PITTSBURGH -- The Brewers backed a solid start by Zach Davies with timely hitting and benefited from a handful of misplays by the Pirates, as they avoided a weekend sweep at PNC Park with a 6-2 win over the Bucs on Sunday afternoon.
Davies held Pittsburgh to two runs on four hits and struck out seven in 5 2/3 innings, his longest start of the season, while walking three. Eric Thames doubled in a run in the third and hit his team-high 12th homer in the ninth, bringing an end to a nine-game stretch without a roundtripper. Travis Shaw homered in the fourth, and Jesus Aguilar doubled in another run then homered in the ninth. It was a welcome turnaround for the Brewers' lineup, which mustered only one run in the first two games of the series.
"We did a nice job," Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. "Those runs in the ninth inning were obviously big. Jesus Aguilar had a big trip, and he certainly had a big part in us winning two of those [three] games."
The Brewers also took advantage of two key defensive mistakes by the Pirates, who weren't able to help Tyler Glasnow on the mound or at the plate. Right fielder John Jaso misread Thames' third-inning line drive, which sailed over his head, allowing a run to score, and second baseman Phil Gosselin booted a ground ball off the bat of Jonathan Villar in the fifth, allowing Orlando Arcia to score from second base.
"Eric Thames hit that ball hard to Jaso in right, and he misjudged it a little bit," Counsell said. "Then the Jonathan Villar ball was hit hard, but it got us a lead, and Davies was really good today. I thought he definitely made progress today. He had good tempo with his delivery, and his curveball was very effective to a bunch of hitters in their lineup."
Glasnow pitched better than his line indicated, though it was still one of his best statistical starts of the season. The rookie right-hander allowed four runs (three earned) on six hits and two walks while striking out six over 6 1/3 innings, his longest outing of the season.
"Today was more encouraging for me just because I definitely didn't have my best stuff, but I had to go out and pitch," Glasnow said. "In previous starts, I was always searching for a feeling and searching for something, just really uncomfortable. Today, not having my best stuff, but still being able to compete with what I had, a lot of that has to do with feeling comfortable physically and not feeling out of whack."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED High, deep and almost gone: The Brewers did not hit many balls hard against Glasnow, but Shaw's fourth-inning homer was an exception. Shaw turned on a 91-mph fastball from Glasnow and launched it a projected 373 feet, according to Statcast™, into the right-field seats. The ball came off his bat at 102.3 mph and nearly left PNC Park, finally landing two rows from the top of the bleachers. Shaw's seventh homer of the season extended his team-leading RBI total to 24.
Oh, Osuna: Pirates outfielder Jose Osuna showed his offensive potential throughout Spring Training, clubbing a team-high five home runs in Grapefruit League play. Since joining the Pirates last month, the rookie has occasionally turned that promise into production. He added his first Major League home run to the list on Sunday, shooting a pitch from Davies into the left-field seats in the sixth, pulling the Pirates within a run. Osuna pulled Davies' 78-mph changeup a projected 408 feet with an exit velocity of 103.1 mph and a 27-degree launch angle.
"I've seen it a million times," said Glasnow, who came up through the Pirates' system with Osuna. "It's great, especially such a close game like that. It was a good spot."
"It's tough. The guy did everything he could to get a win out there. Unfortunately we didn't score enough runs for him. We're going to focus on tomorrow now and hopefully put up 20 runs for our starter."--Pirates catcher Chris Stewart, on not supporting Glasnow
UPON FURTHER REVIEW
With one out in the seventh inning, Villar chopped a ball a few feet in front of the plate. Reliever Johnny Barbato fielded the ball and flung it to first baseman Josh Bell, who reached out to make the grab. Villar was ruled out. The Brewers challenged the call, and a replay official determined that Bell's foot remained on the bag when he caught the ball.
WHAT'S NEXT Brewers: After an off-day on Monday, the Brewers open a three-game Interleague series against the Red Sox at Miller Park on Tuesday at 6:40 p.m. CT. Right-hander Wily Peralta will face Boston for the second time in his career, with the first outing coming at Fenway Park on April 5, 2014.
Pirates: The Bucs will begin a seven-game road trip through Los Angeles and Arizona on Monday at Dodger Stadium at 10:10 p.m. ET, when Trevor Williams will join the rotation in place of the injured Jameson Taillon. Williams has posted a 5.40 ERA in six relief appearances. Andrew McCutchen and Josh Harrison are expected to return to Pittsburgh's lineup.