The Pittsburgh Pirates put on an impressive 13-hit display Sunday that saw Ke’Bryan Hayes fall just short of the cycle, Oneil Cruz effortlessly flicked a shot to the second deck and Daniel Vogelbach delivered a three-run homer in the ninth inning.
Those were the positives for the Pirates in an 8-6 win over the Milwaukee Brewers at American Family Field that clinched a series win over the NL Central’s first-place team. The Pirates are in the middle of a road trip of 12 games in 11 days over four cities, with the next stop in Miami.
“To do this at the beginning of the trip against the team that’s leading our division, it feels good,” Pirates manager Derek Shelton said. “We played good baseball, and it’s nice to win those close games.”
The most head-turning play, however, occurred when rookie Jack Suwinski came to the plate to pinch hit for Bryan Reynolds in the seventh inning. The mid-game change immediately caused social media panic for Pirates fans, who wondered whether the 2021 All-Star center fielder was being traded before the break.
The Pirates later announced Reynolds was pulled from the game because of discomfort on his right side. Reynolds was being treated by the medical staff and is listed as day-to-day.
“He felt it a little bit,” Shelton said. “Obviously, with who Bryan is and what he means to us, it wasn’t a situation where we were going to risk it. He was able to play defense unrestricted but just didn’t want to test it an at bat.”
On a more positive note, Pirates closer David Bednar was selected to the All-Star Game for the first time. And Hayes snapped out of a slump by going 3 for 4 with three runs scored and falling a triple shy of hitting for the cycle. After hitting .198 in June and .129 in the first nine games of this month, Hayes reached base four times – on a single in the first inning, a double in the third, a solo homer in the fifth and a walk in the ninth.
The Pirates scored first, when Kevin Newman singled to left to drive in Cruz for a 1-0 lead in the second inning. They made it 2-0 when Hayes led off the third with a double, reached third base on Vogelbach’s groundout and scored on a passed ball by Brewers catcher Pedro Severino.
“I feel like we did a really good job of getting runners on every inning,” Hayes said. “Sometimes, early in the game we won’t get any guys on or we’ll get a couple guys on and won’t get them in. Today, we were able to get them in.”
The Brewers answered with two runs in the bottom of the third against Quintana.
In the fifth, Hayes drove Eric Lauer’s fastball 361 feet to right field for his fourth home run — and first since June 23 — and a 3-2 Pirates lead.
The Brewers responded by taking the lead with two runs in the bottom of the fifth.
After going 0 for 2 against lefty Lauer, Chavis led off with a 365-foot shot off right-hander Trevor Gott for his 10th homer to tie the score 4-4 in the sixth.
It was only the fourth homer Gott has allowed this season. The fifth was soon to follow. Cruz reached to the outside of the plate to connect on a changeup that he flicked 416 feet to right-center for his fourth homer to give the Pirates a 5-4 lead.
“This kid has an unbelievable wingspan,” Shelton said of Cruz. “When he gets the ball away from him and up, he hits it and you think, ‘OK, that’s going to get out.’ To get on the deck like it did, that’s fairly impressive.”
After Jason Delay hit a leadoff double and Hayes drew a walk in the top of the ninth, Vogelbach hit a full-count changeup by Chi Chi Gonzalez 414 feet to center for a three-run homer and an 8-4 lead.
After Christian Yelich led off the bottom of the ninth with a pinch-hit single, Andrew McCutchen hit a two-run homer off Bednar to cut it to 8-6. Bednar responded by striking out Adames and getting Kolten Wong to fly out to right to end the game.
Kevin Gorman is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Kevin by email at email@example.com or via Twitter .