PITTSBURGH (AP)Omar Narvaez had five hits, Avisail Garcia drove in five runs and Jace Peterson added four RBIs as the Milwaukee Brewers rolled to their 11th straight victory, 11-2 over the Pittsburgh Pirates on Saturday.
It is the Brewers’ longest winning streak since they began the 1987 season with a franchise-record 13 victories in a row. The NL Central leaders have outscored their opponents 84-28 during the streak.
”It’s fun,” Garcia said. ”I think everybody is playing together, everybody is playing hard, everybody is trying to do their part. It’s not one, two, three guys. It’s everyone contributing and that’s how we have to win ballgames.”
The five hits – all singles – were a career high for Narvaez, who previously had two four-hit games. He lined out in the ninth inning to finish 5 for 6.
Narvaez lifted his batting average to .303, quite an improvement from last year. He hit .176 during the pandemic-shortened 2020 season after being acquired from Seattle in an offseason trade.
”I mean, once last season ended, I tried to forget what happened in 2020,” Narvaez said. ”It was in the past and 2021 was a new season and I’m just trying to get better and better.”
Peterson and Garcia each had three of the Brewers’ 16 hits. Peterson is 16 for 33 with 11 RBIs in his last 13 games while primarily filling in at second base for injured Kolten Wong.
”He’s locked in, and he has a great feel what he’s doing,” Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. ”He’s making a huge impact. It’s no coincidence that this streak has lined up with Jace doing some great things.”
Christian Yelich scored three times and drew three walks.
Eric Lauer (3-3) allowed one run and four hits in 6 1/3 innings. He struck out four and walked four while beating Pittsburgh for the first time in five career starts.
The Pirates’ losing streak reached six games. They have scored just seven runs during the skid.
Pittsburgh rookie Cody Ponce (0-2) lasted only 1 2/3 innings in his second start of the season. He was tagged for five runs and six hits while walking three and striking out three.
Ponce left after being examined on the mound by an athletic trainer, and the Pirates said he had right arm soreness. Ponce was a Brewers second-round draft pick in 2015 and was facing them for the first time.
”We were too much in the middle of the plate with pitches,” Pittsburgh manager Derek Shelton said, referring to his entire staff.
Milwaukee broke to a 3-0 lead in the first inning. Garcia hit a two-run double to left-center with two outs and scored on Peterson’s double.
The Brewers added two more in the second to make it 5-0 on consecutive two-out RBI singles by Narvaez and Garcia.
Peterson had a run-scoring single in the sixth, and another run scored on a wild pitch to make it 7-1. The Brewers added two runs in the eighth and two more in the ninth.
Pirates rookie Jared Oliva had his first career RBI with a single in the second inning and Ben Gamel homered in the eighth. Gamel had two hits and is 8 for 19 (.421) this season against the Brewers, his former team.
”Right now we’re just not giving ourselves any scoring opportunities,” Shelton said. ”We have to figure out a way to get out of it.”
Pittsburgh acquired first baseman John Nogowski from St. Louis for cash. Nogowski was designated for assignment June 28 after going 1 for 18 (.056) in 19 games.
The Pirates also placed rookie outfielder Ka’ai Tom on the 10-day injured list with a low back strain and recalled right-hander Kyle Keller from Triple-A Indianapolis.
Right-hander Geoff Hartlieb for designated for assignment to open a 40-man roster spot for Nogowski. Once he joins the team, the Pirates will need to make a corresponding move to open a spot on the 25-man roster.
WALKER TO JOIN BOOTH
Neil Walker, the veteran infielder who retired earlier this year, threw out the ceremonial first pitch.
The Pirates announced Walker will do some color commentary on their television and radio broadcasts beginning in August. He is also expected to serve the baseball operations department as an adviser.
The native of Pittsburgh’s northern suburbs was the Pirates’ first-round draft pick in 2004 and made his major league debut with them in 2009. Walker spent 12 seasons in the majors, playing for six teams.
Catching the pitch was Pirates bench coach Don Kelly, who is Walker’s brother-in-law.
Pirates RF Gregory Polanco (right hip inflammation) did not start for a third straight game but did pinch hit for the second day in a row. . RHP Trevor Cahill (strained right calf) has made slow progress during his rehab, which is part of the reason why the Pirates transferred him from the 10-day injured list to the 60-day IL on Friday.
The four-game series concludes Sunday with Brewers RHP Freddy Peralta (7-2, 2.17 ERA) facing LHP Tyler Anderson (3-8, 4.75). Peralta has allowed just 39 hits in 87 innings over 16 games this season while striking out 122. Anderson is 0-5 with a 6.34 ERA in his last eight starts.
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