Davies stays undefeated as Brewers top Pirates
Zach Davies allowed eight hits over eight-plus innings, giving Milwaukee's bullpen a welcome break in a 4-2 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates on Sunday.
Davies (6-0) struck out three and walked one to remain unbeaten. He left after allowing a leadoff double to Colin Moran in the ninth.
Corbin Burnes inherited a two-on, one-out jam in the ninth but wiggled free to pick up his first save of the season and second of his career.
A day after needing six pitchers and nearly 5 ½ hours to earn a wild 12-10 win in 13 innings, the Brewers worked far more crisply to take three of four from Pittsburgh in the first meeting of the season between the NL Central rivals. The game was played in 2 hours, 41 minutes.
Eric Thames hit a two-run homer and an RBI double for Milwaukee. Christian Yelich and Ryan Braun each had two hits.
Thames sent a pitch from Jordan Lyles (5-3) into the right-field seats in the third inning, then drove home Keston Hiura with a drive to the left-center gap in the fourth.
Bryan Reynolds had two hits, pushing his hitting streak to 11 games - the rookie's second 11-game string since making his debut on April 20 - and Josh Bell added an RBI double but the Pirates mustered little momentum against Davies.
The right-hander kept Pittsburgh off balance by changing speeds and working quickly. He threw 107 pitches while working eight innings for just the second time in his five-year career.
Milwaukee's relievers needed the break after throwing 19 1/3 innings over the first three games of the series.
Lyles has been one of the few constants in Pittsburgh's injury-riddled starting rotation. He made his 11th start of the season as scheduled five days after exiting a loss to Cincinnati with discomfort in his left hamstring.
Lyles, who made the club out of spring training as the fifth starter, ran into intermittent trouble against the NL Central-leading Brewers. He allowed at least one base runner in five of his six innings and Thames pounced on his mistakes. Thames' seventh home run of the season just cleared the 21-foot high Clemente Wall in right field to put Milwaukee in front 3-0.
An inning later he sent a liner that rolled to the notch in left-center, giving Hiura time to score all the way from first.
It was all the support Davies would need. Kevin Newman hit a sacrifice fly in the third to put Pittsburgh on the board and Bell added an RBI groundout but otherwise the Pirates did little.
Pittsburgh put two runners on in the ninth thanks to Moran's double and a catcher's interference call against Manny Piña - his second of the day. But Burnes entered and struck out pinch-hitter Elias Diaz before getting Newman to ground out to second to end it.
Brewers: RHP Jhoulys Chacin was placed on the 10-day injured list with a lower back strain. RHP Jimmy Nelson will start in Chacin's place on Wednesday against Miami, Nelson's first major league appearance since injuring his right shoulder on Sept. 8, 2017. ... 2B Mike Moustakas (bruised right hand) was held out of the lineup as a precaution a day after being with a 101 mph fastball by Pirates closer Felipe Vázquez.
Pirates: RHP Trevor Williams (right side strain) was scheduled to pitch a simulated game on Sunday. Williams hasn't pitched since May 16.
Brewers: Open a three-game series with Miami on Tuesday when Chase Anderson (3-0, 3.31 ERA) faces Pablo Lopez (3-5, 4.99).
Pirates: Are off Monday then welcome Atlanta for a three-game set starting Tuesday. Steven Brault (2-1, 5.87 ERA) will start the opener. Brault pitched 5 1/3 scoreless innings last week against Cincinnati.