MILWAUKEE -- Chad Kuhl picked up a bat before he threw his first pitch. That's never a bad thing for a starting pitcher.The Pirates spotted Kuhl a six-run lead before he took the mound in Pittsburgh's 7-3 win over the Brewers on Tuesday at Miller Park. Jose Osuna hit a
MILWAUKEE -- Chad Kuhl picked up a bat before he threw his first pitch. That's never a bad thing for a starting pitcher.
The Pirates spotted Kuhl a six-run lead before he took the mound in Pittsburgh's 7-3 win over the Brewers on Tuesday at Miller Park. Jose Osuna hit a three-run home run to punctuate Pittsburgh's six-run first inning, and Andrew McCutchen stayed hot with a homer and three RBIs for the second straight night, as the Pirates piled up the sort of clutch hits that eluded the Brewers.
The Pirates have won eight of the last nine matchups between the teams in Milwaukee.
• Bucs' big inning sparks confidence in lineup
"They did an awesome job jumping on them early," Kuhl said. "It was massive. I mean, it's awesome. It's almost like a weight being lifted off. I mean, it was a huge lead. It was definitely a confidence booster."
The first-inning damage came at the expense of Brewers starter Zach Davies, who gave up season highs in runs (seven) and hits (10). He's allowed 14 earned runs in 15 innings over his last three starts, including eight runs on 11 hits in his last two first innings.
"I should be ready from pitch one," Davies said. "I'm kind of over the mechanical, the sequencing, all those kind of excuses. I think it's just time to go out and compete."
The Brewers lost big, but they did manage to score without smacking a baseball over a fence for the first time since Thursday in St. Louis. Nick Franklin's second-inning home run made it 17 runs in a row scored via the long ball, a franchise record that ended when Travis Shaw doubled in the third and scored on Franklin's double to make it a 7-2 game.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
First-inning half-dozen: The Pirates' 10-batter, six-run first was the biggest opening inning for an opponent at Miller Park since the Mets scored six times off Dave Bush in the top of the first on Sept. 3, 2008. After Davies hit the second batter of the game, Josh Harrison, Pittsburgh rattled off six straight hits, including McCutchen's two-run single for a 3-0 lead that was immediately followed by Osuna's three-run homer to left. It was the Pirates' biggest opening inning since they scored seven runs in the first against the Braves last May 17.
"We've all played enough games to know … even though we scored six, [the Brewers] were never out of the game," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. "Especially with that club up there, there were multiple opportunities for three-run homers to put them back close. You love to see people get on base and make things happen. Everybody contributed in the first."
Kuhl head prevails: The Brewers had multiple chances in the early innings to chip away at the Pirates' lead, but Kuhl mostly denied them. Milwaukee put a man at third base with one out in the first, second and fourth innings, and in each instance, Kuhl recorded the final two outs of the inning with strikeouts to strand the runner at third. Eric Thames and Domingo Santana, the Brewers' Nos. 2 and 3 hitters on Tuesday, accounted for a combined six of those strikeouts, including one apiece with the runner at third base and only one out. Thames struck out four times Tuesday and has whiffed seven times in the first two games of the series.
"We left so many guys on base," Santana said after the Brewers stranded 11 runners. "I think that was the game right there."
Said Brewers manager Craig Counsell: "I felt like we had traffic in a whole bunch of innings, but the hit with runners in scoring position was not there. But I'll always take the nights with opportunities. You're going to cash in on those eventually."
"It's unfortunate, because it's getting a little out of hand." -- Hurdle, after Harrison was hit by two more pitches Tuesday to pass the Cubs' Anthony Rizzo for the Major League lead, having been hit by a pitch 14 times, including three times in the past two games
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
From the "I cannot believe this is true" department: According to data from Baseball-Reference.com, the first two games of this series mark the first time in McCutchen's impressive career that he has driven in at least three runs in consecutive games.
UPON FURTHER REVIEW
Orlando Arcia reached base on a grounder leading off the sixth when the throw to first dribbled out of Osuna's glove at first base for an error. Pittsburgh challenged the call, but it stood. The Brewers cashed in when Keon Broxton followed with a pinch-hit double that scored Arcia, cutting the deficit to 7-3.
Broxton was soon headed back to the dugout, however. He broke from second base when an Edgar Santana pitch popped away from catcher Elias Diaz, who quickly recovered to fire a throw to third base that beat Broxton by several steps for an out. The Brewers challenged, believing third baseman David Freese didn't actually tag Broxton in time, but they were denied. The call was confirmed.
Pirates:Trevor Williams will make the first start of his career against the Brewers as the Pirates seek a series victory at 8:10 p.m. ET on Wednesday. The right-hander has made one relief appearance against the Crew, allowing one run in 2 2/3 innings at Miller Park on Sept. 22, 2016.
Brewers:Junior Guerra will face the Pirates for the first time this season at 7:10 p.m. CT on Wednesday. Last season, he went 1-0 with a 1.50 ERA in three starts vs. Pittsburgh.
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Adam McCalvy has covered the Brewers for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @AdamMcCalvy, like him on Facebook and listen to his podcast.
*Carson Mason * is a reporter for MLB.com based in Milwaukee and covered the Pirates on Tuesday.