Then in the second inning Kingham walked first baseman Eric Thames, and proceeded to served up an 90-MPH fastball right down the middle that Orlando Arcia promptly drove out of the park.
PITTSBURGH — The book on Brewers rookie Keston Hiura is inconsistent defense but a heck of a bat, and for the 28,770 Pirates fans who were watching the 22-year-old for the first time on a marathon Saturday at PNC Park, that sounded about right. Hiuras misplay on a potential inning-ending
PITTSBURGH — The book on Brewers rookie Keston Hiura is inconsistent defense but a heck of a bat, and for the 28,770 Pirates fans who were watching the 22-year-old for the first time on a marathon Saturday at PNC Park, that sounded about right.
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Hiuras misplay on a potential inning-ending double-play ball helped spark an unlikely Pirates comeback, but his tying, two-run home run in the ninth off lights-out Pirates closer Felipe Vazquez extended the Brewers hopes for four more innings before they won in the 13th, 12-10, on Orlando Arcias second two-run home run of the day.
Brandon Woodruff was rolling coming into the game, going 4-0 with a 1.46 ERA in five games in May, but his first start of June would be one to forget. In the third inning, Keston Hiura botched a double play attempt that would have ended the inning cleanly. That opened the door for the Pirates to drive in four runs with two outs. The Bucs chased Woody in the fifth with a game-tying RBI single, then Junior Guerra allowed a two-run homer to Jose Osuna. The deep bomb put Pittsburgh up 7-5.
Long Saturdays at the office have become habitual for the Brewers, who have gone to extra innings four of the past five weeks. Two of those games surpassed the five-hour mark, and another fell four minutes shy. This Saturday was the longest by time, clocking in at five-hours and 23-minutes.
That was almost literally true. The Brewers bench was empty by the ninth inning, leading to a pinch-hit appearance for Sunday scheduled starter Zach Davies in the 12th. Five relievers combined to pitch nine innings, including Matt Albers and Adrian Houser for two scoreless innings apiece after the ninth, leaving Corbin Burnes as the only rested reliever in the bullpen.
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Arcias seventh and eighth home runs this season came about five hours apart before he helped Hiura gain further redemption. The duo teamed for a slick double play to end the game — the second of extra innings in which Hiura took part.
The call at first base initially was safe, but it was overturned upon review. That ruling sent the Brewers into the month of June with a hard-fought win.
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He bounced back, Brewers manager Craig Counsell said of Hiura. The home run was huge, off a really good pitcher. Thats big league baseball. You get another chance.
Now the question is whether Hiura will continue to get chances. Infielder Travis Shaw is due back from a rehab assignment by Tuesday, and will resume duties at third base. That presumably would push Mike Moustakas back to second, though Moustakas exited Saturdays game with a bruised right hand after Vazquez hit him with a 101 mph fastball. X-rays were negative.
Whatever happens, happens, Hiura said. Ive always gone about that saying, Wherever they send me, wherever they have me playing, Im going to give my best effort.
This will be the seventh time the Pirates have worn a Crawfords uniform since 2008, they last wore them on July 13, 2018 against the Brewers. Overall this is the fourth time the Pirates and Brewers have worn Negro League throwback uniforms against each other.
Before the games smooth finish, there were plenty of moments in which whatever could go wrong for the two teams, did, from Hiuras third-inning error that didnt go into the books as an error, to Christian Yelichs go-ahead, three-run home run in the sixth after the Pirates missed a foul popup, to the first blown saves of the season for each teams All-Star closer.
But Hiura answered Starling Martes three-run homer off Josh Hader with a two-run homer off Pittsburghs Vazquez, who not only had converted all of his saves this season, but 41 of his last 42 chances dating to last year. Hiura hit a 97.9 mph fastball with an elite spin rate of 2,517 rpm, the sort of pitch a hitter is not supposed to drive over the fence. With MLB on a record-setting home run pace, it was only the 10th long ball across the game this season on a pitch with that kind of velocity and spin.
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Hiura delivered another hit in the 11th, but the Brewers continued to come up empty until Arcia hit the games 499th pitch, a two-seamer from Pirates right-hander Alex McRae of New Berlin, Wis., in McRaes third inning of work. It sailed into the Brewers bullpen to break the tie.
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Thats going to happen to all players. Youre not going to make every play, said Arcia of Hiuras earlier miscue. He was able to make an adjustment there later on in the game, make a good throw and we were able to turn it.
At the start, it looked like the Brewers might breeze to a win behind top starter Brandon Woodruff, who was spotted a 5-0 lead. But it began to slip away in the bottom of the third inning after Hiura couldnt convert a one-out grounder off Josh Bells bat into a double play; Hiuras feed to Arcia was high, and the Brewers got only the out at second base.
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Instead of an 18-pitch scoreless inning, it turned into a 39-pitch, four-run inning for Woodruff, who went: RBI single, walk, three-run double, hit batsman, walk, to the next five hitters. The Pirates pulled within 5-4, and would take a 7-5 lead two innings later against Woodruff and Junior Guerra.
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Look, we screwed up a double play and it cost us four runs, Counsell said. Woody still has to make pitches after that, but we had a double play to end the inning, and that changed the game.
But we got a break on the other side with a popup. That kind of describes the game. A lot of stuff just happened.
Realistically, were not going to make every play; I didnt make every pitch, said Woodruff. So thats not even on [Hiura]. It was good to see him turn that last one there to get the win. That was a huge win for us because the offense kept picking us up. It was a good team win.
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Adam McCalvy has covered the Brewers for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram and like him on Facebook.