When the Milwaukee Brewers win games, typically it comes by way of the home run.
Monday’s game was not your typical Brewers-Pirates game, except for perhaps the end result.
Milwaukee stole six bases, hit no home runs and the Pirates committed three errors (all in the seventh inning with two by A.J. Burnett) as the Brewers extended their dominance over Pittsburgh with a 5-1 at PNC Park.
Burnett had fewer strikeouts (six) than innings pitched (seven) for the first time this season and took the loss to drop to 3-4 on the season. He wasn’t particularly bad, but on a night when Pittsburgh needed its ace at his best he was far from it (though he did do well to work out of what could have been a disastrous first inning).
To make matters worse, the Pirates made Marco Estrada look like an ace. Estrada allowed just three hits with five strikeouts and one walk in seven innings.
Put all of that aside though, because the stolen bases were the story. With Russell Martin still nursing the issue he’s having with his neck, the catching duties were left up to Michael McKenry and the results were not promising. He and Burnett have not played together much and it showed as the Brewers took advantage of both of them seemingly whenever they got the chance.
Jean Segura stole three bases, Norichika Aoki took two and Carlos Gomez had one with all six coming with Burnett on the mound. Segura had three hits to settle into the National League lead for batting average (.368) with Gomez right behind him at .367.
Burnett was not doing much to keep the runners close, and when McKenry had to make a throw it was usually a bad one.
If Martin’s neck continues to be a thing, it is not too far-fetched to think Tony Sanchez’s next call won’t be to the taxi squad with McKenry putting on defensive displays like the one on Monday. That’s just my opinion.
For those of you keeping score, that’s 72 losses in 97 games for Pittsburgh against Milwaukee since the start of the 2007 season.
Travel issues prevented me from making it to PNC Park on Monday but I will be there for Tuesday’s game. Jeff Locke is scheduled to start for the Pirates and will look to extend his recent streak of solid pitching. I usually get to the park around 3 p.m. and am finished with pregame interviews by 4. Have any questions you would like answered? Tweet me (@TomBraggSports) and I’ll see what I can do to get them answered (provided they’re not asinine and won’t get me kicked out of the clubhouse/beat up).