Pirates done in by ex-players now wearing Brewers uniforms
MILWAUKEE — Three former Pirates — Neil Walker, Jared Hughes and Keon Broxton — were reunited last weekend when Walker was traded to the Milwaukee Brewers.
On Tuesday, the trio helped to produce a key victory against their former team in the heat of the NL Central race.
Score it ex-Pirates 3, current Pirates 1.
Walker, who was dealt from the New York Mets on Saturday, provided a steady glove and reached base three times. He was walked intentionally in the sixth inning, which set up Manny Pina’s unlikely, decisive RBI single.
Hughes tossed one-third of an inning, getting Josh Harrison to ground out with the potential tying run on second base in the seventh.
Broxton gave the Brewers some breathing room with a solo homer off A.J. Schugel. It was Broxton’s 17th home run this season — that would rank him third on the team if he was still with the Pirates — and his third career pinch-hit homer.
It’s not a good time for the Pirates to absorb such setbacks. Of their next 37 games, 33 will be against NL Central foes.
Right-hander Ivan Nova (10-10) pitched well enough to keep the Pirates in it. Over six innings, Nova gave up two runs (one earned) on four hits, walked three and struck out four.
Brewers right-hander Zach Davies was coming off one of the worst outings of his career. Last Thursday, he set a career high for hits allowed (11) and matched his career worst for runs allowed (seven) against the Minnesota Twins.
Davies (14-6) held the Pirates to one run on six hits in 62⁄3 innings.
The Brewers took a 1-0 lead in the second inning. Travis Shaw singled. Domingo Santana walked.
First baseman Josh Bell snagged Walker’s grounder, spun and threw wildly toward second base. Everyone was safe, which loaded the bases with none out.
Shaw scored when Manny Pina grounded into a force play.
The Pirates lost their replay challenge in the fourth. It would haunt them two innings later.
With two outs and Bell at first base, Adam Frazier looped a single to right field. As Bell sped to third, Santana’s throw bounced toward the Pirates’ dugout.
Bell tried to score, but third baseman Shaw recovered in time and made a strong throw to the plate. The Pirates asked for a review, which upheld the out call.
The Pirates tied it in the sixth. With two outs and Bell at first base, Frazier rifled a 1-2 curveball into the right-field corner for a triple.
In the bottom of the inning, Shaw walked with one out and went to second on a passed ball. A ground out moved Shaw to third. Walker was walked intentionally.
Pina hit a sharp grounder to the left side. Statcast gave the play a 7-percent chance of resulting in a hit.
The Brewers beat the odds.
Third baseman David Freese tried to make a diving stop but only deflected the ball. Shortstop Jordy Mercer hit his brakes and adjusted in time to make a snow-cone catch. Mercer got off a strong throw, but Pina was ruled safe for a run-scoring infield single.
A replay appeared to show Pina was a half-step behind Mercer’s throw but also indicated Bell’s foot might have come off the bag.
Either way, it didn’t matter. The Pirates already used up their challenge, and crew chief Joe West didn’t ask the folks in the video room at MLB headquarters to take a second look.
Rob Biertempfel is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter @BiertempfelTrib.