MILWAUKEE -- Chris Archer (Flaco Fuerte) remains a work in progress for the Pirates, and the 29-year-old right-hander is the first to admit it.Archer allowed six runs in the third inning, including a pair of two-run home runs, in the Pirates' 7-4 loss to the Brewers at Miller Park to
MILWAUKEE -- Chris Archer (Flaco Fuerte) remains a work in progress for the Pirates, and the 29-year-old right-hander is the first to admit it.
Archer allowed six runs in the third inning, including a pair of two-run home runs, in the Pirates' 7-4 loss to the Brewers at Miller Park to close Players' Weekend on Sunday. Acquired from the Rays on July 31, Archer has a 6.45 ERA through his first five starts with the Pirates, and he hasn't gotten past the fifth in any of those contests.
"I didn't execute," Archer said. "I know I keep saying it, but my stuff is good, everything feels good. I just need to execute at a higher level."
:: Players' Weekend presented by Valspar Stain ::
Archer worked around a one-out walk in the first inning and left runners at second and third in the second. Then in the third, Lorenzo Cain led off with a triple into the right-field corner. Archer then struck out Christian Yelich and looked like he might catch a break when Cain tagged up on Jesus Aguilar's flyout to right field for the second out.
Gregory Polanco (El Coffee) made a charging catch and used the momentum to make a pinpoint throw to catcher Elias Diaz (El Maracucho), but Diaz lost control of the ball while attempting to tag Cain, who scored to put Milwaukee up, 1-0.
More bad luck followed when Starling Marte (Tato) couldn't hold onto a fly ball from Travis Shaw despite an impressive diving effort. Shaw scored on Ryan Braun's single, and Mike Moustakas then ripped an 0-1 slider to right field for a homer. Jonathan Schoop kept the line moving with a single, and Manny Pina broke the game open with a two-run shot to right-center.
"Five consecutive hits," said Archer, who allowed seven hits and two walks in his second straight four-inning start, although he was removed as a precaution in his previous outing due to left leg discomfort. "I didn't throw the ball where I wanted to, and they capitalized on every single one. One or two mistakes, that's OK. A six-run inning is inexcusable."
"They hit the mistakes," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. "He had three other innings where I thought he spotted his fastball and used his secondary stuff well, but a lot of production from one inning."
The deficit proved too much for the Pirates' offense, which broke out of a two-week slump in Milwaukee. Adeiny Hechavarria (La Pantera Uuff) broke up Chase Anderson's shutout bid with an RBI double in the fifth inning on Sunday, while Adam Frazier (Fraz) and Polanco hit back-to-back homers off Anderson in the sixth to get within two runs of the Brewers.
Pittsburgh scored 19 runs during its three games in Milwaukee after scoring 20 in its 11 previous games entering the series.
"You never like to lose a series, but we hunted well the first two games, and today, we came back and pushed," Hurdle said. "The offense showed some good things in some different areas. Some off-gap hitting, some power. We capitalized on some situations, we grinded out some at-bats and saw some pitches. I thought there were a number of positives to build upon and take to St. Louis."
Frazier homered for the fourth time in his last seven games against Milwaukee with a two-run shot in the sixth off Anderson. In his last five games against the Brewers, Frazier is 10-for-20 with three home runs, eight RBIs and six runs scored.
Frazier has been on a tear since being recalled from Triple-A Indianapolis on July 25. In 26 games since, he's hitting .364 (29-for-82) and has 11 doubles, four home runs and 17 RBIs with a 1.034 OPS.
YOU GOTTA SEE THIS
In the eighth inning, Polanco traveled 97 feet to the warning track in right-center field in 5.3 seconds to rob Hernan Perez of extra bases. According to Statcast™, Polanco had only a 26 percent catch probability and sprinted 28.4 feet per second before sliding under Marte for the 4-star catch.
HE SAID IT
"There are tipping points in the game every day. Those were a couple of them, for sure." -- Hurdle, on the two missed catches in the third inning that helped Milwaukee score six runs off Archer
Ivan Nova gets the nod when the Pirates return to action on Tuesday at 8:15 p.m. ET against the Cardinals in St. Louis. Nova has not allowed more than three earned runs in seven of his last eight starts, and the Cardinals were the one team to surpass that mark, scoring four runs on eight hits and three walks over four innings on Aug. 4. He's 1-2 with a 4.88 ERA in five career starts against the Cardinals. Jack Flaherty will start for St. Louis.
Andrew Wagner is a contributor to MLB.com based in Milwaukee.