Brewers quiet Bucs' bats in 9-3 win
Andrew McCutchen does not display much outward emotion. One of the hallmarks of the reigning National League MVP is his steady demeanor.
But after McCutchen erased a leadoff Neil Walker single in the seventh inning with a ground-ball double play, ending the Pirates' best chance to make Saturday afternoon interesting in a 9-3 loss to the Milwaukee Brewers, McCutchen swatted a Gatorade cooler to the floor in the Pirates dugout.
A day after they scored a season-high 15 runs against the first-place Brewers, the Pirates lacked execution before the fourth sellout crowd of the season at PNC Park. The Pirates went 1 for 6 with runners in scoring position and committed a season-high five errors.
“We take pride in being ready and focused on every pitch,” manager Clint Hurdle said. “We gave up a lot of free bases.”
The Pirates fell seven games back of Milwaukee in the National League Central. The Brewers continue to frustrate the Pirates, having won nine of 12 games this season in the series.
The Pirates failed to take advantage of a strong outing from Edinson Volquez (3-5), who allowed four runs — three earned — on four hits, struck out four and walked two in six innings.
After demonstrating a dramatic spike in velocity in his last two outings, touching 98 mph at Citi Field and averaging 95 mph with his fastball at Dodger Stadium, Volquez's fastball was a tick down, sitting at 92 to 94 mph, but his command was solid as both walks were intentional.
Volquez paid for several mistakes up in the zone in the fourth. Khris Davis belted a hanging curveball for a ground-rule double that plated Jonathan Lucroy. Lyle Overbay followed with a two-run single later in the inning to stake the Brewers to a three-run inning and 4-2 lead.
“He spun three breaking balls that hung over home plate,” Hurdle said. “When the ball gets up, it can be problematic.”
In relief of Volquez, Justin Wilson gave up four runs in 2⁄3 of an inning in the eighth.
Pedro Alvarez recorded his sixth multihit game in his past 12 games. He doubled in the second and hit a two-run single in the third, which gave the Pirates a 2-1 lead. But Alvarez's throwing issues continued. A routine attempt resulted in a ball sailing into the first-base stands in the sixth, allowing Davis to reach on an error.
The Pirates committed three errors before the second at-bat of the game was completed.
Brewers leadoff hitter Jean Segura reached on a Jordy Mercer error and advanced to third on two Ike Davis errors. Davis was unable to field a pick-off throw from Volquez, then made an errant throw into left field to advance Segura to third.