MILWAUKEE (AP) — Steven Brault and four relievers combined on a three-hitter to lift the Pittsburgh Pirates to a 7-0 victory over the Milwaukee Brewers on Monday night.
Milwaukee didn’t get a runner past first base against the Pirates and fell 2 ½ games behind Chicago in the NL Central after outscoring the Cubs 20-3 in a three-game sweep at Wrigley Field over the weekend.
Andrew McCutchen, Starling Marte and Jordy Mercer homered for Pittsburgh, which staggered into the game with a five-game losing streak.
Brault (1-0), making his second start of the season, only allowed a fourth-inning walk to Ryan Braun and a fifth-inning leadoff single to Jesus Aguilar. He struck out six in six innings for his first major-league win.
Brault also helped at the plate, going 2 for 3 with a double and a bases loaded, two-RBI single in the sixth to give Pittsburgh a 6-0 lead.
The left-hander was named the Most Valuable Pitcher in the International League after posting a 10-5 record with a 1.94 ERA for Triple-A Indianapolis. But he came into the game with an 0-3 record and 5.19 ERA in 15 appearances over two seasons in the majors.
Milwaukee rookie Brandon Woodruff (1-2), allowed six runs on seven hits and a walk in five innings.
McCutchen hit a two-run homer in the first and Marte hit a two-run homer in the fifth to make it 4-0 against Woodruff. The Brewers intentionally walked Mercer with two outs in the sixth to load the bases, but Brault hit a sharp two-run single to center to make it 6-0.
Mercer hit his 14th homer, a solo shot, in the eighth to close the scoring.
Milwaukee’s Manny Pina singled to open the eighth off Daniel Hudson but was promptly erased on a double play. Domingo Santana singled in the ninth.
It was McCutchen’s 24th home run and 199th in his career, but first since Aug. 8 and only his second in 38 games. Marte, who hit his sixth homer, came into the game in a 2 for 23 slump, but is hitting .370 (20 for 54) in his last 14 games at Miller Park.
BRAULT CAN HIT
In five minor-league seasons, Brault is batting .419 (13 for 31). In the majors, he is batting .294 (5 for 17) in his two-year career. He has not struck out in 18 major-league plate appearances.
Pirates: RHP Joaquin Benoit left the team to attend to a family matter in the Dominican Republic.
Brewers: The team hasn’t announced a starter for Wednesday’s series finale to replace Jimmy Nelson (right rotator cuff strain and partial anterior labrum tear). Manager Craig Counsell said all options were being considered, including calling up a starter from the minors.
Pirates: RHP Gerrit Cole (11-9), 8-0 with a 2.38 ERA in his last nine road starts, will pitch in the middle game of the three-game series.
Brewers: LHP Brent Suter (2-2) will make his 11th start for Milwaukee on Tuesday night. Counsell said Suter’s arm wasn’t stretched out for him to make a full start. He pitched three innings in his last start on Sept. 3.
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