MILWAUKEE -- After being shut out for 13 straight innings, trailing by two runs and down to their last out with a relief pitcher at the plate, the Brewers managed to walk out of Miller Park with a victory.
Orlando Arcia (El Nino) singled home the game-winner off Pirates reliever Clay Holmes to cap a three-run rally in the 15th inning and give Milwaukee a wild 7-6 victory over the Pirates in the series opener on Friday night to kick off Players' Weekend.
"You come out to win every game, no matter what," Arcia said. "On this one, you get to the 15th, you're starting to get tired, you're almost on fumes and you just kind of give whatever you have left. Thankfully, we were able to come through in the 15th and get the 'W.'"
According to Elias, the last time the Brewers won after trailing by multiple runs in extra innings was Aug. 14, 1992, against the Red Sox. This season, teams trailing in extras by multiple runs were 0-58 prior to Milwaukee's win. The Brewers are the first team to win such a game since the Cubs on Aug. 20, 2017, against the Blue Jays.
Milwaukee had lost five straight against the Pirates and is now 3-9 against them this season. The Brewers moved a game ahead of Colorado for the second National League Wild Card spot with the victory and remained 3 1/2 games behind the Cubs in the NL Central.
After Pittsburgh took a 6-4 lead in the top of the 15th on Francisco Cervelli's bloop single, the Brewers were down to their last strike when Erik Kratz (Kratzy) tied the game with a bases-loaded single. Arcia was up next and won it off Holmes with a walk-off single that scored reliever Jordan Lyles (Jordy).
In the top of the 15th, Elias Diaz ripped a double down the left-field line off Lyles, Milwaukee's ninth pitcher and its final available reliever. Saturday's starter, Jhoulys Chacin (La Makina), had gone down to the bullpen, just in case he was needed. Gregory Polanco was intentionally walked, and then with two outs, Cervelli blooped a single into shallow right that fell between second baseman Jonathan Schoop (Mamba) and right fielder Christian Yelich (Yeli) to drive in Diaz. Polanco came around to score when Schoop couldn't handle the ball to make it 6-4.
"It was a low right there to very high after a tough, long ballgame like that to scratch one out," Lyles said. "It's going to make us sleep a little bit better tonight. We're all going to sleep pretty good, regardless, but we're all going to wake up a little bit happier."
In the bottom of the frame, Jesus Aguilar (El Causa) and Hernan Perez (Pepper) drew consecutive one-out walks off Holmes. Ryan Braun (Ocho) then struck out swinging, but Lyles walked to load the bases. Kratz then tied the game with a ground ball up the middle to set the table for Arcia.
"After he walked the pitcher, I knew the pressure was on [Holmes] and it wasn't on me, so I just looked for a good pitch to put in play and thankfully I got it," Arcia said.
The Brewers shortstop hit a 2-1 fastball into right field to drive in Lyles and give the Brewers, who had not scored since their four-run first inning, the most unlikely of victories after 5 hours and 36 minutes.
"This is a team that's been really tough against us," Brewers manager Craig Counsell said of the Pirates. "We've struggled scoring runs against them. I thought the first inning was a breakout inning and kind of gets us off that kind of mentality, but we've struggled to score runs. They've got a good pitching staff and they put up a lot of zeros against us."
The Brewers, who lost to Cincinnati 9-7 on Tuesday after leading 4-0 in the first, again took a four-run lead in the opening frame through two-run homers by Yelich and Mike Moustakas (Moose) off Pirates starter Joe Musgrove (also Moose). Yelich's homer gave him a career high (22) and left his bat at 108 mph and traveled a projected 421 feet, according to Statcast™. Moustakas' was his third for Milwaukee since he was acquired on July 28.
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The Pirates came back with two runs in the second on an Adam Frazier single and one in the sixth through Polanco's sacrifice fly. Then, in the ninth, a two-out, two-strike RBI single by Starling Marte off Jeremy Jeffress (Jota Jota) tied the score and sent the game to extras.
Brewers starter Wade Miley (Miles) navigated through five innings with at least two Pirates reaching base in each frame, but he left with a 4-2 lead despite allowing 10 hits and a walk. Corbin Burnes (Burnesy) threw three scoreless innings in extras, allowing one hit and striking out three. Lyles struck out three but also walked three over his two innings.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Miley's escape: It was fitting that Miley ended his night by escaping his biggest jam of the game. After two outs, the Pirates loaded the bases on an infield single by Marte, double by Adeiny Hechavarria and walk to Kevin Newman. Josh Bell pinch-hit for Musgrove, who had settled in and thrown three impressive innings after the Brewers' four-run first. Miley fell behind in the count but came back to strike Bell out swinging on four pitches.
Don't swing: Lyles, claimed off waivers from San Diego on Aug. 5, was hitless in 14 at-bats this season and 0-for-1 with Milwaukee. With Holmes struggling to throw strikes, Lyles was given the take sign, and it worked.
"He did a good job standing there," Counsell said. "That was his job and he did it well. I just said, 'Don't swing.'"
Lyles advanced to second base on Kratz's single and scored the winning run on Arcia's hit.
MITEL REPLAY OF THE DAY
Marte singled with one out in the 11th and stole second, narrowly beating the throw from Kratz behind the plate. The Brewers challenged, hoping Schoop's tag got Marte before he reached second base, but the call stood.
Burnes struck out Newman and Sean Rodriguez to escape trouble and end the inning.
Chacin is set to make what will be a Major League-leading 28th start of the season against Pittsburgh's Jameson Taillon on Saturday at Miller Park. Over his last two starts against the Cubs and Cardinals, Chacin has thrown 13 scoreless innings.