Yovani Gallardo and Brandon Kintzler combined on a 6-hit shutout on Thursday night at PNC Park in Pittsburgh, and the Milwaukee Brewers blanked the Pirates 4-0 in the rubber game of a three-game series.
Gallardo (10-9; 4.39 ERA) surrendered the six hits over seven innings, striking out five batters and walking one. Kintzler retired six of the seven hitters he faced in the eighth and ninth innings. The loss went to Pirates rookie starter Gerrit Cole (6-7; 3.80 ERA), who worked a career-high 7-and-a-third innings. Cole allowed four runs (3 earned) and ten hits, struck out four men and walked one.
Former Pirate Aramis Ramirez slammed a solo home run for the Brewers (59-74), Khris Davis contributed an RBI double and Jonathan Lucroy added a pair of run-scoring singles. Rookie second baseman Scooter Gennett went 3-for-4.
Newly-acquired catcher John Buck was 3-for-3 in his Pirates debut, accounting for half of his new team’s hits. Right fielder Marlon Byrd, acquired Tuesday in the same trade with the New York Mets in which Buck was obtained, singled, and is now 2-for-8 in two games. Byrd slammed a three-run homer in the Pirates’ 7-1 victory in the middle game of the three-game series on Wednesday.
Pittsburgh (77-56) is 7-12 over their last 19 games, and trails St. Louis by one game in the National League Central Division. Those same Cardinals will be in Pittsburgh for a three-game stint that begins Friday night. In a battle of standout pitchers in the opening game, the Pirates’ Francisco Liriano (14-6; 2.74 ERA) will face Cardinals rookie Shelby Miller (12-8; 2.90 ERA).