(The Sports Xchange) - The Milwaukee Brewers finished off a three-game sweep of the Pittsburgh Pirates - their second of the season - with a 5-3 victory Thursday night at Miller Park, which has been nothing short of a house of horrors for the Pirates since it opened in 2001.
Pittsburgh is 84-41 at the stadium but, after Thursday, is just 17-61 since the 2007 season.
This year alone, the Pirates dropped seven of nine meetings there, exactly the same number that separates them from the Cardinals in the standings.
Pitching again let the Pirates down. Left-hander Francisco Liriano was tagged for four runs on seven hits and five walks while striking out four.
“He had six three-ball counts and it didn’t look like he was wild by any means. He was working hard,” Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said.
“I thought he was making pitches and wasn’t getting them. You have to make a better pitch or try to make a better pitch.”
Liriano (9-7) worked out of it without further damage but gave up one more in the fifth, on left fielder Khris Davis’ double then gave up three straight hits, including a double off the top of the wall in left by third baseman Elian Herrera that put Milwaukee up, 4-1.
The lead seemed to be all the cushion right-hander Taylor Jungmann (9-5) needed. The rookie right-hander overcame a slow start to go six innings, holding the Pirates to a run on three hits and two walks with three strikeouts.
He needed 50 pitches to get through his first two innings, but worked out of a bases-loaded jam in the second and retired eight in a row before shortstop Jody Mercer hit the first of his two doubles to lead off the fifth.
“Getting out of an inning like that is always huge,” Jungmann said. “You try to go in the dugout and clear your head a little and then try to catch a rhythm.”
But left-hander Will Smith struggled after taking over in the seventh and allowed five of his six batters to reach base, making it a 4-3 game.
The Brewers called on right-hander Tyler Thornburg, who struck out third baseman Aramis Ramirez with the go-ahead run at first to end the inning.
Santana gave Milwaukee a much-needed insurance run with a solo home run in the eighth and right-hander Francisco Rodriguez worked a perfect ninth for his 33rd save of the year.