Nelson solid again vs. Bucs before being pulled
Need for offense causes pitcher to leave after five innings
PITTSBURGH -- Last time out, Jimmy Nelson befuddled the Pirates for seven scoreless innings. He struck out a career-high nine batters, leaning on an effective curveball Pittsburgh's hitters weren't at all prepared for.
The Pirates quickly got a rematch with Nelson, as he faced them Friday night at PNC Park. This time around, a few mistakes on his part and the Brewers' continued difficulty scoring runs led to a 6-3 loss.
Nelson still pitched well by almost any standard. He allowed only five hits and walked nobody. He struck out three and gave up three runs (two earned) over five innings.
And he clearly had more in the tank, as he was pulled after throwing only 73 pitches. But it was a move manager Ron Roenicke had to make, as the Brewers were trailing by a run with two men on and two outs in the sixth inning.
"Jimmy's got a lot of pitches left, and I'm having to take him out because we're always behind trying to catch up," Roenicke said. "When we get that chance, I'm like, 'Well, we better take it now,' and then you go through a bunch of bullpen guys."
Nelson gave up only one hit through his first three innings of work. He hit a batter in the fourth, a curveball got by catcher Jonathan Lucroy and he eventually surrendered a run on an RBI groundout.
In the fifth, the Pirates finally found his curveball. Sean Rodriguez lined one to center for an RBI single, then Josh Harrison knocked one to left to drive in another run.
"Those were both curveballs that caught too much plate and just hung. That was what I got hurt on," Nelson said. "So, just learn from it and make the adjustment next time.
"The ones they hit were the ones I left too much [over the] middle. You never know what will happen if I throw a good one right there."