MILWAUKEE (AP) – Taylor Jungmann has found a groove against the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Jungmann, who made his major league debut against the Pirates in June, pitched six strong innings to help the Milwaukee Brewers beat Pittsburgh 5-3 Thursday night.
Jungmann is 3-0 in three starts against Pittsburgh this season, pitching to a 1.35 ERA over 20 innings.
“I’ve thrown well against them. That’s a good team,” Jungmann said. “It’s always fun to throw against a team like that.”
The Brewers completed a sweep against the Pirates and beat them for the sixth straight time.
“It’s always good to sweep somebody but for it to be a division rival, especially as good as our division is, is a plus,” Jungmann said.
The three losses at Miller Park dropped the Pirates 6 1/2 games behind the NL Central-leading Cardinals. Pittsburgh opens a three-game series at St. Louis on Friday night.
Domingo Santana homered for Milwaukee, which outscored the Pirates 39-18 during its run. The fourth-place Brewers play four times at PNC Park next week.
“We just beat a really good team three times. I’m proud of the guys,” Milwaukee manager Craig Counsell said.
Jungmann (9-5) gave up one run and three hits. He struggled early, throwing 50 pitches in the first two innings. He walked a batter, hit another and threw a wild pitch in the second.
“Getting out of an inning like that is always huge. You try to go in the dugout and clear your head a little and then try to catch a rhythm, Jungmann said.
Counsell praised his pitcher’s ability to pitch out of trouble.
“He has those innings that he might scuffle a little bit but he’s so good about not giving in or making that mistake that costs him the big number,” Counsell said.
Francisco Rodriguez closed for his 33rd save in 34 chances.
Francisco Liriano (9-7) gave up an RBI double to Khris Davis in the fifth that gave Milwaukee a 2-1 lead.
The Brewers added two more runs in the sixth, the first on a triple by Hernan Perez, who had a career-high three hits. Elian Herrera followed with what initially was ruled a two-run homer, but was changed to a double after a review.
“I think we want to battle to the last game of the season. We won’t give up to any team,” Perez said.
Jordy Mercer and Jung Ho Kang drove in runs in the seventh to cut the Brewers’ lead to 4-3.
Santana hit a leadoff home run in the eighth.
Jungmann belted a double off the left-field wall leading off the third. The rookie hurler is 9 for 28 (.321 average) at the plate this season. He also has five sacrifice bunts and a walk. Jungmann leads all major league pitchers in batting average (20 or more plate appearances). “That’s probably the best one I’ve hit since high school. I was just trying to put the ball in play. I didn’t think it would go that far.” Jungmann’s hitting prowess is a surprise, Counsell said. “It’s definitely not something I was expecting,” he said.
The Brewers honored Pirates third-baseman Aramis Ramirez before the game. Ramirez, who is retiring at season’s end, played for the Brewers from 2012 until being traded to Pittsburgh in July. The Brewers presented Ramirez with third base from his final game as a Brewer and a plaque listing his accomplishments.
Pirates: OF Andrew McCutchen was given the night off due to what manager Clint Hurdle described as left knee soreness. “We’ve been talking about a day off for the past four or five days,” Hurdle said. McCutchen later said in the clubhouse that he has a sore Achilles. He is expected to play Friday at St. Louis. … 1B/OF Corey Hart has been returned from his rehabilitation assignment with Triple-A Indianapolis. He will remain on the major league disabled list for the remainder of the season and has returned home to Arizona.
Brewers: Jungmann was hit on his pitching hand by a hard grounder off the bat of Ramirez in the sixth. The right-hander stayed in the game after being checked by trainers. … RHP Tyler Cravy, who’s on the 15-day disabled list with a right elbow impingement, had his bullpen session rescheduled from Thursday to Friday. He could be activated by Monday, Counsell said.
Pirates: J.A. Happ (3-1, 1.98 ERA) will pitch the opener of a three-game series at St. Louis. Happ is 1-8 with a 6.79 ERA, including six consecutive losses, in 10 career starts against the Cardinals. He hasn’t faced St. Louis since June 7, 2012, as a member of the Houston Astros.
Brewers: Matt Garza (6-14, 5.56 ERA) will be on the mound as Milwaukee opens a four-game series at Cincinnati. He is 4-3 with a 4.71 ERA in 11 career starts against the Reds, including 1-0 with a 7.84 ERA in two starts this season.
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