Polanco homers, Pirates beat Brewers 4-2 for 4-game sweep

PITTSBURGH (AP) The Pittsburgh Pirates spent a good portion of the first half of the season trying - and failing - to find any sort of traction.

Once they'd figure out one problem, another would pop up. If it wasn't the bullpen, it was the mess left by outfielder Starling Marte's 80-game steroid suspension. Or the back end of the starting rotation. Or the massive funk that baffled star center fielder Andrew McCutchen.

Two hot weeks have changed the discussion dramatically.

Gregory Polanco homered, Chris Stewart added three hits and the surging Pirates completed a four-game sweep of the NL Central-leading Milwaukee Brewers with a 4-2 victory on Thursday.

The Pirates have won 11 of 13 and moved within three games of Milwaukee in a division that's tightened up since the All-Star break. The Brewers have lost five straight, cutting their lead to one game over the idle Chicago Cubs.

''When you've got guys showing up and stars showing up like they did this homestand, good things are going to happen,'' said McCutchen, who provided some insurance with an RBI single in the fifth off Jimmy Nelson (8-5). ''When we play our best baseball, we can compete with anybody.''

The Pirates focused on pressuring Milwaukee's defense during the series, forcing the issue whenever it had the chance. They scored three of their four runs by taking risks that paid off beautifully. Adam Frazier singled with two outs in the second and scored on Stewart's single to right. With the game tied at 2 in the fifth, Stewart led off with a single then moved to second on a sacrifice bunt.

The 35-year-old catcher - who spent time on the disabled list this season with hamstring issues - chugged home from second on a two-out single to right by Josh Harrison. Harrison went to second when right fielder Domingo Santana's throw missed the cutoff. Harrison then scored on a flare to right by McCutchen.

''I think we want to be in the right position to take that extra step,'' Stewart said. ''I know there's two outs so I'm getting a couple extra steps off second base and going on the crack of the bat. We focus on those types of things.''

Jameson Taillon (6-3) struck out a season-high eight in 5 1/3 innings. Felipe Rivero worked a perfect ninth for his ninth save. Pittsburgh is .500 (48-48) for the first time since April 16, two days before Marte's suspension began.

''I wouldn't say it's good to be at .500, but it's good to be playing good baseball,'' Stewart said. ''We feel like we're doing what we thought we were capable of doing.''

Taillon threw career-high 116 pitches before giving way to four relievers that kept slumping Milwaukee. Juan Nicasio worked out of a two-on, one-out jam in the eighth and Felipe Rivero worked a perfect ninth for his ninth save as the Pirates put together their first four-game home sweep since taking four straight from St. Louis in July, 2013.

The Brewers were one of the biggest surprises in baseball during their first half. They took a 5 1/2 game lead into the All-Star break but have seen that all but erased in the span of seven days. The problem isn't so much the pitching but the offense. Milwaukee has managed just 13 runs during its five-game losing streak, tied for its longest of the season. The Brewers left nine men on and went 1 for 10 with runners in scoring position on Thursday.

''Their bullpen was really tough on us manager Craig Counsell said. ''Their starters bent a couple (of) innings, but we didn't get that big inning that really kind of gave us a big lead ever.''

Nelson gave up four runs on six hits, with a walk and five strikeouts and isn't overly concerned about his team's rut.

''I mean, we're still in first place,'' Nelson said. ''You're not going to win every single game, you're not going to win every single series. But there's a lot of games left to be played and we know what we're capable of. It doesn't make us question our ability by any means.''

TRAINER'S ROOM

Brewers: OF Ryan Braun was held out of the lineup for a second consecutive day as the team tries to monitor his workload while he played through a strained left calf that's bothered him all season. Braun entered as a pinch hitter in the sixth and flew out with two on and two outs. ... 2B Eric Sogard (sprained left ankle) could rejoin the team during its weekend series in Philadelphia.

UP NEXT

Brewers: RHP Matt Garza (4-4) starts for Milwaukee as it begins the next leg of a 10-game road trip on Friday against the last-place Phillies.

