Volquez, Pirates fall to Brewers, 3-2
MILWAUKEE (AP) – Edison Volquez made few mistakes Saturday night, but there turned out to be little room for error as the Pittsburgh Pirates dropped a 3-2 decision to the Milwaukee Brewers Saturday night.
Volquez gave up a lead-off home run to Carlos Gomez and allowed another run on a second-inning wild pitch, ruining what, for the most part, had been a highly effective outing for the right-hander.
“It was another outstanding body of work,” Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. “He pitched out of some jams, good mix of pitches, kept them off balance. I thought (he) really battled the right-handed power and the guys who’ve been hot through that lineup very well.”
Volquez, making his second start of the season along with one relief appearance, gave up just one earned run and four hits in 6 1-3 innings. He struck out four and walked two.
“It was a pitch that came back to the middle,” Volquez said of the 432-foot home run he surrendered to Gomez. “It was supposed to go down and away and the ball just kept running to the middle.”
After falling behind 2-0, Pittsburgh tied it in the third on Starling Marte’s groundout and Travis Snider’s single off Brewers starter Yovani Gallardo’s, snapping Gallardo’s scoreless streak to start the season at 14 2-3 innings. Gallardo then held the Pirates scoreless over the next three innings, striking out the side in the fifth.
Gallardo went six innings, giving up two runs and six hits. He struck out six and walked one. He is 11-4 in his career against the Pirates.
“Both starters pitched really well,” Brewers catcher Jonathan Lucroy said. “It came down to the wire.”
The Brewers (9-2) put runners on second and third with one out in the seventh against Volquez, but Tony Watson came on and retired the next two batters to keep the score tied.
The Brewers broke through in the eighth. One-out singles by Ryan Braun and Aramis Ramirez off reliever Mark Melancon (0-1), who entered the game having retired the last 11 batters he faced, put runners on first and second for Lucroy, who singled to right to drive in Ryan Braun with what turned out to be the winning run.
The Pirates threatened in the sixth when Andrew McCutchen doubled with one out and moved to third on a groundout. Gallardo struck out Russell Martin looking to end the inning.
Pittsburgh threatened again in the eighth, but the rally was thwarted in bizarre fashion.
With runners on first and third and one out, McCutchen hit a towering popup behind home plate. Lucroy made the catch and Snider attempted to tag up from first, but Lucroy alertly threw to shortstop Jean Segura covering the bag. As Snider retreated toward first, Marte broke for home but was tagged out by Brewers reliever Jim Henderson covering the plate to end the inning.
Hurdle said having Snider break from first base was planned.
“It’s a play that we have in place that we work on all spring that won us a ball game last year. We tag at first, draw the throw to second and then send the runner from third. We tried to steal a run,” Hurdle said.
Stellar defensive execution by the Brewers thwarted the effort, Snider said.
“They threw a perfect strike and the pitcher was there to block the plate,” he said. “It was well-executed on the defensive part. We took a shot. It didn’t come out our way.”
Henderson (1-0) pitched a scoreless inning of relief for the win. Francisco Rodriguez got his fourth save in four attempts.
Four Brewers relievers held the Pirates without a run over the final three innings.
NOTES: McCutchen was back in the lineup after being lifted in the eighth inning of Friday night’s game with a sore ankle. .The Brewers placed reliever Brandon Kintzler on the 15-day disabled list with a mild rotator cuff strain. Pitcher Rob Wooten was recalled from Triple-A Nashville. .It was Gomez’s second leadoff homer of the season. … Milwaukee RHP Kyle Lohse (1-1) faces RHP Charlie Morton (0-0) in the series finale Sunday.