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Guerra endures rare struggles in loss

Woodruff pitches 3 shutout innings, hits 1st career HR; Crew drops 3rd straight
MLB.com

PITTSBURGH -- Junior Guerra has been one of the most consistent arms in the Brewers' rotation this season. The right-hander entered Friday with the second-lowest ERA among Milwaukee's everyday starters and had earned a win in each of his last three starts.

Guerra's winning streak came to an abrupt end against the Pirates on Friday when he allowed a season-high six earned runs on nine hits in the Brewers' 7-3 loss to the Pirates at PNC Park. Milwaukee has now lost three straight games and five of its last seven.

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PITTSBURGH -- Junior Guerra has been one of the most consistent arms in the Brewers' rotation this season. The right-hander entered Friday with the second-lowest ERA among Milwaukee's everyday starters and had earned a win in each of his last three starts.

Guerra's winning streak came to an abrupt end against the Pirates on Friday when he allowed a season-high six earned runs on nine hits in the Brewers' 7-3 loss to the Pirates at PNC Park. Milwaukee has now lost three straight games and five of its last seven.

View Full Game Coverage

Friday marked the first time Guerra has allowed more than five earned runs since allowing eight against the Reds on June 27, 2017. He's now surrendered five or more earned runs just twice through 18 starts this season, with the first also coming against the Pirates on May 4.

Video: MIL@PIT: Guerra K's Mercer in the 2nd

"It was just a rough outing for him," Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. "They swung the bats well against him. A lot of balls in the middle that got hit. Just one that he's got to wipe out."

Guerra's struggles began in the first inning as he opened the game with an eight-pitch battle against Corey Dickerson, before hanging a two-seam fastball that resulted in a leadoff double.The Pirates had five more hits in the first -- each coming off the two-seamer -- and plated three runs via a Gregory Polanco sacrifice fly, Colin Moran RBI single and Josh Bell RBI double.

"I don't think he had great command of the fastball," Counsell said. "Especially early in the game, that's the pitch he needs to get going. I never thought he got his fastball going as much as anything today."

After two quick groundouts to start the third inning, the Pirates continued to attack Guerra. Moran jumped on a first-pitch hanging slider and lined a single to right field. In the ensuing at-bat, Guerra hung a two-seam fastball over the middle of the plate that Bell slapped to center field to drive in Moran. He then walked Josh Harrison before giving up an RBI double to Jordy Mercer on a first-pitch fastball.

Guerra allowed the final hit of his outing in the fourth, when he placed his fastball just over the middle of the plate to Polanco, who made him pay by hitting a 393-foot home run to right-center field and increasing Milwaukee's deficit to five runs.

Video: MIL@PIT: Polanco belts a solo homer in the 4th

The Brewers' bullpen provided a silver lining on Friday as Brandon Woodruff -- who was recalled from Triple-A Colorado Springs on Friday -- was brilliant. The right-hander pitched three scoreless innings of relief, allowing just one hit while striking out three. He also crushed the first home run of his career in the sixth inning.

"He was dynamite," Counsell said. "He threw the ball really well. His changeup was really good. Very good command. With the fastball away to lefties, I thought he did an excellent job."

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Trailing by three in the eighth inning, Hernan Perez and Lorenzo Cain hit back-to-back singles to bring the tying run to the plate with one out. Christian Yelich lined out to left field in the ensuing at-bat, and Jesus Aguilar flew out to left to end the inning before the Brewers could capitalize.

Video: MIL@PIT: Crick retires Aguilar to escape jam in 8th

YOU GOTTA SEE THIS
Good Wood-ruff: Woodruff, who bats left-handed despite throwing the ball right-handed, squared off against Pirates right-hander Nick Kingham to lead off the sixth inning. After fouling away the first pitch of the at-bat, Woodruff connected on a 91.5-mph four-seam fastball and drove it into the elevated stands in right field for the first home run of his MLB career.

"That's something not everybody, especially a pitcher, gets to do," Woodruff said. "It's definitely special."

Video: MIL@PIT: Woodruff belts a solo homer in the 6th

"Two good swings," Kingham said. "The first one he fouled off down the line. Opened my eyes a bit, and then we called fastball in. And so I'm like, 'You know, let's see if he can get to it.' And he got to it. So, good for him. He put a good swing on it. It was a good pitch, leaked over a little bit, but he did what you're supposed to do with it. Really good piece of hitting."

HE SAID IT
"We're 90 games in, and we've got 70 to go. It's no time to be tired."--Counsell, on if he thinks his team is fatigued

UP NEXT
The Brewers and Pirates will play a straight doubleheader at PNC Park on Saturday to make up for a rainout on June 20. Right-hander Chase Anderson (6-6, 3.81 ERA) will take the mound against Ivan Nova (5-6, 4.50) in Game 1 at 11:35 a.m. CT. Lefty Brent Suter (8-5, 4.53) will be activated from the disabled list to start Game 2, facing Clay Holmes (0-1, 7.11).

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

Milwaukee Brewers, Junior Guerra