The Pittsburgh Pirates have a chance Sunday to win their four-game series against the visiting Milwaukee Brewers after taking two of the first three contests.
That might seem surprising considering Pittsburgh had lost five of six games entering the series, had to hang on for a seesaw win in the series opener Thursday before getting walloped 19-2 on Friday.
Not to mention the Pirates would have to go on quite a tear to get to .500.
But Saturday’s 7-4 win marked the fourth time the Pirates have followed a double-digit loss with a victory.
“You know, it’s tough to say exactly what it is that makes this team so resilient,” Pittsburgh first baseman Michael Chavis, who hit a two-run homer Saturday, told AT&T Sportsnet. “But we talked about it after the game (Friday) night, and we said we were going to flush it and reset.”
The Pirates did, and against a team that is in a tight race with St. Louis for the top spot in the National League Central.
“(Friday) night was not a pretty night, and they bounced right back and got after a good club, and I give them a ton of credit,” Pittsburgh manager Derek Shelton said.
The Brewers, despite needing to win Sunday to salvage a tie in the series, have been getting a lot of offense.
They are 3-2 on a road trip, with 40 runs in the five games.
“I think we’re doing a good job,” Milwaukee manager Craig Counsell said. “I don’t think it means anything for (Sunday). We’ve just got to keep doing a good job.”
In the series finale, Milwaukee right-hander Brandon Woodruff (6-3, 4.44 ERA) is scheduled to face Pittsburgh right-hander Zach Thompson (3-5, 4.47 ERA).
Woodruff is coming off a gem Tuesday at Tampa Bay, a win during which he gave up one run and two hits in five innings, with 10 strikeouts and no walks.
It was his fifth career game with 10 or more strikeouts and no walks, and it came after the two-time All-Star made a tweak in his delivery.
“There’s just a certain posture that I have and a certain rhythm (when things are going well), and that all kind of blends together,” Woodruff said. “Then that helps me get on time, and I’m able to move the ball how I want.”
Woodruff is 5-2 with a 4.11 ERA in 12 career games (10 starts) against Pittsburgh. He has gone 1-0 with a 3.60 ERA in two starts against the Pirates this season.
Thompson is eligible to come off the IL Sunday after dealing with right forearm nerve inflammation, and Shelton confirmed after Saturday’s game that Thompson will take the mound on Sunday, replacing scheduled starter Jose Quintana.
In his most recent start, against San Francisco on June 17, Thompson picked up a loss when he gave up two runs, both on homers, and four hits in 4 1/3 innings. He also posted two strikeouts and a season-high five walks.
He has yielded six runs over his past four starts, all on solo homers. He has a 2.70 ERA in 20 innings in that stretch.
Thompson has faced Milwaukee once in his career, a loss April 18 when he allowed six runs and six hits in four innings, with five strikeouts and four walks.
–Field Level Media