MILWAUKEE -- Andrew McCutchen has long been a Brewers-killer, and Gerrit Cole is becoming one.McCutchen's two-run shot in the sixth inning was his 29th career homer against Milwaukee, and he drove in three runs in the Pirates' 8-1 win over the Brewers at Miller Park on Monday, as Pittsburgh pulled
MILWAUKEE -- Andrew McCutchen has long been a Brewers-killer, and Gerrit Cole is becoming one.
McCutchen's two-run shot in the sixth inning was his 29th career homer against Milwaukee, and he drove in three runs in the Pirates' 8-1 win over the Brewers at Miller Park on Monday, as Pittsburgh pulled away late to back Cole's second straight seven-inning gem. The Pirates tacked on four more runs in the seventh to win for the seventh time in their last eight games in Milwaukee.
"McCutchen, what a beautiful swing he put on that ball to drive it out there," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said, "and we were able to add on."
Adam Frazier delivered a go-ahead single in the third inning and was one of eight Pirates with a hit and a run scored -- a list that included Cole. On the mound, the Pirates' right-hander allowed one run on three hits over seven innings in a carbon copy of his win at home last week against the Rockies. It was also a near-match of his win over the Brewers at PNC Park last month, when Cole allowed a run on two hits in seven innings.
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Travis Shaw gave the Brewers a brief 1-0 lead with his 13th home run leading off the second inning, extending their franchise record to 16 consecutive runs scored via a home run. But that was all the Brewers could muster against Cole, who otherwise surrendered two singles. He walked two and struck out five.
"It was a good opportunity for us to get the road trip started on a high note," Cole said. "We played a nice game tonight."
Brewers starter Matt Garza took the loss after allowing four runs on six hits in 5 1/3 innings. Garza and the Brewers trailed by only a run until the sixth, when McCutchen went the other way with a fastball for a homer that scored the first two of the Pirates' six runs between the sixth and seventh innings.
"We certainly didn't do anything offensively tonight. Gerrit Cole was really good tonight," Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. "I thought Matt pitched well tonight, I really did. They hit a bunch of ground balls through the holes. The home run to McCutchen, it was 2-0, but it was a quality pitch, a fastball on the black away. Give McCutchen some credit. That was a pretty good pitch."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Sweet slide:Jordy Mercer scored the go-ahead run during the Pirates' eight-batter third inning by staging a clinic on sliding into home plate. With runners at second and third after Cole's successful sacrifice, Frazier poked his single through the hole on the left side of the infield. Francisco Cervelli scored easily from third, but Mercer had to hustle to beat left fielder Hernan Perez's on-target throw, sliding wide of catcher Manny Pina and sticking out his left hand just in time to clip home plate ahead of the tag. The Brewers briefly considered challenging the safe call, but opted not to.
"It wasn't even that bad of an inning. We shifted right, they hit the ball left. We shifted left, they hit the ball right," Garza said. "It was just ground ball after ground ball."
Pulling away: McCutchen's two-run homer off Garza in the sixth inning extended the Pirates' lead to 4-1, and they blew the game open with four runs in the seventh against Wily Peralta, who has not taken to a move to the bullpen. Peralta faced seven batters in the inning and retired only one, before Paolo Espino relieved him with two runners aboard and one out. The rally began with a single by Cole, who stepped to the plate with an .083 batting average. Two of the runs scored on Gregory Polanco's odd single to Perez, who tumbled to the turf after fielding the ball for a run-scoring error.
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"We're capable of playing a good team game," Hurdle said. "We've had some success here at the end of last year a couple of times. We've showed the ability to be resilient."
"It's effortless power. He's putting his foot down. He's getting a swing off. He's directionally hitting the ball where it's pitched. ... It's one of the best stretches I've seen him have since I've been here." -- Hurdle, on McCutchen
Pirates:Chad Kuhl will look to surpass five innings for the first time in more than two months when he starts in Tuesday's game at 7:40 p.m. ET. He is 1-0 with a 1.76 ERA in three career starts against the Brewers, including a rain-delayed, scoreless start of three innings on May 5.
Brewers:Zach Davies will take the mound at 6:40 p.m. CT on Tuesday having allowed seven runs over his last four outings at Miller Park, including two scoreless starts. The right-hander led the Brewers to a 6-2 victory against the Pirates earlier this season, allowing two runs in 5 2/3 innings.
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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 Monday.