Pirates: Start a nine-game, 10-day western road trip in Colorado on Friday. Rookie RHP Trevor Williams (3-4) faces fellow rookie Jeff Hoffman (6-1) in the opener.

Copyright 2017 by STATS. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS is strictly prohibited.

123456789RHE
MIL52-46
000200000290
PIT48-48
01012000X480
  • W: J. Taillon (6-3)L: J. Nelson (8-5)S: F. Rivero (9)
  • HR: PIT - G. Polanco (9)
PLAYERS OF THE GAME
HITTERSABRHRBIHRBBSOLOBAVGOBPSLGOPSFPTS
J. Villar 2B50200011.222.284.347.6311.5
D. Santana RF50000021.290.381.502.882-1.0
J. Aguilar 1B30100101.297.360.538.8982.0
T. Shaw 3B30000112.295.363.566.9290.5
H. Perez LF-CF31100112.268.301.448.7492.5
M. Pina C41200011.299.338.461.7993.5
B. Phillips CF20110010.211.286.421.7072.5
a- K. Broxton PH-CF10000011.219.295.432.727-0.5
b- E. Thames PH-LF10100000.251.371.545.9161.0
O. Arcia SS30110103.282.323.415.7383.0
J. Nelson P20000022.098.098.098.195-1.0
c- R. Braun PH10000002.258.339.528.8660.0
O. Drake P0000-000.000.000.000.000-
M. Blazek P0000-000.000.000.000.000-
d- J. Bandy PH10000000.216.288.378.6670.0
  • a-struck out for Phillips in the 6th
  • b-singled for Broxton in the 8th
  • c-flied out for Nelson in the 6th
  • d-grounded out for Blazek in the 9th
HITTERSABRHRBIHRBBSOLOBAVGOBPSLGOPSFPTS
S. Marte LF40000011.227.278.333.611-0.5
J. Harrison 3B41110000.277.354.432.7863.0
A. McCutchen CF40110000.288.377.506.8824.0
J. Bell 1B40100011.240.321.468.7880.5
G. Polanco RF41111011.268.322.425.7475.5
A. Frazier 2B31100010.265.342.360.7013.5
M. Moroff SS20000110.127.234.200.4340.5
C. Stewart C31310000.214.267.286.5525.0
J. Taillon P10000002.050.050.050.1000.0
W. LeBlanc P0000-000.200.200.200.000-
D. Hudson P0000-000.000.000.000.000-
a- J. Osuna PH10000001.245.288.456.7440.0
J. Nicasio P0000-000.000.000.000.000-
F. Rivero P00000000.000.000.000.0000.0
  • a-grounded into a double play for Hudson in the 7th
BATTING
  • 2B - J. Villar (11), M. Pina (15), B. Phillips
  • RBI - B. Phillips (3), O. Arcia (35)
BATTING
  • HR - G. Polanco (9)
  • SH - J. Taillon (3)
  • RBI - J. Harrison (32), A. McCutchen (53), G. Polanco (28), C. Stewart (3)
  • 2-Out RBI - J. Harrison (13), A. McCutchen (16), C. Stewart (3)
BASERUNNING
  • CS - J. Villar (7)
BASERUNNING
  • SB - A. McCutchen (9), A. Frazier (8)
PITCHERSIPHRERBBSOHRERAWHIPFPTS
J. Nelson (L, 8-5)5.06441513.431.231.5
O. Drake1.00000004.421.453.0
M. Blazek2.02000000.000.674.0
PITCHERSIP
J. Nelson (L, 8-5)5.0
O. Drake1.0
M. Blazek2.0
PITCHERSIPHRERBBSOHRERAWHIPFPTS
J. Taillon (W, 6-3)5.16222803.081.3716.0
W. LeBlanc (H, 3)0.20001103.931.17-0.5
D. Hudson (H, 16)1.01001104.121.401.5
J. Nicasio (H, 17)1.02000002.641.201.0
F. Rivero (S, 9)1.00000000.700.7010.0
PITCHERSIP
J. Taillon (W, 6-3)5.1
W. LeBlanc (H, 3)0.2
D. Hudson (H, 16)1.0
J. Nicasio (H, 17)1.0
F. Rivero (S, 9)1.0
PITCHING
  • Pitches-Strikes - J. Nelson 82-55, O. Drake 16-12, M. Blazek 29-18
  • Ground Balls-Fly Balls - J. Nelson 6-4, O. Drake 2-1, M. Blazek 2-3
