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Williams lowers 2nd-half ERA to 1.19 in win

Pirates improve to 11-5 this season against the Brewers
September 16, 2018

MILWAUKEE -- Pirates right-hander Trevor Williams enjoyed a rare weekend with his father and both of his younger brothers, Trent and Tanner, who made the trip to watch him pitch.Williams did not disappoint, as the Pirates held on for a 3-2 win over the Brewers on Sunday afternoon at Miller

MILWAUKEE -- Pirates right-hander Trevor Williams enjoyed a rare weekend with his father and both of his younger brothers, Trent and Tanner, who made the trip to watch him pitch.
Williams did not disappoint, as the Pirates held on for a 3-2 win over the Brewers on Sunday afternoon at Miller Park. He pitched six scoreless innings to improve to 13-9 on the season. Pittsburgh improved to 8-3 over its last 11 games and is now 11-5 against the Brewers with one three-game series remaining this season, which starts on Friday at PNC Park.
"It was a fun weekend," Williams said. "We got to spend a lot of time together and treat this as a brothers trip. It's fun to look up in the stands and see them cheering. They did give me a lot of [trouble] for not continuing my hitting streak, though. I'll hear that tonight."
It was easy for Williams to smile after asserting himself as one of the best pitchers in baseball in the second half of the season. He held the Brewers to two hits while walking two and fanning seven.
Williams lowered his ERA since the All-Star break to 1.19 (eight earned runs in 60 2/3 innings), which is the best in the Majors among pitchers with at least 50 innings. He has two scoreless streaks of 20-plus innings this season and is building a new scoreless streak at 7 1/3 innings.
Remarkably, Williams has pitched six-plus innings without allowing a run in nine starts this year. That is the most by a Pirates pitcher since at least 1908, according to the team.
"It's fastball location," said Williams, whose season ERA dipped to 3.16. "It's not giving into hitters, and it's using my changeup and slider in hitters' counts. I'm moving the four-seamer around the plate. I'm executing more than any pitcher."

Williams has not given up a run in 13 innings against the Brewers this season and picked up his first career victory at Miller Park.
"It's tough facing them in their own park," Williams said. "It's no secret that this park is a hitter's park. You have trouble keeping the ball in the yard, especially in a day game when the roof is open. We stuck with the game plan since pitch one, and we never really had to stray away from that."
Corey Dickerson went 3-for-4 with two doubles and an RBI to lead the Pirates at the plate, while rookie Kevin Newman finished 1-for-3 with a pair of RBIs.
• Newman settles into regular role in Bucs' infield

The Pirates improved to 74-74 with 14 games left in the regular season.
"I know a lot of people are talking to me about finishing .500, yeah, we get that," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. "We actually want to finish way better than that. The fight is real, the effort."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
The Pirates' 3-0 lead quickly shrunk to 3-2 when closer Felipe Vazquez allowed back-to-back homers to lead off the ninth inning. Hurdle decided to stick with Vazquez, who rewarded him by retiring Ryan Braun, Mike Moustakas and Erik Kratz for his 34th save.
"As he told me coming off, that's why they nicknamed him 'The Nightmare,'" Hurdle said. "But that game gets away from a lot of closers. It didn't get away from our closer. He put a foot down there and rolled right through it. He's got a slow heartbeat, man, and he doesn't let much affect him."

SOUND SMART
Pirates first baseman Josh Bell had his seven-game hitting streak come to an end on Sunday, but he drew a pair of walks to increase his on-base streak to eight games. Bell is hitting .385 (10-for-26) with a .515 on-base percentage and 1.246 OPS during that span.

UP NEXT
The Pirates will return home to open a three-game Interleague series against the Royals, who own the second-worst record in baseball, on Monday at 7:05 p.m. ET. The series marks the clubs' first meeting at PNC Park since 2012. Pittsburgh is 12-5 in Interleague Play this season, which is tops in the National League. Only the Red Sox (15-4) have more Interleague wins this season. Pirates right-hander Joe Musgrove will oppose Royals right-hander Brad Keller. Musgrove has thrown at least six innings in nine of his last 10 starts.

Tom Musick is a contributor to MLB.com.