PITTSBURGH (AP) – Rain delays usually are unkind to starting pitchers. Often, a delay will force a starter’s premature exit.
But for Milwaukee right-hander Jimmy Nelson, the first of two delays didn’t stand in his way. He pitched six shutout innings and the Milwaukee Brewers beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 2-0 on Monday night in a game delayed more than two hours by rain.
“I threw yesterday (now) so it was a long one,” Nelson said. “Those ones, it’s definitely a lot nicer to come out with that win.”
Nelson (3-6) gave up four hits and walked three. He struck out seven.
“The first delay really wasn’t too long,” Nelson said. “I came up here and threw a heat pack on. By the time it was on for a few minutes it was time to get back out there.”
The game was delayed for 28 minutes in the home fourth then again for one hour and 45 minutes at the beginning of the eighth inning. The delays totaled two hours and 13 minutes.
Milwaukee manager Craig Counsell knew the game would be delayed at some point due to the unfavorable weather forecasts.
“I was just happy the first delay was short enough where we could leave Jimmy out there and he gave us six great innings,” Counsell said. “He was locked in from the start.”
Aramis Ramirez singled leading off the fifth and moved to third on Gerardo Parra’s double. Jean Segura drove Ramirez home with a groundout to short for a 1-0 Milwaukee lead.
Like Nelson, Pirates starter A.J. Burnett returned to the mound but said he still felt good after the delay.
“That has nothing to do with it. The pitch wasn’t exactly where I wanted it but that’s no excuse.”
Pittsburgh was poised to get on the board in the third when Francisco Cervelli singled then moved to third on Jordy Mercer’s single. But Nelson induced two groundouts and recorded a strikeout to escape unscathed.
“We get in jams and he got better,” Counsell said. “He took control of those situations and he got better in those situations.”
The Pirates went 0-for-10 with runners in scoring position and stranded nine men on base.
Milwaukee scored again after the second rain delay. Ryan Braun fought through a 12-pitch at-bat against Pittsburgh left-hander Antonio Bastardo to drive Carlos Gomez home with a single to right.
Burnett (6-2) yielded one run and five hits in seven innings. He walked one and struck out six.
Francisco Rodriguez worked a scoreless ninth for his 11th save.
Milwaukee selected OF Trenton Clark out of Richland High School in Texas with the No. 15-overall pick Monday. Clark was ranked as one of the top prep prospects and hit .518 this season.
Nelson beat the Pirates for the second time this season, making up the majority of his three victories. In three outings against Pittsburgh in 2015, Nelson is 2-1 with a 1.00 ERA having allowed just two runs over 18 innings.
Over his six innings, Nelson worked out of jams that resulted in Pittsburgh stranding runners in scoring position three times.
“I was just trying to go pitch by pitch and minimize it and execute my pitches,” Nelson said. “Whatever happens after that I can’t control it.”
Brewers: RHP Taylor Jungmann makes his major-league debut as the Brewers continue their three-game series in Pittsburgh. Jungmann is 2-3 with a 6.37 ERA in nine starts for Triple-A Colorado Springs.
Pirates: LHP Francisco Liriano (3-4, 3.24 ERA) looks to win his fourth consecutive start Tuesday. Liriano has struck out 29 batters over his last 19 innings pitched and never lost to Milwaukee at PNC Park as a member of the Pirates.
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