  • Batters Faced - J. Nelson 22, O. Drake 3, M. Blazek 7
PITCHING
  • Pitches-Strikes - J. Taillon 116-74, W. LeBlanc 11-5, D. Hudson 23-13, J. Nicasio 11-9, F. Rivero 12-10
  • Ground Balls-Fly Balls - J. Taillon 5-3, D. Hudson 1-0, J. Nicasio 1-1, F. Rivero 3-0
  • Batters Faced - J. Taillon 24, W. LeBlanc 3, D. Hudson 4, J. Nicasio 4, F. Rivero 3
PLAYERS OF THE GAME
123456789RHE
MIL52-46
000200000290
PIT48-48
01012000X480
HITTERSABRHRBIHRBBSOLOBAVGOBPSLGOPSFPTS
J. Villar 2B50200011.222.284.347.6311.5
D. Santana RF50000021.290.381.502.882-1.0
J. Aguilar 1B30100101.297.360.538.8982.0
T. Shaw 3B30000112.295.363.566.9290.5
H. Perez LF-CF31100112.268.301.448.7492.5
M. Pina C41200011.299.338.461.7993.5
B. Phillips CF20110010.211.286.421.7072.5
a- K. Broxton PH-CF10000011.219.295.432.727-0.5
b- E. Thames PH-LF10100000.251.371.545.9161.0
O. Arcia SS30110103.282.323.415.7383.0
J. Nelson P20000022.098.098.098.195-1.0
c- R. Braun PH10000002.258.339.528.8660.0
O. Drake P0000-000.000.000.000.000-
M. Blazek P0000-000.000.000.000.000-
d- J. Bandy PH10000000.216.288.378.6670.0
Total34292041016-----
HITTERSAB
J. Villar 2B5
D. Santana RF5
J. Aguilar 1B3
T. Shaw 3B3
H. Perez LF-CF3
M. Pina C4
B. Phillips CF2
a- K. Broxton PH-CF1
b- E. Thames PH-LF1
O. Arcia SS3
J. Nelson P2
c- R. Braun PH1
O. Drake P0
M. Blazek P0
d- J. Bandy PH1
Total34
  • a-struck out for Phillips in the 6th
  • b-singled for Broxton in the 8th
  • c-flied out for Nelson in the 6th
  • d-grounded out for Blazek in the 9th
HITTERSABRHRBIHRBBSOLOBAVGOBPSLGOPSFPTS
S. Marte LF40000011.227.278.333.611-0.5
J. Harrison 3B41110000.277.354.432.7863.0
A. McCutchen CF40110000.288.377.506.8824.0
J. Bell 1B40100011.240.321.468.7880.5
G. Polanco RF41111011.268.322.425.7475.5
A. Frazier 2B31100010.265.342.360.7013.5
M. Moroff SS20000110.127.234.200.4340.5
C. Stewart C31310000.214.267.286.5525.0
J. Taillon P10000002.050.050.050.1000.0
W. LeBlanc P0000-000.200.200.200.000-
D. Hudson P0000-000.000.000.000.000-
a- J. Osuna PH10000001.245.288.456.7440.0
J. Nicasio P0000-000.000.000.000.000-
F. Rivero P00000000.000.000.000.0000.0
Total304841156-----
  • a-grounded into a double play for Hudson in the 7th
BATTING
  • 2B - J. Villar (11), M. Pina (15), B. Phillips
  • RBI - B. Phillips (3), O. Arcia (35)
BATTING
  • HR - G. Polanco (9)
  • SH - J. Taillon (3)
  • RBI - J. Harrison (32), A. McCutchen (53), G. Polanco (28), C. Stewart (3)
  • 2-Out RBI - J. Harrison (13), A. McCutchen (16), C. Stewart (3)
BASERUNNING
  • CS - J. Villar (7)
BASERUNNING
  • SB - A. McCutchen (9), A. Frazier (8)
PITCHERSIPHRERBBSOHRERAWHIPFPTS
J. Nelson (L, 8-5)5.06441513.431.231.5
O. Drake1.00000004.421.453.0
M. Blazek2.02000000.000.674.0
Total8.0844151---
PITCHERSIP
J. Nelson (L, 8-5)5.0
O. Drake1.0
M. Blazek2.0
Total8.0
PITCHERSIPHRERBBSOHRERAWHIPFPTS
J. Taillon (W, 6-3)5.16222803.081.3716.0
W. LeBlanc (H, 3)0.20001103.931.17-0.5
D. Hudson (H, 16)1.01001104.121.401.5
