By: Josh Taylor

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PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – A season in Major League Baseball takes place over six months, and in 162 games both teams and players go through ups and downs. The Pirates have become a qualified microcosm of that this season, perhaps at their own detriment. They have put together three streaks this season with four or more wins, but have also had four streaks with four or more losses.

After reaching their high water mark of the season on May 17 with a 26-17 record, the Pirates went on to post a 6-18 record in the next 24 games and lost eight straight series. Since then, they’ve won four of their last five to level out at 36-36 after beating the Milwaukee Brewers last night, 1-0.

(Photo Credit: Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)

“Baseball kicks your ass,” said pitcher Trevor Williams, who allowed only one hit over seven innings with seven strikeouts to earn his sixth win of the season and his first in more than a month. “The highs are so high and the lows are so low, you really have to be even-keeled and you have to keep that steady climb and know that I’m going to go to sleep tonight and the sun’s going to come up tomorrow.

“We’re going to have another game and another opportunity to really prove yourself and give the team a chance to win.”

Shortstop Jordy Mercer, whose RBI double in the seventh inning scored the game’s only run, credited Williams for setting the tone and putting the Pirates in position to win.

“He’s got a good rhythm,” Mercer said. “He throws a lot of strikes, he keeps us on our toes, and I think the innings go by quickly and we’re ready to go. We’re making plays, we’re feeding off each other and we’re taking that into the dugout. We wanted to get Trev the win, obviously, and I think it starts with him.”

PITTSBURGH, PA – JUNE 18: Felipe Vazquez #73 of the Pittsburgh Pirates and Josh Bell #55 of the Pittsburgh Pirates celebrate after defeating the Milwaukee Brewers 1-0 at PNC Park on June 18, 2018 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)

The Pirates also played what Mercer called “the most complete game probably that we’ve played all year,” aided by solid defensive play. Second baseman Josh Harrison made a diving throw to rob Eric Sogard of a base hit after a fielding a ground ball that deflected off relief pitcher Kyle Crick’s glove and changed direction in front of him.

“He threw really well today, made pitches, and it was one of those games were both pitchers were kind of cruising, and Jordy came up with a big hit today,” said Harrison. “You don’t want to put more emphasis on one game than the other, but those tight ones like that, you want to make all the defensive plays you can because as it showed tonight, one hit can win it.

“We told [Trevor] when he came out, ‘You deserve this win when we get this run,’ and we did, and definitely deserving for him.”

Williams had labored in his previous five starts, allowing 20 earned runs in 21 innings. Opposing hitters were hitting .337 against him in that span.

“It sucks watching, I’m sure, as a fan, if I was a fan and I was watching a guy going through a struggle,” said Williams. “It’s tough to trust guys to do that, but know that we have the belief in ourselves.

“It’s a tough stretch for everybody, but it’s not going to be the last tough stretch we get, so we have to constantly rely on each other, rely on the management, and get that belief in ourselves like we have.”

With last night’s win the Pirates are now six games behind the Brewers for first place in the National League Central division. They have two more opportunities to cut that deficit down with two games remaining in their three-game series.

First pitch is at 7:05 tonight and tomorrow night at PNC Park.