MILWAUKEE (AP) — Chad Kuhl got a lift when Andrew McCutchen put on another hitting clinic at Miller Park, and it was enough to get over a growing hump.
Kuhl got his first victory since April, McCutchen homered for the fifth time in seven games and the Pittsburgh Pirates beat the Milwaukee Brewers 7-3 on Tuesday night.
Jose Osuna’s three-run homer highlighted the Pirates’ six-run first inning. McCutchen’s two-run single and David Freese’s RBI hit accounted for the other runs, all scored before Zach Davies (7-4) recorded a second out.
McCutchen matched his season high with three hits and has hit 19 homers at the home of the Brewers, his highest total outside of 89 at PNC Park.
“I was in a good spot before I got here,” McCutchen said of his approach at the plate. “I’m just remaining consistent with that and having the same approach.”
McCutchen is batting .406 with six homers and 19 RBIs in 17 games in June. He has hit safely in each of his last 10 games at Miller Park and is batting .442 with four home runs and 13 RBIs in that span. Asked if there was something in Milwaukee that brought out his best, he had a quick reply.
“Oh, no. I thought like I was already the best before I got here,” McCutchen said. “Just following suit.”
Kuhl (2-6) went 12 starts without a win after beating Atlanta 6-4 on April 8. The young right-hander allowed two runs and seven hits over five innings, walked two and matched his career high of six strikeouts.
His slider was particularly effective against the Brewers.
“I had that working for me tonight,” he said. “I need that in some big situations. That put-away slider that I’ve been looking for. It came up big tonight.”
The Brewers had their chances against Kuhl but couldn’t capitalize, going 2 for 11 with runners in scoring position.
“Tonight, we created opportunities,” Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. “Felt like we had traffic in a whole bunch of innings, but the hit with runners in scoring position was not there.”
McCutchen, who also singled and walked, hit his 14th home run in the third and 30th against the Brewers, which tied him with the New York Mets’ Jay Bruce for the most among current opposing players.
Relievers Edgar Santana, Tony Watson, Daniel Hudson, Juan Nicasio and Felipe Rivero combined to protect the lead and help the Pirates improve to 4-0 in Kuhl’s four career starts against Milwaukee.
Nick Franklin homered in the second and doubled in a run in the third for Milwaukee.
The Brewers got a run and two reviews in the sixth.
First baseman Osuna stretched for a low throw and cradled the ball at the top of his glove, but Orlando Arcia was called safe when the ball came loose. After a 2-minute, 3-second review, the call was confirmed. Arcia scored on a double by Keon Broxton. A couple of pitches later, he was out trying to steal third, a call confirmed after a 1:20 review.
Pirates: C Francisco Cervelli missed the game with flu-like symptoms. Nicasio, who hadn’t pitched for three consecutive games due to arm fatigue, came on to start the eighth.
Brewers: INF Jonathan Villar, on the 10-day disabled list with a lower back strain, could begin a rehab assignment this week. The team wasn’t sure where.
THAT’LL LEAVE A MARK
Pittsburgh’s Josh Harrison was hit by a pitch in the first and in the sixth. That’s 14 times this season he’s been plunked, the most in the majors. He came into the game tied with the Cubs’ Anthony Rizzo.
“It’s unfortunate,” Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said of the number of times Harrison has taken one for the team. “It’s getting a little out of hand.”
Pirates: RHP Trevor Williams (3-3, 5.16 ERA) makes his 15th appearance and ninth start of the season. He faced Milwaukee on Sept. 22, 2016, at Miller Park when he allowed one run in 2 2/3 innings of relief.
Brewers: RHP Junior Guerra (1-1, 2.84 ERA) makes his seventh start of the season and first against the Pirates. He went 1-0 with a 1.50 ERA in three starts against Pittsburgh last season.
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