In what was mostly a very well-pitched game by both sides, a pitching blunder was the difference between the Pittsburgh Pirates and Milwaukee Brewers on Tuesday night.
After the Bucs loaded the bases with two outs in the eighth inning against Brewers reliever Brad Boxberger, Rodolfo Castro drew a four-pitch walk to push ahead the go-ahead run. That snapped a 2-2 tie and the Pirates went on to a 4-2 win at American Family Field in Milwaukee.
In the ninth, Oneil Cruz doubled to left-center to give the Pirates an insurance run. It was the second of two hits and two RBIs for Cruz on the night.
Chase De Jong picked up his first career save after recording the final five outs to seal the victory.
The Brewers had runners on the corners with nobody out in the ninth, but De Jong was able to escape unscathed. The middle infield duo of Cruz and Castro combined to turn a nifty game-ending double play.
After Brewers starter Jason Alexander struck out five of the first seven Pirates’ batters, Tucupita Marcano drew a walk and Jason Delay was hit by a pitch in the third inning. Cruz followed with an RBI single to right field to put the Bucs ahead 1-0.
Outside of that, the Bucs had little answer for Alexander, who limited the Pirates to the lone run across five innings. He yielded just three hits, walked one and sat down six on strikes.
Kolten Wong put the Brewers ahead 2-1 in the home half of the inning with a two-run homer to right field.
Michael Chavis tied it in the seventh inning by hitting a solo home run to left to make it 2-all. It was the 14th homer of the season for Chavis and one of his two hits in the game.
The Wong home run was the only time the Brewers were able to score off of Mitch Keller, who set a career-high with 10 strikeouts in six innings. Keller limited Milwaukee to four hits and walked a pair.
For the second straight night, Bryan Reynolds recorded a pair of singles and later reached on an intentional walk.
The Bucs will try to win the three-game series on Wednesday afternoon.
The Pirates have yet to announce a starting pitcher. Freddy Peralta (4-3, 3.69 ERA) will be on the mound for Milwaukee.
- More Highs For Keller: In addition to setting a career-high with 10 strikeouts, Keller also set a career-high for pitches thrown with 105. It’s just the second time in his career and first time this year that Keller has reached 100 pitches. He threw exactly 100 in August 2021 against the Reds. The right-hander also registered 14 swings and misses, the most he’s had in a game since recording 16 in 2019.
- Cruz Coming Along: With his RBI single in his second at-bat, Cruz extended his hitting streak to four games. Over those four games, Cruz is 5 for 16 (.313) with a double, a triple, a home run, five RBIs and a pair of walks. In 10 games since Aug, 18, Cruz has collected hits in eight of those while posting an OPS of .864.
- Nice Pen Work: After it was the bullpen who blew the lead in Monday’s loss to the Brewers, the duo of De Jong and Manny Bañuelos combined to blank Milwaukee across the final three frames of the game.