PITTSBURGH -- Christian Yelich and Travis Shaw hit a projected 864 feet worth of home runs in the second inning as the Milwaukee Brewers jumped out to a big early lead and pulled ahead for a wild 13-6 victory at PNC Park on Sunday.The win helped the Brewers keep pace
PITTSBURGH -- Christian Yelich and Travis Shaw hit a projected 864 feet worth of home runs in the second inning as the Milwaukee Brewers jumped out to a big early lead and pulled ahead for a wild 13-6 victory at PNC Park on Sunday.
The win helped the Brewers keep pace in both the National League Central race, in which they trail the Cubs by 2 1/2 games, and the NL Wild Card race, in which they lead the Cardinals by two games for the top spot. The Brewers' magic number to clinch a postseason berth is now four.
With two men on base, Yelich hit his 32nd home run of the season a projected 439 feet, landing in the final row of PNC Park's right-center-field seats. It was the second-longest home run of the season for Yelich, who also leads the NL in batting average and is an NL Most Valuable Player candidate.
• Yelich day-to-day after HBP
Two batters later, Shaw drove one out of the ballpark over the right-field seats and toward the Allegheny River. It was Shaw's 31st long ball of 2018.
Both homers came against Pirates starter Nick Kingham, who was chased after 1 1/3 innings and six runs allowed (five earned).
"Jumping out against them is huge," Shaw said. "We haven't had much success against them. So, to build an early lead was big."
Mike Moustakas added a solo home run in the eighth inning. The Brewers, who hit four home runs against the Pirates on Friday, have hit 206 home runs in 2018, the second-most in the NL.
Milwaukee's seven other runs didn't even require swings of the bat.
In the third inning, Curtis Granderson scored from third on a wild pitch by Tanner Anderson. In the sixth, after Lorenzo Cain reached on a one-out single and advanced on a wild pitch, Pirates reliever Steven Brault issued walks to Shaw and Jesus Aguilar to load the bases.
One out later, Michael Feliz replaced Brault and walked Ryan Braun and Orlando Arcia to score two runs for the Brewers. Then, with pinch hitter Eric Thames at the plate, Feliz threw a wild pitch that led to three more runs.
"Never seen that," Arcia said through an interpreter. "Once the wild pitch started and once I noticed that Braun was scoring, too, I figured I had to be ready to see where the throw was, in case it was a bad throw, which it happened to be."
The Pirates also ran into trouble in a bases-loaded situation earlier in the game, when Kingham hit Moustakas with the bases full in the first.
Brewers starter Wade Miley struggled in the fifth inning, when he gave up back-to-back two-run doubles to Josh Harrison and Jordy Mercer. He went four-plus, allowing four runs (three earned) with one walk and one strikeout. Corey Knebel, Corbin Burnes and Jordan Lyles combined to throw four scoreless innings in relief.
Matt Albers, making his first appearance since Sept. 4, allowed a two-run home run by Adam Frazier in the ninth before closing out the game.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Knebel entered the game with Mercer on second and no outs in the fifth, with Milwaukee's lead at 6-4. Mercer was stuck there, though, as Knebel struck out three straight Pirates to end the threat.
"Their runs happened fast," manager Craig Counsell said. "We got Corey in there. He quieted it down, and obviously, we had a great inning after that, taking advantage of some walks and some craziness. That's a big inning. It stops their momentum. They certainly had it at that point. They were feeling good and right back in the game."
The Brewers 13 runs combined with eight on Friday gave them 21 over the three-game series. They had only scored 18 total runs in their first six games at PNC Park this season. This series' success at the plate has the offense feeling good as they head into an important series in St. Louis.
• Brewers keeping same mindset as they head to St. Louis
"I think we did pretty good things here," Shaw said. "[Trevor Williams] shut us down [on Saturday], but he's been pitching extremely well, so you take that with a grain of salt. We won a series, another series win for us. We're feeling pretty good."
The Brewers will continue their final road trip of 2018 with a visit to St. Louis for three games beginning on Monday. The Crew enters two games ahead of the Cardinals for the first National League Wild Card spot and is 8-8 against St. Louis this season. Chase Anderson was originally scheduled to pitch, but manager Craig Counsell announced late Sunday that "with what we have available ... and where guys are at, we think that probably mixing and matching is the best way." Jack Flaherty (8-8, 3.08 ERA) will start for the Cardinals.
Anderson, the Brewers' Opening Day starter, has struggled with home runs (he has allowed a National League-leading 30 this season) and the first inning (6.30 ERA). The Brewers did not say who would start the game in Anderson's place.
"Obviously, it's frustrating," Anderson said. "I want to pitch as much as I want to pitch. I want to pitch every time my name is called. Obviously, this is a better way to go this time of the season and I understand each game is very meaningful down the stretch with a close race, but obviously, I want to be on the mound, regardless of what the situation is. But, you know, sometimes, you've got to swallow your pride and continue to go. When my name is called to pitch, I'll take the ball and go out there and do my thing.
"My goal is to factor into this team the rest of the way and into the postseason and make an impact for the better. I know what I can do."
Alan Saunders is a contributor to MLB.com based in Pittsburgh.