Pirates Whiff Away Finale in Milwaukee

The Pirates dropped the final game of their four-game series in Milwaukee, 6-5.  They managed to come from behind to tie the game twice, but in the end they couldn’t overcome a weak start from Trevor Williams, a couple errors by Kevin Newman and a lot of futile flailing by the hitters.

Williams had a frustrating start, repeatedly pitching himself into jams and not quite getting out of them.  In the bottom of the second, Milwaukee loaded the bases with nobody out.  Williams nearly escaped, getting a strikeout and a force at the plate.  Eric Sogard hit a hard one-hopper that Newman knocked down and threw to first, only to have the throw clank off Colin Moran’s glove with two runs scoring.  The play could have been scored several different ways, but ended up as a single and an error on Newman, with one run earned.

In the third, Williams again didn’t quite escape trouble.  The first two runners reached on an infield hit and a hit batsman.  Williams got Justin Smoak to ground into a double play, but Ben Gamel singled to make it 3-2.

In the fourth, more frustration.  For the third straight inning, the first two hitters reached, this time on a double and a walk.  Williams got a line out, then a grounder for a force out.  But Newman, with no chance to get the batter at first, threw the ball away, letting another unearned run score.

Williams finally did it the easy way in the fifth, giving up a leadoff bomb to Keston Hiura.  That ended his day.  It’s possible to pass it off as Williams being hurt by a couple bad breaks, but the fact is he gave up seven hits and two walks in four innings plus one batter.  Williams now has a 1.54 WHIP, which just isn’t much good when the MLB average is 1.33.

On the other side of things, the Brewers went with a bullpen game, starting off with lefty Brent Suter.  He waltzed through the first eight hitters on ground outs and strikeouts.  Then he walked Cole Tucker and Erik Gonzalez tied the game for the moment with a 111 EV laser to left for his third home run of the year.

After the Brewers got three more runs off Williams, the Pirates managed to tie the game again, 5-5, getting Williams off the hook.  In the fifth, Tucker doubled and scored on an Adam Frazier single.  In the sixth, a Jacob Stallings double put runners on second and third with one out.  Gregory Polanco fanned, but Jose Osuna came through with a two-run single.

The Pirates’ bullpen held up for a while, but not long enough.  Sam Howard didn’t throw an excess of strikes, but he got through two scoreless innings.  Tyler Bashlor had a 1-2-3 seventh inning despite some hard contact.

In the eighth, though, Nik Turley gave up a leadoff double and departed with two on and two out.  A series of maneuvers ensued that left Chris Stratton facing Orlando Arcia.  Stratton lost, with Arcia singling past short to put Milwaukee up, 6-5.

The Pirates’ hitters finished up with six straight strikeouts.  That gave them 15 for the game.  They had only five hits and their supposed sluggers, Josh Bell and Polanco, combined to go 0-for-7 with five strikeouts.  They’re now 10-22.