MILWAUKEE -- Khris Davis' two-run go-ahead double in the seventh inning gave the Brewers and rookie starter Taylor Jungmann a lead they would never relinquish in a 6-1 win over the Pirates at Miller Park on Sunday. The Brewers added insurance runs in the eighth -- partly due to faulty Pittsburgh defense -- to give them a 34-34 record under manager Craig Counsell.
The Brewers' offense was lifeless before the seventh against Jeff Locke, managing just four hits. The lefty had retired 10 of the 11 batters he faced from innings three to six before he walked Carlos Gomez to lead off the deciding seventh. Locke also produced the Pirates' lone run of the game with an RBI single in the fifth. The sweep was the Pirates' first since dropping a three-game set to the Nationals from June 19-21.
"He got a pitch to Davis out over the plate," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said of Locke, who until that decisive at-bat had held Davis to one hit in 18 career at-bats. "He pitched an excellent ball game. It was a very competitive outing."
Jungmann battled through self-made jams in the early innings to earn the win, scattering five hits over seven frames and striking out five. It was the first start in the rookie's career facing a team for a second time.
"It was a bit of a wrinkle facing a team for the second time, and he was equally good," Counsell said of Jungmann. "He just continues to make pitches and he continues to get swings that don't look like great swings. It's been great to watch."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Davis delivers: The Brewers had little to show for against Locke through the first six innings, but Davis changed that in the seventh with his big double into the right-center-field gap in the seventh. The liner followed Aramis Ramirez's second single of the game, giving Milwaukee their first inning with multiple hits off Locke.
Locke gives himself a lead: Locke helped himself, when no one else could, with an RBI single in the fifth. It turned not to be enough, but was significant: It was the 10th run driven in this season by Pirates pitchers, whose offensive improvement was a major Spring Training project. All last season, Buccos hurlers totaled six RBIs.
Playing with fire: Jungmann committed a baseball sin in the third inning by walking the opposing pitcher with two outs. After the lineup turned over, Gregory Polanco ripped a double down the right-field line that caromed off the wall in foul territory and into short right field, advancing Locke to third. Neil Walker hit a broken-bat groundout to second in the next at-bat to end the inning.
"I don't think the single was the most frustrating part," Jungmann said of allowing a hit to Locke. "I think the lack of focus in the at-bat before [was]. It took me a while to get back into the game. You can't take seven to eight pitches to get back into the game."
Adding on: Milwaukee's offense provided insurance runs in the eighth with the help of the Pirates' defense. Jonathan Lucroy scored the first run of the frame on a fielding error by Travis Ishikawa, Ramirez hit a run-scoring sacrifice fly in the next at-bat and pinch-hitter Shane Peterson scored two more with a double into left field.
"Gomez is a very good ballplayer. He can hurt you in a lot of different ways. Unfortunately, today he did so literally." -- Locke on Brewers outfielder Gomez, whose slide sent Pirates shortstop Jordy Mercer off the field on a cart and most likely onto the DL More >
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The win gave the Brewers their first home series sweep in nearly a year, last accomplishing the feat against the Reds from July 21-23 last season. The team had played 23 home series without a sweep before Sunday.
Including two of the first three games of the second half, the Pirates have scored no more than two runs in 38 percent of their 91 games. They are 6-29 in those games.
Brewers shortstop Jean Segura was initially ruled out by first-base umpire C.B. Bucknor on a close play at first base in the third. However, replays showed that the speedy Segura was able to beat Jung Ho Kang's throw from in the hole at shortstop, and Bucknor's call was overturned. Counsell's challenge was the Brewers' 20th of the season, and they've now won 14 of them.
WHAT'S NEXT Pirates: Making a brief return to Interleague play, the Bucs open a three-game series in Kansas City with A.J. Burnett, in his first start of the second half, facing the Royals at 8:10 p.m. ET. Given extra rest around the All-Star Game break, Burnett last pitched on July 11.
Brewers: After an off-day on Monday, the Brewers will host the Indians for a short two-game set at Miller Park. Matt Garza is scheduled to return from the disabled list (right shoulder tendinitis) to start against the Tribe. Since his last win on June 6, he's 0-3 with a 6.60 ERA in five starts. First pitch is 7:10 p.m. CT.