J. Nicasio (H, 17)1.02000002.641.201.0
F. Rivero (S, 9)1.00000000.700.7010.0
Total9.09224100---
PITCHERSIP
J. Taillon (W, 6-3)5.1
W. LeBlanc (H, 3)0.2
D. Hudson (H, 16)1.0
J. Nicasio (H, 17)1.0
F. Rivero (S, 9)1.0
Total9.0
PITCHING
  • Pitches-Strikes - J. Nelson 82-55, O. Drake 16-12, M. Blazek 29-18
  • Ground Balls-Fly Balls - J. Nelson 6-4, O. Drake 2-1, M. Blazek 2-3
  • Batters Faced - J. Nelson 22, O. Drake 3, M. Blazek 7
PITCHING
  • Pitches-Strikes - J. Taillon 116-74, W. LeBlanc 11-5, D. Hudson 23-13, J. Nicasio 11-9, F. Rivero 12-10
  • Ground Balls-Fly Balls - J. Taillon 5-3, D. Hudson 1-0, J. Nicasio 1-1, F. Rivero 3-0
  • Batters Faced - J. Taillon 24, W. LeBlanc 3, D. Hudson 4, J. Nicasio 4, F. Rivero 3
  • 5TH INNING
    McCutchen singled to right, Harrison scored24
    Harrison singled to right, Stewart scored, Harrison to second23
  • 4TH INNING
    Polanco homered to center22
    Arcia grounded out to second, Pina scored, Phillips to third21
    Phillips doubled to right, Perez scored, Pina to third11
  • 2ND INNING
    Stewart singled to shallow right, Frazier scored, Moroff to third01
  • 9TH INNING
    • Eric Thames in left
    • Felipe Rivero relieved Juan Nicasio
    • Jett Bandy hit for Michael Blazek
    • J. Bandy: Foul, Strike swinging, Bandy grounded out to shortstop
    • J. Villar: Ball, Strike swinging, Foul, Foul, Villar grounded out to shortstop
    • D. Santana: Strike swinging, Ball, Strike looking, Santana grounded out to third
    • Middle of the 9th (0 Runs, 0 Hits, 0 Errors)
  • 8TH INNING
    • Juan Nicasio pitching
    • H. Perez: Strike looking, Perez singled to right
    • M. Pina: Strike looking, Pina flied out to right
    • Eric Thames hit for Keon Broxton
    • E. Thames: Ball, Strike swinging, Thames singled to center, Perez to second
    • O. Arcia: Foul, Ball, Foul, Arcia grounded into double play second to shortstop to first, Thames out at second
    • Middle of the 8th (0 Runs, 2 Hits, 0 Errors)
    • M. Blazek Pitching:
    • J. Harrison: Strike looking, Ball, Ball, Strike looking, Harrison lined out to shortstop
    • A. McCutchen: Strike swinging, Ball, Ball, Strike looking, McCutchen grounded out to shortstop
    • J. Bell: Ball, Ball, Strike swinging, Strike (foul tip), Bell singled to left
    • G. Polanco: Pickoff attempt, Strike looking, Polanco fouled out to first
    • End of the 8th (0 Runs, 1 Hit, 0 Errors)
  • 7TH INNING
    • Daniel Hudson relieved Wade LeBlanc
    • J. Villar: Ball, Strike looking, Ball, Villar singled to right
    • D. Santana: Strike looking, Foul, Ball, Villar caught stealing, catcher to second, Ball, Santana grounded out to shortstop
    • J. Aguilar: Ball, Foul, Ball, Ball, Foul, Ball, Aguilar walked
    • T. Shaw: Ball, Strike looking, Foul, Foul, Foul, Foul, Ball, Strike swinging, Shaw struck out swinging
    • Middle of the 7th (0 Runs, 1 Hit, 0 Errors)
    • Michael Blazek relieved Oliver Drake
