By ANDREW GRUMAN, Associated Press
MILWAUKEE (AP) — Domingo Santana delivered the blow that put the Milwaukee Brewers ahead on the scoreboard. Orlando Arcia came up with the play that saved the game.
With the tying run on second and two outs in the ninth, Arcia ranged to his left, spun around and delivered a strike to first base to secure a 4-3 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates on Wednesday night.
“It is a really tough play in that situation,” Arcia said through a translator. “You just try to make a perfect throw. You don’t want the ball to get away and have the run score. You just try to make as perfect of a throw as you can. Thankfully, I was able to do that.”
Pirates left fielder Adam Frazier was rounding third base when Arcia threw the ball and likely would have scored if first baseman Eric Thames had not made a difficult pick.
“I was yelling, ‘Don’t throw it,'” Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. “To myself, that’s what I was thinking. That’s his play, for sure. It took a great play on Thames’ end too. It is a special play in a big moment.”
Thames cut Pittsburgh’s lead to 3-2 with a run-scoring groundout in the seventh. Two batters later, Santana kept a 2-0 offering from Hudson (1-3) just fair down the right-field line to give the Brewers the lead.
“Off the bat, I thought it might go foul,” Hudson said. “It just stayed fair. He did a good job. He did a good job of sitting on it and shooting it that way.”
Oliver Drake (3-2) received the win after pitching a scoreless seventh. Jacob Barnes struck out the side in the eighth and Corey Knebel recorded his 11th save with the help from Arcia in the ninth.
Pittsburgh took a 1-0 lead in the third on consecutive doubles by Adam Frazier and Josh Harrison. The Brewers answered in the bottom half on a two-out RBI single by Santana.
John Jaso put Pittsburgh in front in the fifth with a two-out double that scored Frazier. Josh Bell made it 3-1 in the sixth with a solo shot off Brewers starter Junior Guerra.
Guerra used six strikeouts to help limit damage to just three runs despite issuing five walks and allowing seven hits over six innings.
Williams recorded back-to-back strikeouts to end the sixth but immediately ran into trouble in the seventh. Keon Broxton led off with a single and Arcia followed with a double down the left-field line.
Reliever Tony Watson came on to get Thames to bounce into a run-scoring groundout and then struck out Eric Sogard before giving way to Hudson to face Santana.
Williams finished with a career-high seven strikeouts and worked into the seventh inning for just the second time in nine starts this season.
With a strikeout of Harrison in the ninth, Knebel extended his streak of consecutive appearances with at least one strikeout to 37, matching Aroldis Chapman for the modern era record (since 1900) by a reliever to begin a season.
“That’s an impressive streak, certainly,” Counsell said. “You mention a guy like Aroldis Chapman, you take notice. That’s incredible. It really is. It is a worthy streak that should be talked about.”
IN THE FOLD
The Brewers introduced first-round draft pick Keston Hiura in a news conference at Miller Park on Wednesday. Hiura signed his contract and then took batting practice on the field before the game.
It was believed that Hiura would need surgery to correct an elbow injury that prevented him from playing the field at UC-Irvine this season. However, Brewers director of amateur scouting Tod Johnson said team doctors feel surgery is not necessary and cleared Hiura to begin a throwing program at rookie level Arizona.
Hiura, picked ninth overall, will begin in rookie ball with the expectation of advancing to Class-A Wisconsin before the end of the season.
Pirates: C Francisco Cervelli was out of the lineup for the second straight game. He sat out Tuesday due to flu-like symptoms and was scheduled to have the day off Wednesday.
Brewers: INF Jonathan Villar (lower back strain) and OF Ryan Braun (strained left calf) will begin minor-league rehabilitation assignments Thursday with Class-A Wisconsin. The two will play through the weekend with the Timber Rattlers and potentially could be activated Tuesday before Milwaukee’s three-game series in Cincinnati, according to Counsell. … RHP Wily Peralta was placed on the 10-day DL with a right calf strain. LHP Brent Suter was recalled from Triple-A Colorado Springs.
Pirates: RHP Ivan Nova (7-4, 2.91 ERA) will start the series finale on Thursday afternoon. He has pitched at least six innings in each of his first 14 starts. Nova is 1-0 with a 2.25 ERA in two career starts against Milwaukee.
Brewers: RHP Chase Anderson (5-2, 2.92 ERA) will look to continue his run of success, as he is 10-3 with a 2.77 ERA over his last 26 starts dating to July 25, 2016. Anderson had a 2.16 ERA in five starts against Pittsburgh in 2016.