Brewers shut out Pirates again, keep pace in NL Central
PITTSBURGH — The zeroes keep piling up for Brewers’ pitchers. So are the wins.
Chase Anderson had eight strikeouts in six innings, Domingo Santana homered and the Milwaukee Brewers shut out the Pittsburgh Pirates for the second straight day, 1-0 on Tuesday night.
The Brewers won for the ninth time in 11 games, keeping pace in the NL Central and wild-card races. It was the 12th shutout of the season for the Brewers, tied for the second-most in the NL.
“At a time and place that we seem to really be struggling to score runs, the pitching has picked up the slack for sure,” Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. “They’re winning games for us.”
Anderson (11-3) allowed five singles. Anthony Swarzak retired six of the seven batters he faced, and Corey Knebel earned 37th save with a perfect ninth.
Milwaukee won for the fourth time in the past seven days against reeling Pittsburgh, which has lost a season-high seven consecutive games and 12 of 13.
“There’s no one happy in (the clubhouse),” Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. “So you keep them fresh for the next day. Feel what you need to feel. There’s should be some angst — and there is.”
Milwaukee remained 3 1/2 games behind the Chicago Cubs for the division lead. After Wednesday’s series finale at PNC Park, the Brewers head back to Milwaukee to host a four-game series against the Cubs. Chicago won its seventh consecutive game Tuesday.
“I swear, I looked up, and they won again tonight, and I was like, `Man!'” Brewers outfielder Brett Phillips said. “Hey, they want it just as bad as we want it.”
The Brewers moved within 1 1/2 games of Colorado for the second wild-card spot. The Rockies played later Tuesday.
Santana extended his hitting streak to seven games when he turned on a 1-0 slider from Trevor Williams and hit it into the first row at one of PNC Park’s most shallow points, a few feet to the right of the left-field foul pole.
That was one of three hits Williams (6-9) allowed over five innings. But Pittsburgh’s struggling offense offered no support; the Pirates have scored nine runs during their seven-game losing streak.
At one point Tuesday, Anderson retired 10 consecutive hitters and 13 of 14. But his most impressive work was getting out of a jam in his final inning.
Adam Frazier led off with a single to center and moved to second on an errant pickoff throw. Starling Marte followed with a well-placed bunt single, putting runners at first and third with no outs.
But Anderson struck out Andrew McCutchen, got Josh Bell to fly out weakly to center and induced an inning-ending pop-up from Gregory Polanco.
“Those innings kind of show you what you’re made of,” Anderson said, “and to get out of it with no runs was big for us tonight.”
There was a lengthy delay in the fifth inning when first-base umpire Gerry Davis called a ball sharply hit by Anderson foul before it struck him in foul territory in shallow right. Umpires initially huddled to discuss if it was a play eligible to be challenged, then almost 3 minutes elapsed after Counsell indeed elected to. The call stood.
“You’re not allowed to ask for reviews on balls in front of the umpire; if in a situation like that when he’s got to move and might see the call well, you can ask for it,” Counsell said. “But it’s a challenge. In our eyes it was fair. I thought there was a picture on the scoreboard that saw it hit the line. So I was a little confused why they called it foul.”
Brewers: RHP Jimmy Nelson had surgery Tuesday to address the rotator cuff strain and partial anterior labrum tear he sustained while diving into a base earlier this month. Nelson had already been ruled out for the season, and his status for the beginning of next season remains in question.
Pirates: Marte was back in the lineup for the first time in five games because of left shoulder and finger discomfort.
Brewers: Counsell announced before the game that RHP Aaron Wilkerson will start Wednesday, five days after the 28-year-old made his major-league debut with a scoreless inning of relief. He hasn’t started a game since Aug. 31 in Double-A. “We will see how far he can get,” Counsell said.
Pirates: LHP Steven Brault will make his third start for the Pirates after earning International League Pitcher of the Year honors with Triple-A Indianapolis. RHP Tyler Glasnow, who also had a dominating season in at Indianapolis, will follow Brault.