PITTSBURGH (AP) — Andrew McCutchen hit a go-ahead two-run single in the top of the ninth inning to rally the Milwaukee Brewers past the Pittsburgh Pirates 3-2 Thursday to complete a three-game sweep.
McCutchen, a five-time All-Star in Pittsburgh, began the game with a leadoff home run — his first at PNC Park as a visitor — before delivering a single to right field off closer Chris Stratton (0-1) in the final frame. McCutchen, now primarily a designated hitter for the Brewers, finished with three hits to boost his batting average to .250.
Hoby Milner (2-0) worked a perfect eighth to pick up the win. Devin Williams retired the Pirates in order in the ninth for his first save. The Brewers have won eight straight over Pittsburgh dating to last season.
Christian Yelich started the Brewers’ rally with a one-out, pinch-hit bunt single against Stratton. Kolten Wong and Omar Narvaez followed with singles to load the bases for McCutchen. The 35-year-old’s liner smacked off the outstretched glove of second baseman Josh VanMeter and into right field, allowing Yelich and Wong to score.
Pittsburgh rookie right fielder Jack Suwinski collected the first RBI of his career with an infield single in the seventh and Ben Gamel followed with a sacrifice fly off reliever Brad Boxberger as the Pirates turned a 1-0 deficit into a 2-1 lead.
David Bednar worked a scoreless eighth for the Pirates to set the stage for Stratton, in his first full season at the back end of Pittsburgh’s bullpen. He quickly put away Lorenzo Cain before Yelich’s bunt started Milwaukee’s surge.
Pirates starter Jose Quintana surrendered a home run to McCutchen on the game’s first pitch but quickly settled down. Quintana, hoping to revive his career in Pittsburgh, allowed just four hits and struck out nine without issuing a walk.
The Pirates have yet to have a starting pitcher record a victory through 19 games, the second-longest streak to start a season in major league history, trailing only the 1988 Baltimore Orioles, who started the season 0-21. Quintana remains winless since Sept. 5, 2019, while pitching for the Chicago Cubs.
McCutchen turned on a 90 mph fastball up in the zone from Quintana for his 93rd career home run at PNC Park.
Milwaukee starter Freddy Peralta tossed six shutout innings, allowing just three hits and striking out seven without issuing a walk. Peralta’s only trouble spot came in his last inning when consecutive singles by Daniel Vogelbach and Bryan Reynolds put two on with two outs. A nine-pitch battle with Pittsburgh’s Ke’Bryan Hayes followed, with Peralta ultimately getting Hayes to fly out to right field to end the threat.
Boxberger, one of five Brewers pitchers who combined for a one-hitter in a victory on Wednesday night, wasn’t quite as sharp less than 24 hours later but was bailed out by McCutchen.
Pirates: C Andrew Knapp was scratched from the lineup about an hour before the first pitch due to an illness, forcing Roberto Perez to make the start after expecting to have the day off.
Brewers: Head home for a weekend series against the Chicago Cubs. Adrian Houser (1-2, 3.52 ERA) starts on Friday against Kyle Hendricks (1-1, 3.98).
Pirates: Welcome San Diego to PNC Park for a three-game set starting Friday. Yu Darvish (1-1, 4.43) gets the nod for the Padres against Pittsburgh’s Zach Thompson (0-2, 10.80).