it.”

Braun’s departure wasn’t the only low point. Catcher Manny Pina was hit in the elbow by a pitch and had to leave the game, though the news on him is more encouraging.

“Manny’s got a left elbow contusion,” Counsell said. “X-rays were negative. He’s just day-to-day. He was feeling OK after the game. [We] probably dodged something there.”

The injuries were all a part of another miserable night for Milwaukee, which lost for a fourth time in a row. The Brewers hitters had no answer for Arizona starter Robbie Ray, who allowed just two hits over seven innings of work and struck out nine. On the other side of the things, Zach Davies was solid, going six innings and giving up three runs but ended up taking the loss.

With the loss, Milwaukee dropped a ½ game back of Chicago at the top of the NL Central.

It’ll be the Brewers and Diamondbacks again on Friday night at Miller Park. First pitch is set for 7:10 p.m.

Piña’s go-ahead homer leads comeback effort over Mets

MILWAUKEE — The Milwaukee Brewers battled back from as many as six runs down to defeat the New York Mets 11-9 Sunday afternoon, punctuated by a three-run eighth-inning home run from catcher Manny Piña.

“I don’t know if I’ve seen anything like that,” Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. “We just kind of chipped away. They answered back. The eighth inning, that was absolutely incredible. Great at-bats by a whole bunch of guys.”

That eighth inning saw the Brewers offense come alive, scoring five runs to retake the lead for good. Once again, Milwaukee was victorious in a game started by Wily Peralta, improving the team’s record to 6-2. However, it was yet another game without a decision for Peralta, getting beat up for six runs on seven hits. He also fanned just one batter, as his winless streak dates back to Apr. 26.

Sunday’s win not only captured a series sweep of the Mets, but solidified Milwaukee’s ranking as the best team to play on Mother’s Day with a league-best .627 winning percentage.

Brewers extend win streak to four, reach milestone

CINCINNATI — The Milwaukee Brewers used a 4-for-5 day for Manny Pina and a two-run blast from Eric Thames to beat the Cincinnati Reds 10-4 and extend their winning streak to four games.

The run production broke through in the latter portions of the game, with Milwaukee able to push eight runs across the plate in the sixth and seventh innings. Most of that damage came against Blake Wood and Michael Lorenzen, whose respective ERAs rose to 6.75 and 5.14 on the year. The Brewers bullpen, on the other hand, allowed zero earned runs. The only run that scored was Arismendy Alcantara on a throwing error from Hernan Perez.

The victory not only moved Milwaukee up to third place in the National League Central, but put the Brewers (6-5) above .500 for the first time since late in the 2014 season.

Tommy Milone pitched under a bit of early pressure with the Brewers trailing 3-0, but he maintained his composure to throw five innings while striking out three. Those three runs allowed were the only marks against him on the evening.