Bumbling Pirates stumble to loss
PITTSBURGH – One day after setting a season-high in runs, the Pirates set a season high in errors.
Pittsburgh followed up its 15-run outburst Friday with a shoddy defensive display Saturday, making five errors, including three in the first inning, in a 9-3 loss to the Milwaukee Brewers.
“We gave up a lot of free bases with the errors,” Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. “From a fielding perspective, we were all over the place. We made it a lot tougher on our pitchers than it needed to be.”
Jean Segura reached on a fielding error by shortstop Jordy Mercer to start the game then advanced to third base on two errors by first baseman Ike Davis, who failed to catch a pickoff throw then threw wildly to second base.
One batter, three errors.
Third baseman Pedro Alvarez and reliever Jeanmar Gomez also made throwing errors. Alvarez’s throw sailed 10 rows into the first base stands when he tried to throw out Khris Davis in the sixth inning.
“It’s part of the game,” Pittsburgh right fielder Josh Harrison said. “We make errors, it’s going to happen. Don’t beat yourself up because tomorrow you’ve got another chance to do it right.”
Things also did not work out for Hurdle when he decided to have Edinson Volquez intentionally walk Scooter Gennett, a .287 hitter, to pitch to Overbay with the score tied and runners on second and third in the fourth inning.
Though Overbay was hitting just .213, the Brewers’ first baseman came through, hitting a tiebreaking two-run single to center field that made it 4-2 and sent the NL Central-leading Brewers on their way to victory.
Just before Gennett was walked, Davis hit an RBI single to tie the score at 2-2.
“I wasn’t really surprised that they walked Scooter in that situation,” Overbay said. “Volquez has a good sinker and they’re looking to get a double play there. What I need to do there is make sure I don’t swing at a sinker low and away and hit into the double play.”
Milwaukee had lost three of its previous four games, including getting routed 15-5 by the Pirates Friday night.
Matt Garza (4-4) got through six shaky innings to win back-to-back starts for the first time since last July. He allowed five walks and six hits while striking out one, yet limited the Pirates to three runs a day after they scored a season-high.
Rob Wooten, Will Smith and Brandon Kintzler each pitched an inning of scoreless relief.
Davis and Jonathan Lucroy had two hits each for the NL Central-leading Brewers. Ryan Braun’s two-run double in a four-run eighth inning extended Milwaukee’s lead to 8-3.
Neil Walker and Alvarez had two hits each for Pittsburgh.
Volquez (3-5) lost for the first time in four starts, giving up four runs and four hits in six innings.
“I left a couple of pitches right in the middle of the plate in (the fourth) inning,” Volquez said. “I’ve got to do a better job than that. I let them have a big inning and that was the ballgame.”
Harrison extended his hitting streak 10 games, tying a career high, with a two-out double in the ninth inning
Pittsburgh RHP Gerrit Cole was scratched from his scheduled start Monday night against the Chicago Cubs. LHP Jeff Locke will be recalled from Triple-A Indianapolis and start Sunday against the Brewers’ Yovani Gallardo (3-4, 4.08) in the finale of the three-game series. RHP Charlie Morton will start Monday instead of Sunday. ... Pirates LF Starling Marte, mired in an 0-for-20 slump, was not in the lineup for a fourth straight game. ... Milwaukee placed RHP Tyler Thornburg on the 15-day disabled list with a strained right elbow after the game and recalled RHP Mike Fiers from Triple-A Nashville. ... Milwaukee rookie LHP Wei-Chung Wang, who was selected from the Pirates in the Rule 5 Draft in December, bruised his right knee Friday night but X-rays showed no broken bones.