Pirates starter Johan Oviedo went seven scoreless innings, allowing just two hits as Pittsburgh split their series with the Milwaukee Brewers behind a 4-1 win. The Pirates (50-61) relied on the long ball once again, with all four of their runs coming via homer.
Making his first big league start in nearly four months following his recovery from a shoulder strain, Brewers’ right-hander Brandon Woodruff struck out five of the first six Pirates he faced.
The seventh batter, rookie catcher Endy Rodríguez, lifted a payoff pitch over the right field wall, opening a 1-0 lead.
Oviedo allowed a one-out walk in the bottom of the third to second baseman Brice Turang. Turang immediately stole second, but Oviedo froze him there with consecutive strikeouts, the second of Christian Yelich.
Connor Joe golfed a slider to the left field corner to lead off the fourth, giving Pittsburgh a 2-0 lead.
Rodríguez earned a bunt single in the fifth, testing Woodruff’s defense after the four-month layoff.
Brewers’ catcher William Contreras doubled to center in the sixth. Jack Suwinski and Josh Palacios both stumbled trying to corral the ball, giving Contreras time to try for third. Suwinski recovered in time to throw to shortstop Liover Peguero, who relayed to Ke’Bryan Hayes to tag Contreras out stretching.
Bryan Reynolds pinch-hit for Jared Triolo in the seventh, drilling a two-run homer to left-center to make it 4-0.
The Pirates put a pair of runners in scoring position in the ninth, but couldn’t tack on to their lead.
Carmen Mlodzinski took over for the ninth, allowing two baserunners before recording an out.
A groundout and a strikeout put him one out from the save, but Hayes airmailed a throw to allow a run to score.
Mlodzinski fought back to force a flyout and end the game.
Bryan Reynolds’ seventh-inning pinch-hit homer gave the Pirates much needed breathing room after close games in consecutive nights leading into Sunday.
Star of the Game:
Oviedo pitched seven scoreless innings, striking out six and allowing just two hits.
Stat of Interest:
Rodríguez hit the second homer of his career: the first also came in a shutout he caught, July 22 in Anaheim.
The Pirates have won or tied their last four series.
Oviedo allowed just two earned runs over his last 20 innings, striking out 16 batters.
Reynolds’ pinch-hit homer marked the second of his career.
Hayes’ error marked his fourth in 70 games this season.
The Pirates host a four game series with the MLB-best Atlanta Braves. Their series with Atlanta begins at 7:05pm Monday. Pittsburgh looks to send Osvaldo Bido (2-2, 5.18 ERA, 31 SO) to the mound. Atlanta counters with righty Spencer Strider (12-3, 3.61 ERA, 208 SO).