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Brewers fall in Miley's shaky return from DL

Lefty issues 5 walks over 5 innings; Aguilar hits NL-best 24th HR
MLB.com

PITTSBURGH -- Wade Miley led the Majors in walks with Baltimore last season, and free passes cost him against the Pirates on Thursday night.

In his return from the 60-day disabled list, Miley walked five to counter five strikeouts while allowing two runs over five innings in the Brewers' 6-3 loss at PNC Park. Milwaukee has now lost four of six games since winning five straight.

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PITTSBURGH -- Wade Miley led the Majors in walks with Baltimore last season, and free passes cost him against the Pirates on Thursday night.

In his return from the 60-day disabled list, Miley walked five to counter five strikeouts while allowing two runs over five innings in the Brewers' 6-3 loss at PNC Park. Milwaukee has now lost four of six games since winning five straight.

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Miley was placed on the DL in early May with a strained right oblique and said he "felt fine physically" in his first start since May 8. But he thought he performed much better throwing out of the the windup than with runners on and pitching out of the stretch.

"I still felt like I was fighting against being too quick out of the stretch," Miley said. "I had plenty of situations to go to make pitches and get guys out, I just didn't out of the stretch. And the walks -- especially the two-out walk in the fourth -- kind of led to some bad things."

Miley found himself pitching out of the stretch with a runner on first base and two outs in the second inning. He walked Josh Harrison to extend the inning, then hung a changeup that Jordy Mercer slapped through the left side of the infield to drive in David Freese and put the Pirates up, 1-0.

With the game tied in the fourth inning after Jesus Aguilar belted his NL-best 24th home run of the season, Miley issued two more two-out walks to Josh Bell and Harrison. The free passes came back to bite him once again as Mercer lined an RBI single to left field to give the Pirates a 2-1 lead.

Video: MIL@PIT: Aguilar hammers NL-leading 24th home run

Miley got off to a shaky start in the fifth inning, issuing a leadoff walk to Corey Dickerson on four pitches and giving up a single to Starling Marte on his next pitch. After striking out Elias Diaz, Miley walked Freese to load the bases but escaped unscathed with his curveball, inducing an inning-ending double play off the bat of Jordan Luplow.

"He did a nice job," Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. "The second single by Mercer was just a bad pitch. That's probably the pitch he wants back. Otherwise, he pitched out of a couple jams. He pitched out of the jam in the fifth and kept us in the game."

Video: MIL@PIT: Mercer notches his 2nd RBI knock of the game

After giving up three runs in the sixth and one in the seventh, the Brewers entered the ninth facing a five-run deficit. They added a pair of runs on RBI singles by Eric Thames and Christian Yelich before sending Aguilar to the plate with the bases loaded and one out. Aguilar swung on a first-pitch changeup and grounded into a game-ending 5-4-3 double play to prevent the comeback.

"Going through five down 2-1, I thought we were in decent shape," Counsell said. "We just didn't put the zeros up we needed at that point to put pressure on them. We gave it a good run in the ninth. We had Aguilar up with the bases loaded, which is exactly what you want. It just didn't work out."

Video: MIL@PIT: Yelich plates Villar with single in the 9th

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
With the Brewers trailing by a run in the fifth inning, Tyler Saladino drew a leadoff walk and advanced to third on an Erik Kratz single to put runners on the corners for Milwaukee with nobody out. The Brewers weren't able to capitalize, however, as Jameson Taillon struck out the next three batters to strand the runners.

Video: MIL@PIT: Taillon fans 10 over 6 frames of 1-run ball

YOU GOTTA SEE THIS
Derby practice: Trailing 1-0 in the fourth inning, All-Star Final Vote winner Aguilar crushed a solo home run beyond the 410-foot sign in left-center field to tie the game. The homer was Aguilar's NL-best 24th of the season.

HE SAID IT
"I think the small solace is that you get Vazquez in the game and make him throw. Hopefully, if that can impact the rest of the series, maybe that's a good thing." -- Counsell, on knocking Michael Feliz out of the game in the ninth inning

Video: MIL@PIT: Vazquez stymies comeback with DP to end game

MITEL REPLAY OF THE DAY
With one out and the bases loaded in the ninth inning, Yelich hit a ball down the left-field line that was initially ruled fair by third-base umpire Paul Nauert before he changed the call to a foul ball seconds later. The Brewers challenged the call, but replays confirmed the ball landed in foul territory.

Video: MIL@PIT: Yelich's foul ball confirmed after review

UP NEXT
Right-hander Junior Guerra will look to record a fourth straight win on Friday, when he faces the Pirates at 6:05 p.m. CT for Game 2 of this five-game series at PNC Park. He went 3-0 over his past three starts, posting a 2.65 ERA with 18 strikeouts and seven walks over 17 innings. Rookie righty Nick Kingham will start for Pittsburgh.

Mason Wittner is a reporter for MLB.com based in Pittsburgh.

Milwaukee Brewers, Jesus Aguilar, Wade Miley