PITTSBURGH -- Pirates right-hander Trevor Williams continued to get the best of the Brewers on Saturday as Milwaukee was held to just five hits -- four of them singles -- during a 3-0 loss to the Pirates at PNC Park.The Brewers struck out seven times against Williams over his six
PITTSBURGH -- Pirates right-hander Trevor Williams continued to get the best of the Brewers on Saturday as Milwaukee was held to just five hits -- four of them singles -- during a 3-0 loss to the Pirates at PNC Park.
The Brewers struck out seven times against Williams over his six scoreless innings on Saturday. Milwaukee has faced him three times this season, but don't have a run to show for it. He's collected 21 strikeouts while throwing 19 scoreless frames over his three outings against the Brewers in 2018.
"He was impressive," Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. "He's got a really good game plan and he executes it. That's leaving the hitters with very few pitches in the good part of the plate to hit. We've seen first-hand why he's been on such a roll."
Right-hander Zach Davies provided Milwaukee with four innings on 66 pitches during his fourth Major League start since rejoining the club after missing three months with a right rotator cuff injury. He also collected one of just four hits off Williams with a third-inning single to left field.
Davies attributed Williams' success to his use of deception to keep hitters off balance.
"Every one of his pitches comes out of the same spot," Davies said. "They all blend together. It's a guy like me that has to depend on command and deception. He's done a great job since … the All-Star break, one of the best in the National League."
Davies matched Williams' with four hits allowed, but three came in succession in the third inning. After recording a pair of quick outs to open the frame, Davies served a 1-2 curveball to Williams that resulted in a soft-hit single. Adam Frazier followed suit with a single to center field before Starling Marte lined Davies' fastball to left field for a two-run double.
"The game plans for each guy were executed. They found the barrel and put some good swings on it," Davies said. "The 1-1 pitch to Frazier -- I looked back on it -- it was at the knees on the corner. He singled up the middle. Marte, the ball was probably four inches inside, and I wanted to go in off the plate. Maybe not enough, but he saw it, he got after it. Kind of unlucky, but that's baseball."
Davies departed after the fourth inning, and the Brewers used an array of relievers to keep the Pirates off the board and themselves in the game. But Pittsburgh broke through again in the eighth inning when Corey Dickerson reached on a fielder's choice, advanced to second on a Jordan Luplow walk and scored on Colin Moran's RBI single off right-hander Jacob Barnes.
"Our bullpen did a nice job," Counsell said. "We pieced the next [four] innings together and gave ourselves a shot, really. They kept putting up zeros. A couple ground balls go through in the eighth, but they did a nice job."
Pittsburgh righties Richard Rodriguez and Kyle Crick combined for two perfect frames after Williams' departure. But the Brewers collected their fifth hit of the night on Christian Yelich's leadoff double off Felipe Vazquez in the ninth inning before Vazquez rebounded to retire the side in order.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Stranding the lone RISP against Williams
With one out and the game still scoreless in the third inning, Davies lined a single to left field. He advanced to second when Yelich drew a two-out walk, providing the Brewers with their first runner in scoring position of the game.
Milwaukee couldn't capitalize, however, as Ryan Braun poked a ball down the third-base line that resulted in an inning-ending forceout. It would prove to be the only runner they'd have in scoring position until the ninth inning.
YOU GOTTA SEE THIS
Right-hander Brandon Woodruff worked himself into a jam in the fifth inning when he hit Marte with a pitch to load the bases with two outs. But on the ensuing pitch, he induced a fly out from Josh Bell to escape unscathed and keep the Brewers' deficit at two.
HE SAID IT
"What you feel like is, 'When are you going to get a pitch to hit?' He's just not giving you pitches to hit. You feel like you get one pitch a night to hit, and I think our guys would probably tell you they got a pitch tonight, but that's in three at-bats. That's pretty darn good." -- Counsell, on Williams
Left-hander Wade Miley will take the mound for the Brewers on Sunday to close out a three-game series with the Pirates at PNC Park at 12:35 p.m. CT. Milwaukee has won each of Miley's past five starts, and the southpaw has allowed six earned runs over 28 1/3 innings during that span. Right-hander Nick Kingham will start for Pittsburgh.
Mason Wittner is a reporter for MLB.com based in Pittsburgh.