MILWAUKEE (AP) — Christian Yelich hit a bases-loaded double and Pittsburgh relievers issued three consecutive bases-loaded walks in a five-run seventh inning that helped the Milwaukee Brewers beat the Pirates 7-4 on Friday night.
The Brewers tied a franchise record by drawing six walks in the seventh-inning rally that put them ahead for good. They also walked six times in an inning May 19, 1977, against Toronto and Sept. 21, 2006, against San Francisco.
Ke’Bryan Hayes hit a two-run homer, and Ben Gamel and Gregory Polanco added solo shots for the Pirates, who lost their fifth straight. Pittsburgh pitchers issued a total of 11 walks.
Yelich’s hit off Clay Holmes (2-1) broke a 2-2 tie after he delivered what initially looked like a slow-rolling single up the middle. But he kept running and made it to second for a two-run double.
Pittsburgh’s inability to throw strikes helped the Brewers add insurance runs as they won for the 12th time in 14 games. The Brewers and Chicago Cubs are tied for first place in the NL Central.
After striking out Avisaíl García and walking Omar Narváez intentionally to load the bases with two outs, Holmes walked Willy Adames unintentionally to extend to Milwaukee’s lead to 5-2.
Trevor Cahill replaced Holmes and walked Jace Peterson and Jackie Bradley Jr. to bring home two more runs.
Hayes’ homer to left-center off Koby Milner cut the Brewers’ lead to 7-4 in the eighth.
Brewers starter Brandon Woodruff (5-2) gave up the homers to Gamel and Polanco, but allowed only two other hits in a seven-inning stint that brought his ERA to 1.52. He struck out five and didn’t walk anyone.
This was the first time Woodruff had allowed multiple homers in a 2021 appearance.
Josh Hader pitched a scoreless ninth inning for his 15th save in as many opportunities.
Pirates starter Chase De Jong allowed two runs and four hits over five innings. He struck out two and walked four.
Pirates: 1B Colin Moran was out of the starting lineup for a second straight game after a pitch hit him on the right hand Wednesday, but he did enter the game as a pinch-hitter in the ninth.
Brewers: Manager Craig Counsell said 3B Travis Shaw’s dislocated left shoulder likely will keep the 31-year-old unavailable until sometime in August.
Brewers owner Mark Attanasio spoke to reporters before Friday’s game and discussed his encouragement over how the team has overcome early season injuries.
Attanasio had plenty of praise for a starting rotation headed by Woodruff, Corbin Burnes (3-4, 1.97 ERA) and Freddy Peralta (6-1, 2.25).
“We made the decision three years ago to move these guys into the rotation, and there were some bumps in the road as everyone knew,” said Attanasio, who has been owner since 2005. “This was the hope, that we’d get this trio of guys to come together and to pitch like this, I think they’re three of the top starters in the league. It’s really fun, and maybe the best pitching we’ve had since I’ve owned the team on the whole.”
These two NL Central foes continue their three-game series Saturday afternoon in Milwaukee. Scheduled starters are Chad Kuhl (0-3, 5.61) for the Pirates and Burnes for the Brewers.