For the first time in more than seven years, the Milwaukee Brewers have won nine straight games — and they get to play another three games against a Pittsburgh Pirates team that is struggling to score and is at the opposite end of the National League Central.
The Brewers, first in the division, opened a four-game series at PNC Park with a 7-2 win Thursday. The last time they won nine in a row was in April 2014.
“Winning’s fun,” Milwaukee outfielder Jackie Bradley Jr. told Bally Sports Wisconsin. “Anytime you’re winning it seems like everything is kind of going your way. The best bet is just riding the wave, try not to think too much.”
The Pirates, last in the division, have lost four straight and have totaled four runs in those games.
“Part of that is the pitching we’ve faced,” Pittsburgh manager Derek Shelton said. “But there is frustration because you’re working hard and we’re not seeing it translate right now. We’ve got to keep working hard, keep trying to get better to get out of this lull.”
Both clubs continue to deal with injuries.
Brewers second baseman Kolten Wong left Thursday’s game because of left calf tightness. He was just back after missing the previous four games because of a calf injury, and manager Craig Counsell indicated Wong could be headed to the injured list.
For the Pirates, first baseman Colin Moran was placed on the 10-day IL Thursday. He had been out while nursing a sore left hand but was considered day to day before further imaging revealed a fracture.
Erik Gonzalez, filling in at first for Pittsburgh, left Thursday’s game in the seventh because of right side discomfort.
Pittsburgh right fielder Gregory Polanco was not available Thursday because of hip inflammation.
On Friday, Milwaukee right-hander Adrian Houser (4-5, 4.16 ERA) is expected to oppose Pittsburgh right-hander JT Brubaker (4-7, 3.82).
Brubaker has been one of Pittsburgh’s best starters, and yet he has lost five of his past six decisions.
On Saturday, he turned in a quality start, giving up three runs and six hits — two of those solo homers — in six innings. He walked two and struck out three. But he was outdone by St. Louis’ Adam Wainwright in a 3-1 loss.
Brubaker gave up a run in each of the first two innings that game; and, although he settled down, a busy couple of early innings bothered him.
“That’s something you learn along the way in baseball,” Brubaker said. “I (didn’t) have it the first two innings. Let’s see if I can make an adjustment.”
In his career against Milwaukee, Brubaker is 1-0 with a 3.00 ERA in three starts. The win came on the road April 16 this year when he gave up one earned run in six innings in a 6-1 win.
Friday’s game will be a rematch of that game between Brubaker and Houser.
The Brewers are 9-5 in Houser’s starts. His last time out, Saturday against Colorado, he did not receive a decision as he allowed four runs and five hits in five innings, with four walks and four strikeouts, in what became a 10-4 Milwaukee win.
Houser is 1-3 with a 5.52 ERA in eight career games, five of them starts, against the Pirates.
–Field Level Media