    • Ch. Stewart: Foul, Ball, Ball, Stewart singled to center
    • Jose Osuna hit for Daniel Hudson
    • J. Osuna: Jose Osuna facing Michael Blazek
    • D. Hudson: Ball, Foul, Ball, Osuna grounded into double play third to second to first, Stewart out at second
    • S. Marte: Strike looking, Strike looking, Ball, Marte flied out to right
    • End of the 7th (0 Runs, 1 Hit, 0 Errors)
  • 6TH INNING
    • J. Taillon Pitching:
    • H. Perez: Ball, Ball, Strike looking, Strike looking, Ball, Foul, Foul, Foul, Foul, Perez lined out to third
    • M. Pina: Strike looking, Ball, Strike swinging, Pina doubled to deep center
    • Wade LeBlanc relieved Jameson Taillon
    • Keon Broxton hit for Brett Phillips
    • K. Broxton: Strike swinging, Ball, Foul, Strike swinging, Broxton struck out swinging
    • O. Arcia: Strike looking, Ball, Ball, Ball, Ball, Arcia walked
    • Ryan Braun hit for Jimmy Nelson
    • R. Braun: Ball, Braun flied out to right
    • Middle of the 6th (0 Runs, 1 Hit, 0 Errors)
    • Oliver Drake pitching
    • G. Polanco: Polanco grounded out to pitcher
    • A. Frazier: Foul, Strike swinging, Foul, Ball, Foul, Frazier lined out to left
    • M. Moroff: Strike looking, Strike swinging, Foul, Foul, Foul, Ball, Ball, Ball, Moroff grounded out to shortstop
    • End of the 6th (0 Runs, 0 Hits, 0 Errors)
  • 5TH INNING
    • J. Taillon Pitching:
    • D. Santana: Ball, Strike swinging, Foul, Ball, Ball, Santana flied out to right
    • J. Aguilar: Ball, Ball, Strike looking, Ball, Strike swinging, Foul, Foul, Foul, Foul, Aguilar grounded out to shortstop
    • T. Shaw: Strike looking, Ball, Ball, Ball, Foul, Foul, Shaw grounded out to second
    • Middle of the 5th (0 Runs, 0 Hits, 0 Errors)
    • J. Nelson Pitching:
    • Ch. Stewart: Strike looking, Ball, Foul, Stewart singled to center
    • J. Taillon: Taillon hit sacrifice bunt to first, Stewart to second
    • S. Marte: Ball, Foul, Ball, Strike swinging, Strike swinging, Marte struck out swinging
    • J. Harrison: Foul, Harrison singled to right, Stewart scored, Harrison to second
    • A. McCutchen: Pickoff attempt, McCutchen singled to right, Harrison scored
    • J. Bell: Ball, McCutchen stole second, Bell grounded out to first
    • End of the 5th (2 Runs, 3 Hits, 0 Errors)
  • 4TH INNING
    • J. Taillon Pitching:
    • H. Perez: Strike swinging, Ball, Ball, Strike swinging, Ball, Foul, Foul, Ball, Perez walked
    • M. Pina: Foul, Pickoff attempt, Pickoff attempt, Ball, Pina reached on an infield single to shortstop, Perez to second
    • B. Phillips: Strike swinging, Ball, Ball, Phillips doubled to right, Perez scored, Pina to third
    • O. Arcia: Foul, Ball, Ball, Arcia grounded out to second, Pina scored, Phillips to third
    • J. Nelson: Foul, Foul, Strike looking, Nelson struck out looking
    • J. Villar: Villar grounded out to first
    • Middle of the 4th (2 Runs, 2 Hits, 0 Errors)
    • J. Nelson Pitching:
