MILWAUKEE — Avisaíl García hit a two-run homer, Christian Yelich provided a pinch-hit sacrifice fly on his bobblehead day and the Milwaukee Brewers completed a three-game sweep of the Pittsburgh Pirates with a 5-2 win on Sunday at American Family Field.
Despite getting outhit 10-5, Milwaukee won for the 14th time in 16 games, including seven in a row at home.
“We had opportunities today and left people on base,” Pirates manager Derek Shelton said after his team left 10 on base and went 1-for-7 with runners in scoring position. “We left too many guys on base.”
The Pirates have lost seven straight. They were swept in back-to-back series after losing three at home against the Dodgers before heading to Milwaukee.
Brent Suter (8-3) picked up the win, getting the final out in the sixth. Brad Boxberger handled the seventh, Devin Williams the eighth and Josh Hader struck out the side in the ninth for his 17th save in as many chances.
Wil Crowe gave the Pirates beleaguered rotation a big lift with five impressive innings, but the bullpen couldn’t match his effort.
“We get to play a kid’s game for a living,” Crowe said. “I got to use that as my mentality.”
Crowe allowed a leadoff single to Luis Urías and an RBI double by Daniel Vogelbach in the first, then retired the next 15 batters, striking out a career-high eight, before walking Tim Lopes to start the sixth.
“Crowe, he was sensational and gave them a great opportunity,” Brewers bench coach Pat Murphy said. “(He) stifled us for a while.”
Murphy filled in for manager Craig Counsell, who was at his son Brady’s high school graduation
Pittsburgh turned to David Bednar (0-1) to protect the 2-1 led and Urías hit a run-scoring triple to tie it at 2. García then drove the first pitch just over the right-field wall for his 13th home run of the season.
Crowe was recalled Saturday from Class AAA Indianapolis when the Pirates placed Trevor Cahill (left calf strain) on the 10-day injured list.
“While their starter deserves a lot of credit, we put together some team offense when it counted,” Murphy said.
Jacob Stallings chased Milwaukee starter Adrian Houser with his fifth homer, a two-out shot that landed in the Brewers bullpen in left.
Murphy subs for Counsell
“I think it’s a great gesture on his part to be with his family first,” Murphy said of Counsell’s decision. “That’s what the organization stands for.”
Frazier stays hot
Adam Frazier came in batting .333 on the trip and added two more base hits against the Brewers to improve to .385 (5-for-13). He’s hit safely in eight of his last nine games at American Family Field and 25 of the last 27 games overall.
Around the horn
Yelich almost had a scheduled game off. The Brewers remain cautious after his two stints on the 10-day injured list (lower back strain) already this season. ... Phillip Evans replaced Pirates first baseman Colin Moran before the Brewers batted in the second. Moran has low back tightness and is day-to-day.
Brewers left-hander Eric Lauer (1-2, 4.82 ERA) squares off against right-hander Vladimir Gutiérrez (2-1, 2.65 ERA) and the Cincinnati Reds in the first of three games.
Watch now: 5 of the Brewers' most eye-popping defensive plays so far this season
April 1: Luis Urias' debut
The Brewers wanted to see what Luis Urias could do at shortstop this season and he didn't make them wait long to find out. Three pitches into the first inning of the season, Urias made a leaping grab to rob Twins leadoff hitter Luis Arraez of a base hit.
Urias, 23, was expected to share time at shortstop with Orlando Arcia, but now the job is his after the Brewers dealt Arcia to Atlanta for a pair of right-handed pitchers.
"He has earned this and it's an important time for him," Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. "He's going to get a great opportunity here."
April 6: Kolten Wong's double play
Kolten Wong's two Gold Glove Awards were a primary reason the Brewers signed him to a two-year, $18 million contract ahead of Spring Training and while he hasn't made much of an impact at the plate, his defense has already lived up to expectations.
Wong put his elite glove work on display late in the April 6 game against the Cubs. The Brewers led, 4-0, when Brad Boxberger drilled Cubs catcher Willson Contreras to lead off the ninth. With left-handed hitting Anthony Rizzo up, Milwaukee's infield went into a full shift with Wong lined a up a few steps over and behind first baseman Travis Shaw — perfectly positioned to scoop up Rizzo's grounder.
But instead of just tossing to Shaw for the easy out, Wong was able to turn around, get a throw off to third baseman Daniel Robertson who charged the bag for the force then got the relay to first in time to retire Rizzo.
At first glance, the play looked to be a routine double play, but Counsell said Wong's skill disguised its difficulty.
"It’s a hard play that he made look very easy, that’s the best way I can describe it," Counsell said. "The degree of difficulty was much more than Kolten made it seem. That’s what great defenders do: they make hard plays look fairly routine.
"Once he put it in his glove, the double play looked fairly routine."
April 7: Avisail Garcia saves the shutout
Brandon Woodruff's no-hit bid had just been spoiled by an Ian Happ single and the Cubs were threatening to break a scoreless tie when Kris Bryant sent a 3-2 fastball to shallow right field.
Avisail Garcia charged, slid and hauled it in to rob Bryant of a single, snuff out a potential rally and close out a sparkling effort for Woodruff.
"Honestly, when Bryant hit that I did not think that there was going to be a shot to catch it," Woodruff said. "Then the ball just kind of hung up there at the last second and he kind of closed in on it and made a heck of a catch. That was huge."
It turned out to be even bigger when Lorenzo Cain hit the first of his two go-ahead home runs in the eighth inning as the Brewers clinched the series with a 4-1, 10-inning victory.
April 10: Travis Shaw's diving stop
Most of the discussion when Shaw returned to the Brewers on a minor league deal this spring focused on his bat, and while he's been one of the team's best offensive performers so far, he's also provided steady defense at third base.
Shaw made a number of important plays April 10 against the Cardinals, including a diving stop to rob Austin Dean of a game-tying single with two out in the fourth inning and a nice backhanded grab to start a double play later in the game.
"Just play after play," Counsell said. "He had a big day and impacted the game in many ways."
April 10: Jackie Bradley Jr. robs Justin Williams
Moments after Dean cut the Brewers' lead to four with a three-run homer in the eighth off Josh Lindblom, Jackie Bradley Jr. charged to the wall in center to pull back what would have been a solo home run by Justin Williams for the first out of the inning.
"Jackie hasn’t gotten hot with the bat yet but I think he’s shown us defensively why he’s got such a great reputation," Counsell said.