For the second straight game, it was a pitcher’s duel at PNC Park, and again, Milwaukee came out on top. Backed by Andrew McCutchen, the Brewers used a ninth inning rally to defeat the Pirates 3-2.
Andrew McCutchen greeted Jose Quintana on the first pitch of the game with a home run to left field, McCutchen’s first of the season. After the home run, Quintana struck out the next three to end the inning.
McCutchen delivered again in the ninth. With the bases loaded and Milwaukee trailing by a run, McCutchen lined a two-run single just over the glove of the leaping Josh VanMeter to give the Brewers a 3-2 lead. The man who spent nine seasons with the Pirates drove in all three runs for the Brewers, giving Milwaukee the sweep.
Quintana was able to put the leadoff homer and have his best start of the season. He worked five innings, allowed just the one run on four hits. He punched out nine and didn’t issue a single free pass and kept the Pirates in position to win.
Q putting up Ks. pic.twitter.com/UNBlqG5Gt2
— Pittsburgh Pirates (@Pirates) April 28, 2022
Freddy Peralta was excellent on the mound for the Brewers, blanking the Pirates over six innings on just three hits. It’s the second game in a row the Pirates have struggled at the plate.
The Pirates finally woke up at the plate in the seventh and cashed in for a pair of runs. Ben Gamel led off the inning with a single, and Michael Chavis followed with a ground-rule double. The two-bagger snapped an 0 for 18 skid for Chavis.
Jack Suwinski picked up his first career RBI on a base hit to tie the game, and Diego Castillo put the Bucs ahead with a sacrifice fly one batter later.
The Pirates have now dropped eight straight to the Brewers, including the first six against them to begin 2022.
The Pirates will host the Padres for a three-game series beginning Friday night. Zach Thompson (0-2, 10.80 ERA) will look to bounce back after a rough outing against the Cubs. Yu Darvish (1-1, 4.43 ERA) will be on the bump for San Diego.
- Way To Settle In: Quintana has been the Pirates most reliable starter so far on the young season and that certainly continued again on Thursday. His afternoon got off to a bad start, but he quickly settled in and kept the Pirates in a good position to try and win the game. His nine strikeouts were the most he had in a game since he recorded 14 in Aug. 2019 when he was a member of the Chicago Cubs. Almost as impressive as the nine strikeouts through five innings was the left-hander’s solid control, as he didn’t walk a single batter.
- Why They Signed Him: The purpose of the signing of Quintana was to add a veteran to help bring a young rotation some stability. Thanks to his strong start, Quintana lowered his ERA on the season to 3.32, by far the best ERA in the Pirates rotation. Of the other four who have made multiple starts, only Bryse Wilson (4.70 ERA) has an ERA under 6.00. The Pirates will need to see more consistency from the rotation if they want to stay competitive, and Quintana has offered that.
- Who Says You Need To Hit?: Of the Pirates last seven runs scored, only one of them has come as the result of a hit. It could have been all seven, but Suwinski’s RBI was originally ruled an error, but later changed to a hit. Their one run in Wednesday’s game was on a terrific double play turned by Kolten Wong. They scored a run in the ninth inning on Tuesday after a fielder’s choice. In the eighth inning of that game, Vogelbach recorded an RBI-groundout, and Ke’Bryan Hayes hit a sacrifice fly. Chavis had a sacrifice an inning earlier in that same contest. Kevin Newman’s fifth-inning two-RBI single on Tuesday was the last Pirates hit that resulted in a run.