Brewers pounce on Trevor Williams early, defeat Pirates again
Trevor Williams’ Milwaukee magic couldn’t make a losing streak disappear.
Williams won all off his three scoreless starts against Milwaukee last season, but the Brewers scored six times and homered twice off him Wednesday night as the Pittsburgh Pirates lost 8-3 at PNC Park. The loss was the fifth in a row for the Pirates, who’ve now lost 21 of 25 since the all-star break.
“A lot of us are searching right now,” Williams said. “A lot of us are trying to keep our heads above water. It’s been a really tough stretch for us.”
The Pirates (48-66) have lost eight consecutive series, a month-long slump that’s seen them fall from playoff contenders to last place in their division.
“I’m sure there are some guys in (the clubhouse) that are questioning some of the things that are going on, as far as why they aren’t getting the results they want,” manager Clint Hurdle said.
“Can it be challenging? Absolutely,” Hurdle said. “But nobody’s going to feel sorry for you. At the end of the day, a lot of people don’t care. They just want results, so we need to play better.”
The Pirates have an off day Thursday before starting a six-game road trip to play the St. Louis Cardinals and Los Angeles Angels.
“We’re all striving to get out of this,” Williams said. “I think the off day is going to do us a lot of good. We’ve got a lot of games coming up. We’ve got a pretty tough stretch after this, so I think it’s going to be good to get our batteries recharged.”
This was Williams’ first matchup against the Brewers (60-56) since throwing 19 scoreless innings against them last season. But even with reigning National League MVP Christian Yelich not in Wednesday’s lineup, the Brewers scored two runs in the first, one in the second and two more in the third to lead 5-0.
Williams (4-5) allowed six earned runs on eight hits over five innings.
“A lot of my mistakes tonight were over the white part of the plate,” Williams said, “rather than missing off the plate.”
The right-hander walked one and struck out one. Brewers second baseman Keston Hiura, who went 3 for 4 and homered twice off Williams, hit a two-run blast in the first that scored Mike Moustakas.
Hiura homered again in the fifth. The rookie, who was drafted ninth overall in 2017, scored three times and drove in three runs.
In contrast, the Pirates gave Williams little offensive support. A solo homer by catcher Jacob Stallings in the third inning was the team’s only run until RBI singles by Bryan Reynolds and Starling Marte in the seventh.
The Pirates finished with only six hits including five singles.
The Brewers didn’t use a traditional starter and instead relied on the combined efforts of five relievers. Drew Pomeranz handled the first three innings, allowing one hit and one run. Junior Guerra (5-3) followed with two scoreless innings for the win.
“Losing obviously stinks, and we’re not playing well as a group,” Stallings said, “but like Clint says, we all have something to play for. Each guy is different, but I don’t think you’re going to see any less effort. Hopefully you’ll see some better play.”
The Brewers had 10 hits including six extra-base hits.
They pushed their lead to 3-0 in the second when Ryan Braun tripled and scored on Ben Gamel’s sacrifice fly. The Brewers’ lead grew to 5-0 in the third on Eric Thames’ two-out, two-run single that scored Yasmani Grandal and Hiura.
“If it’s a three-run ball game, we’re within reach,” Williams said. “At five runs after three is pretty hard to come back after.”