PITTSBURGH – Corbin Burnes challenged the Pittsburgh Pirates early on, knowing the overworked Milwaukee pen needed him to work effectively.
The Brewers ace passed the seventh inning for the first time in the majors, and the Brewers tied their longest winning streak in seven years by beating Pittsburgh 7-2 on Thursday night.
The leaders of NL Central have won nine straight wins for the first time since April 4-13, 2014, edging their opponents 66-23 in the streak.
âObviously their game plan was to go out early and often. “ said Burnes. âWe kind of knew that based on the last time I faced them. The goal was just to make sure we were good 0-0, getting ahead or getting weak contact. It worked out pretty well tonight.
Burnes (4-4) allowed a run on four hits with five strikeouts in a career-high 7 1/3 innings. He has lasted seven innings twice previously in the majors, once this season against the Arizona Diamondbacks on June 6.
A slip could have cost Burnes at least one more batter, as his knee got stuck on the mound before taking out the first of the eighth. Burnes said he didn’t expect this to produce any lingering problems.
“We will see how we feel tomorrow” he said. âBut this is something that I have already felt and faced. Not too worried about it.
Pirates starter Wil Crowe (1-5) had 4 2/3 innings, allowing two runs on four hits with three strikeouts.
Clay Holmes didn’t get an out on 20 shots (13 balls) in the sixth for the Pirates, who have lost four straight games. He awarded a single RBI to Keston Hiura who extended Milwaukee’s lead to 3-1 after a relapse and roamed the loaded bases.
Daniel Robertson made it 4-1 on a sacrifice ball with an out after Holmes was called out for Chris Stratton.
“We have faced some good pitchers, but there is frustration,” Pirates director Derek Shelton said. âYou are working hard and we don’t see it translating right now. We have to keep working hard, keep trying to improve ourselves to get out of this lull. “
Burnes’ only notable mistake came in the fifth, when Ben Gamel stuck his cutter over the wall in center-right to reduce Milwaukee’s lead to 2-1. The right-hander only used 42 shots to get through the first four innings.
Milwaukee used five relievers in a 15-7 win over the Cubs on Wednesday night.
“One night when we really needed him, he gave us exactly what we needed” Brewers manager Craig Counsell has said of Burnes. âAnd in a very good way. Overall the night went as we needed it to. We got the rest of the guys a night off in the bullpen. Guys who needed it, a night off. In a way, brings us back to square one.
Gamel almost put Pittsburgh on the board earlier, sending a ball deep through the center. Jackie Bradley Jr. slowed down near the warning lane and pretended like he had no play on the ball before doing the routine restart. His fainting appeared to deceive baserunner Jacob Stallings, who was passed on first base.
“I always do things like that,” Bradley said. âWhether it’s during training or something like that. This moment happened to be just one of those moments.
Pirates’ closest, Richard RodrÃguez, allowed three runs in the ninth, one on an Omar Narvaez double and two more on a Tyrone Taylor single, the deficit extending to 7-1.
RHP Adrian Houser (4-5, 4.16 ERA) will take the mound for the Brewers, facing RHP Pirates JT Brubaker (4-7, 3.82) on Friday. Houser has allowed nine points combined in his last two starts; Brubaker hasn’t allowed more than three runs in five straight starts.
SOX 8 WHITE, TWIN 5
CHICAGO (AP) – Zack Collins hit a decisive homer in the sixth inning and the Chicago White Sox scored at least seven runs for the fourth straight game, beating the Minnesota Twins 8-5 on Thursday for a four-game sweep.
BRAVES 4, METS 3
ATLANTA (AP) – Freddie Freeman scored the winning point with a low line that deflected reliever Seth Lugo in the ninth inning, Atlanta defeated New York.
ASTROS 7, INDIANS 2
CLEVELAND (AP) – Jose Altuve hit a grand slam to briefly calm constant boos from Cleveland fans Yordan Alvarez and Michael Brantley scored, and Houston ended a four-game losing streak.
DODGERS 6, NATIONAL 2, 5 SLEEVE
WASHINGTON (AP) – Max Muncy struck a grand slam to lead Los Angeles to a rain-cut win over Washington.
RANGERS 8, ATHLETICS 3
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) – Joey Gallo scored his fifth straight game, Nate Lowe went deep twice and Texas pounded Oakland.
MARINERS 7, BLUE GEAIS 2
BUFFALO, NY (AP) – Yusei Kikuchi pitched a run in seven innings, Jake Fraley and Shed Long Jr. beat Hyun Jin Ryu and Seattle beat Toronto.
ROYALS 15, RED SOX 1
BOSTON (AP) – Kike Hernendez started with a homerun for the third time in five days, Nathan Eovaldi pitched seven scoreless innings and Boston routed Kansas City.