Brewers bid for fifth straight win in series opener vs. Pirates

Field Level Media

April 22, 2024 at 11:29 am.

Looking to extend their third four-game winning streak of the season, the Milwaukee Brewers will begin the second leg of a seven-game trip on Monday evening when they face the Pittsburgh Pirates.

The Brewers completed a road sweep of the St. Louis Cardinals with a 2-0 win Sunday as Blake Perkins robbed a home run in the first inning and Owen Miller hit a clutch two-run single in the seventh.

“(The sweep is) pretty special,” Miller said. “Glad we showed up, got some balls to fall our way and just kept competing.”

One thing that Milwaukee hasn’t done on its way to the top of the National League Central is keep its winning ways up for five straight games.

A quality outing from right-hander Joe Ross (1-1, 4.91 ERA) would be key on Monday. That start will come one day after DL Hall (sprained left knee) was placed on the 15-day injured list and starter Colin Rea threw five shutout innings.

“The guys are battling, and they’re coming up big for us over and over,” first-year Milwaukee manager Pat Murphy said.

Ross allowed seven runs (six earned) on nine hits across 4 2/3 innings in a 7-3 loss to the San Diego Padres last Monday.

In that game, the Brewers held a 3-1 lead entering the fifth inning. From there, the Padres logged six hits and benefited from a passed ball, a catcher’s interference call and a pitch-clock violation.

“He threw the ball really well. It wasn’t (on) Joe Ross,” Murphy said. “It just was like — a snakebit inning and we still had a chance to win.”

The 30-year-old Ross, who had not pitched in MLB games since 2021 before this season, worked 6 1/3 innings with a season-high seven strikeouts on April 9 at Cincinnati.

Ross is 1-1 with a 2.33 ERA in four career starts against Pittsburgh.

The Pirates, meanwhile, will give the ball to 22-year-old rookie right-hander Jared Jones (1-2, 3.13 ERA) on Monday as they look to erase being swept in consecutive three-game series by the New York Mets and Boston Red Sox. They fell 6-1 to the Red Sox on Sunday.

After being held to five runs across three games in New York last week, Pittsburgh managed only four in the weekend set against Boston.

As a result, the Pirates have suffered six straight losses and nine in an 11-game span.

“I think everything in the game is magnified when we’re in a skid like this,” outfielder Connor Joe said. “Whether it’s a pitch, whether it’s an at-bat or something that happens in the field.”

The offensive struggles have recently impacted other areas, including baserunning and defense on Sunday.

“You can point out multiple things that we need to clean up,” Pirates manager Derek Shelton said. “In certain situations, guys are trying to do a little too much.”

Jones certainly did his part despite taking a no-decision in his last start on Tuesday against the Mets, allowing just one hit across five scoreless innings.

The Pirates’ No. 3 prospect, according to Baseball America entering the season, Jones has recorded at least seven strikeouts in each of his first four starts. He reached that mark his last time out despite being limited to 59 pitches, 50 of which were strikes.

“Do you want to see me down the road or do you want to see me get shut down? That’s what I think of it,” Jones said. “It all makes sense the way (Shelton) worded it and told me. It’s awesome that they are looking out for me, my health.”

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