Milwaukee – Brewers ace Corbin Burns has made things easier for his teammates this season, shutting down opponents and working deep into games.
When he failed to do any of these things on Saturday, Milwaukee paid him back with an impressive bullpen effort and blasted five runs in the fourth inning GTO key with a 7-4 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates.
“We owe one of them,” said Brewers manager Craig Counsell.
Burns conceded three runs in the first innings, got himself under control but then loaded the base in the fifth without a dismissal. Trevor Richards (1-0) relieved and scored three straight runs to end the threat and maintain a three-run lead.
“It’s clearly the best innings we’ve seen of him,” Counsel said of Richards.
Christian Yelich delivered the biggest hit of the day, doubled left-center with loaded bases and a fifth. It was one of two hits for Yelich, who recorded his first multihit game since May 24 and the sixth of the season.
“I was just trying not to end something really,” Yelich said. “Make sure if you’re going there early, swing on the pitch early in the count, make sure you’re getting smart with it.”
Pittsburgh right-hander Chad Kuhl (0-4) gave away six runs, earned five, five hits and four runs in 3 1/3 innings. He scored two runs in 10 career appearances (nine starts), losing to Milwaukee for the first time.
“I’m struggling,” Kuhl said. “It’s frustrating from a personal standpoint, it’s not about going there and being the person people expect you to be.”
The Pirates had 10 hits, including three from second baseman Adam Fraser, but took 2 for 16 with the runners in the scoring position and trapped in 10.
“We had some conditions to score runs against the back end of the bullpen,” said Pirates manager Derek Shelton. “We have to get better and find a way to play the ball.”
Pittsburgh made an early jump on Burns, who conceded four runs, earned two, eight hits and three walks with eight outs in four innings.
The normally locked-in Burns found himself in a 2-0 hole in just 19 pitches in the game. Fraser and Philip Evans started with back-to-back singles and made a poor throw when Burns returned by Brian Reynolds.
Reynolds scored when Jacob Stallings bounced in double play for the first two outs of the innings, and the Pirates added another when Eric Gonzalez and Kai Tom opened the second with consecutive triples.
Before struggling in fifth, Burns retired seven of his next 10 batsmen.
“When you’re dropping bloop hits and two triples that didn’t hit more than 70 mph, it’s hard to be upset about,” Burns said. “You just shake your head. That’s baseball.”
Milwaukee has won three in a row and 13 out of 15. It sits half a game ahead of the Cubs in the NL Central while the Pirates dropped their sixth and ninth in 12 consecutive games.
Shaw ready for rehab
Brewers third baseman Travis Shaw will take a few more days to ease the pain in his displaced left shoulder before starting a rehab plan, which he hopes will be back on the field before the end of the season.
Keller returns the minors
The Pirates picked struggling pitcher Mitch Keller for Triple-A Indianapolis on Saturday, hoping the right-hander can rediscover the form that made him the organization’s top prospect.
Keller, 25, has scored six earned runs in 4 2/3 innings in his last two starts and 1-4 in his last six outings with a 7.83 ERA.
“Mitch Keller is going to be a good major league pitcher,” Shelton said.
Keller is 5-13 with 6.31 ERA in 28 since making his debut in 2019.
Pirates: Pittsburgh puts LHP Trevor Cahill on 10-day injured list with left calf strain. Cahill is 1-5 with a 6.57 ERA in nine appearances (eight starts) this season for the Pirates, who signed him to a one-year deal in mid-March.
Brewers: As well as moving Shaw to a 60-day injury list, Milwaukee placed outfielder Tyrone Taylor on a 10-day injury list after suffering a right shoulder strain while making a throw during batting practice on Friday.
Will Crowe (0-4, 7.26 ERA) was recalled from Indianapolis and will start in Cahill’s place on Sunday when the Pirates finish their three-game trip to Milwaukee. Right-hander Adrian Houser (4-5, 3.66) got the nod for Milwaukee.
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