Pirates beat Brewers 2-0
PITTSBURGH Aaron Thompson pitched 4 1-3 scoreless innings in his major-league debut, Jason Grilli won his first game in nearly two years and four Pittsburgh Pirates pitchers combined on a five-hitter in a 2-0 victory over the Milwaukee Brewers on Wednesday.
Thompson allowed four hits while walking two and striking out one. He was on a pitch count after throwing just four innings in his previous two minor-league starts.
Grilli (1-0) followed with 2 2-3 shutout innings, then Jose Veras and Joel Hanrahan finished with one inning each.
Hanrahan notched his 32nd save in 35 opportunities by striking out the side to work out of a jam. He had lost in his two previous appearances, both against Cincinnati.
The Brewers lost for just the fifth time in their last 29 games.
It was Pittsburgh’s 10th shutout and the 11th time the Brewers have been blanked.
The Pirates scored both runs on sacrifice flies, one by Andrew McCutchen in the first inning and the other by Neil Walker in the fourth. Jose Tabata had two of Pittsburgh’s four hits.
Shaun Marcum (11-4) lost for the first time in eight starts since the All-Star break, as he gave up two runs and four hits in six innings. He walked three and struck out four.
Ryan Braun had two hits for Milwaukee.
Thompson, 24, had his contract purchased from Triple-A Indianapolis before the game. He was needed to fill in for All-Star right-hander Kevin Correia, who went on the disabled list Monday with a strained oblique muscle.
A first-round draft pick of the Florida Marlins in 2004, the left-handed Thompson was claimed off waivers by the Pirates from the Washington Nationals last December. He went 1-0 with a 0.77 ERA in three games, two of them starts, for Indianapolis after spending most of the season at Double-A Altoona, where he was 4-7 with a 5.16 ERA in 28 games, including 12 starts.
Grilli earned his first win since Aug. 27, 2009, when he was pitching for Texas against the New York Yankees. He missed all last season after undergoing reconstructive knee surgery in spring training and pitched this season with Philadelphia’s Triple-A Lehigh Valley farm club before being granted his release and signing with the Pirates on July 21.
Tabata doubled to lead off the first, was bunted to third base by Josh Harrison and scored of McCutchen’s sacrifice fly. Harrison hit a leadoff double in the fourth and scored on Walker’s fly ball.
Milwaukee’s best scoring chance came in the fifth, when it had runners on second and third with one out. Grilli relieved Thompson and escaped the jam by striking out Corey Hart and getting Jerry Hairston Jr. to ground out.
The Brewers threatened again in the ninth against Hanrahan. Braun hit a leadoff single and Prince Fielder walked. Hanrahan, though, rebounded to strike out Casey McGehee, Yuniesky Betancourt and Jonathan Lucroy.
Notes: Pittsburgh placed LF Ryan Ludwick on the 15-day DL before the game with back spasms, creating a roster opening for Thompson. . Milwaukee LHP Chris Narveson, who beat the Pirates on Monday night, will not start again until Sept. 3 at Houston because of off days in the schedule Thursday and next Monday. Narveson will work in relief until then, a role he may assume if Milwaukee reaches the postseason — it has no left-handers in the bullpen. . Brewers OF Carlos Gomez, who has been on the disabled list since July 21 with a broken left clavicle, will be examined by team doctors Friday. If cleared, Gomez will begin a rehab assignment with Class A Wisconsin on Saturday and be activated Sept. 1 when the roster limit expands from 25 to 40. . Pirates INF Chase d’Arnaud (broken right pinkie finger) and OF Alex Presley (bruised left hand) have been deemed ready to return from their rehab assignments at Triple-A Indianapolis but will remain in the minor leagues for now because Pittsburgh does not have room on its roster for either player. . The Pirates open a four-game series at St. Louis on Thursday night as Charlie Morton (9-6, 3.42 ERA) pitches against the Cardinals’ Edwin Jackson (2-2, 4.45). Morton is 6-1 with a 1.98 ERA in 11 starts against NL Central teams. Cardinals INF/OF Skip Schumaker is 9-for-17 (.538) lifetime against Morton, and RF Lance Berkman is 5-for-10 (.500) with two home runs. Jackson is 2-0 with a 3.79 ERA against Pittsburgh in three career starts. . Milwaukee begins a six-game homestand Friday night with the opener of a three-game series against the Chicago Cubs.