The Pittsburgh Pirates’ two sweeps of opponents in 2022 have been cut of the same cloth.
In late May/early June, they stole a three-game series on the road against the NL West-leading LA Dodgers. Since then, the Dodgers have built their division lead to 11 1/2 games over second-place San Diego.
This week, it was the NL Central-leading Milwaukee Brewers’ turn to stumble against the Pirates.
The Pirates (43-62) defeated the Brewers, 5-4, in 10 innings Thursday at PNC Park when a wild pitch by Milwaukee reliever Matt Bush allowed Bryan Reynolds to score. Reynolds had led off the inning with a ground-rule double that brought home Tucupita Marcano, who opened the bottom of the 10th on second base, to tie the score at 4-4.
“Baseball’s funny,” said Pirates infielder Michael Chavis, who was at the plate when Bush’s pitch went between the legs of catcher Victor Caratini. “On any given day, anybody can win a ballgame, and anybody can be the guy. I think that’s one of the cool things about baseball.”
The Pirates’ one through three hitters, Marcano, Reynolds and Ben Gamel, had two hits each, with Marcano and Gamel delivering key RBI singles in the bottom of the seventh inning, tying the score at 3-3.
The Brewers took a 3-1 lead in the top of the fifth, chasing Pirates starter Zach Thompson after 4 1/3 innings after Hunter Renfroe hit a two-run homer to right field.
Thompson had allowed a home run to Victor Caratini in the second inning, a solo shot over the Clemente Wall.
Arguably the key play of the game came during the top of the ninth. Pirates reliever Colin Holderman, who pitched the eighth and ninth innings, had the bases loaded and one out.
The Brewers’ Tyrone Taylor hit a sharp grounder down the third-base line, but Ke’Bryan Hayes turned it into an inning-ending, run-saving double play.
“(Taylor) is a guy who kind of pulls the ball a lot, so just having that anticipation … I took an extra step toward the line, and, luckily I was able to stop it,” Hayes said.
The Pirates’ bullpen pitched 5 2/3 innings Thursday. Eric Stout relieved Thompson and pitched 1 2/3 innings, and Yohan Ramirez made his Pirates debut, pitching a scoreless seventh, striking out two and picking off Milwaukee’s Jonathan Davis at first base.
“I thought our bullpen did a really nice job,” manager Derek Shelton said. “With guys being taxed (Wednesday), the fact they took the ball … that goes back to (Wil) Crowe last night, coming in and going one-plus (innings) again. They really did a nice job this series against a really good club.”
After the Pirates came up empty in the bottom of the ninth, Duane Underwood Jr. was tasked with pitching the 10th.
Tyrone Taylor started the inning at second base. With two outs, Underwood Jr. issued back-to-back walks to Rowdy Tellez and Andrew McCutchen — Tellez’s was intentional — to load the bases for Kolten Wong.
Underwood Jr. then hit Wong, which scored Taylor and handed the Brewers a 4-3 lead.
Despite a less-than-clean inning of work, Underwood Jr. (1-3) earned the win.
“For us to get down and continue to battle back, (this is) a full team victory,” Shelton said. “A lot of people played a big part of it. It’s nice to come out of the deadline and play that well for three days.”
The Pirates now head to Baltimore for three games against the Orioles in what begins 10 straight games on the road.
“We’ve just got to build off this series whenever we go on the road for this long road stretch,” Hayes said. “Just continue on the offensive side, continue to get guys (on-base and) find ways to get guys on, and then play good defense.”
Justin Guerriero is a Tribune Review staff writer. You can contact Justin by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter .