The Pirates got an excellent start from J.T. Brubaker and a couple of bombs to win in their first 2021 game in that awful place in Milwaukee. The final was 6-1.
The Bucs need some players to step forward this year and, among the pitchers, Brubaker is starting to look like a top candidate. He cruised through the first two innings on 14 pitches, which is about what it takes some of the team’s starters per out. The third was iffy as he hit two to load the bases with two outs, but he struck out Travis Shaw in a nine-pitch at-bat.
The HBP was the one real glitch in Brubaker’s start; hopefully there won’t be any foolishness tomorrow. He plunked three, including Keston Hiura twice, but he didn’t walk anybody. The one run came on a double in the fifth. Brubaker came back in the sixth to fan the last two hitters, with the other out coming when Jacob Stallings threw a runner out stealing. The final line for six innings was four hits and eight strikeouts.
Brubaker left with a 4-1 lead. The Pirates got on the board in the second when Colin Moran went oppo for his third bomb of the year. Adam Frazier drove in two more in the fifth with a triple and Bryan Reynolds followed with an RBI double.
The bullpen didn’t blow the Brewers away, but as it generally has, it got things done. Chris Stratton loaded the bases with two outs in the seventh, thanks to a couple walks. Sam Howard came on to get a one-pitch fly out from Shaw to end the inning. (It probably wasn’t Shaw’s favorite day; he stranded eight.) Kyle Crick walked the first guy he saw in the eighth, but got a standard, everyday 3-6-3-5-4 double play.
In between Stratton/Howard and Crick, Gregory Polanco made things easier for everybody by launching a towering two-run shot to center, his second home run of the season. Duane Underwood, Jr., had trouble throwing strikes, but got through a 22-pitch ninth with just one walk allowed.