    • J. Bell: Ball, Strike swinging, Ball, Strike swinging, Strike looking, Bell struck out looking
    • G. Polanco: Strike (foul tip), Ball, Ball, Polanco homered to center
    • A. Frazier: Strike looking, Foul, Ball, Strike swinging, Frazier struck out swinging
    • M. Moroff: Strike looking, Ball, Ball, Foul, Ball, Strike swinging, Moroff struck out swinging
    • End of the 4th (1 Run, 1 Hit, 0 Errors)
  • 3RD INNING
    • J. Taillon Pitching:
    • J. Villar: Strike looking, Foul, Strike looking, Villar struck out looking
    • D. Santana: Strike looking, Ball, Foul, Foul, Ball, Strike swinging, Santana struck out swinging
    • J. Aguilar: Ball, Ball, Ball, Aguilar singled to left
    • T. Shaw: Shaw flied out to deep center
    • Middle of the 3rd (0 Runs, 1 Hit, 0 Errors)
    • J. Nelson Pitching:
    • S. Marte: Strike looking, Foul, Foul, Marte lined out to right
    • J. Harrison: Strike swinging, Ball, Strike swinging, Ball, Harrison grounded out to pitcher
    • A. McCutchen: Ball, Foul, Strike looking, McCutchen flied out to right
    • End of the 3rd (0 Runs, 0 Hits, 0 Errors)
  • 2ND INNING
    • J. Taillon Pitching:
    • M. Pina: Foul, Strike swinging, Foul, Ball, Strike looking, Pina struck out looking
    • B. Phillips: Ball, Foul, Strike swinging, Strike swinging, Phillips struck out swinging
    • O. Arcia: Foul, Ball, Strike looking, Arcia singled to center
    • J. Nelson: Strike swinging, Ball, Strike swinging, Strike swinging, Nelson struck out swinging
    • Middle of the 2nd (0 Runs, 1 Hit, 0 Errors)
    • J. Nelson Pitching:
    • J. Bell: Strike looking, Ball, Ball, Foul, Foul, Ball, Foul, Bell grounded out to second
    • G. Polanco: Foul, Strike looking, Ball, Strike swinging, Polanco struck out swinging
    • A. Frazier: Frazier singled to right
    • M. Moroff: Ball, Frazier stole second, Strike looking, Ball, Ball, Strike looking, Ball, Moroff walked
    • Ch. Stewart: Strike looking, Stewart singled to shallow right, Frazier scored, Moroff to third
    • J. Taillon: Foul, Strike looking, Taillon grounded out to pitcher
    • End of the 2nd (1 Run, 2 Hits, 0 Errors)
  • 1ST INNING
    • J. Taillon Pitching:
    • J. Villar: Ball, Foul, Ball, Foul, Foul, Ball, Villar doubled to left
    • D. Santana: Strike looking, Strike swinging, Strike swinging, Santana struck out swinging
    • J. Aguilar: Ball, Strike looking, Ball, Ball, Strike looking, Aguilar grounded out to shortstop, Villar to third
    • T. Shaw: Ball, Foul, Ball, Ball, Ball, Shaw walked
    • H. Perez: Ball, Foul, Foul, Foul tip, Perez struck out on foul tip
    • Middle of the 1st (0 Runs, 1 Hit, 0 Errors)
    • J. Nelson Pitching:
    • S. Marte: Ball, Foul, Marte grounded out to first
    • J. Harrison: Ball, Strike looking, Ball, Ball, Harrison lined out to first
    • A. McCutchen: Ball, Strike looking, McCutchen flied out to right
    • End of the 1st (0 Runs, 0 Hits, 0 Errors)