Milwaukee Brewers' Ryan Braun drives in Christian Yelich with a hit in the fourth inning of a baseball game against the Pittsburgh Pirates, Friday, Sept. 21, 2018, in Pittsburgh. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)

Brewers use home run barrage to gain ground in NL Central

September 22, 2018 - 12:57 am

PITTSBURGH (AP) — Travis Shaw, Mike Moustakas and Erik Kratz homered during a six-run sixth inning as the Milwaukee Brewers rallied for an 8-3 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates on Friday night and gained ground in the NL Central race.

The Brewers drew within 1½ games of the division-leading Chicago Cubs, who lost 10-4 to the crosstown White Sox. Milwaukee leads the NL wild-card standings by three games over the St. Louis Cardinals.

Shaw's two-run home run, his 30th, followed Jesus Aguilar's RBI double and put the Brewers ahead 4-3. After Ryan Braun walked, Moustakas and Kratz hit back-to-back homers. Kratz drive cleared the 410-foot sign in left-center, the deepest part of the park.

Pittsburgh had its five-game winning streak end. The Pirates fell 5½ games behind the Colorado Rockies for the second NL wild card.

Keon Broxton added a solo homer in the eighth for the Brewers.

Corbin Burnes (6-0) pitched a scoreless fifth. Edgar Santana (3-4) allowed three runs in the sixth and failed to retire any of the three batters he faced.

The Pirates' Corey Dickerson hit a two-run homer in the fourth — his 12th of the season but first since July 22, a span of 147 plate appearances — and tripled.

Josh Bell's homer gave Pittsburgh a 1-0 lead in the first and Braun tied it with an RBI single in the fourth.

Neither starting pitcher returned after a two-hour, 14-minute rain delay in the top of the fifth. Chacin allowed three runs in four innings while remaining winless in six starts against Pittsburgh this season, and Ivan Nova gave up one run in 4 1/3 innings.

Moustakas hit .208 with one home run in his previous 14 games. He hit .277 in August after the Brewers acquired him from the Kansas City Royals.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Brewers: CF Lorenzo Cain (strained right ribcage) missed his second straight game and there is no timetable for his return. ... Braun returned after sitting out three games with back discomfort.

Pirates: C Francisco Cervelli (gastrointestinal illness) and RHP Edgar Santana (right forearm/elbow discomfort) both left in the sixth. ... RF Gregory Polanco (left shoulder surgery) will begin his rehab this weekend at the Pirates' spring training facility in Bradenton, Florida.

YELICH'S BIGGEST FAN

Milwaukee OF Christian Yelich's MVP candidacy got a potential boost from Cleveland Browns rookie quarterback Baker Mayfield on Thursday night.

Mayfield was wearing a signed Yelich journey when he arrived at the stadium for the Browns' 21-17 over the New York Jets that ended Cleveland's 19-game winless streak. Mayfield and Yelich worked out together over the winter in the Los Angeles area.

After shining in his NFL debut in relief of injured Tyrod Taylor, Mayfield ended his postgame press conference by saying, "Yelich for MVP."

"That was really cool," Yelich said.

Yelich did not wear a Mayfield jersey to the ballpark Friday.

"I have one hanging in my locker in Milwaukee," Yelich said. "I should have packed it. Bad timing on my part."

THINKING OF BANISTER

Pittsburgh manager Clint Hurdle was in contact with Jeff Banister, who was fired as the Texas Rangers' manager Friday. Banister was Hurdle's bench coach from 2011-14.

"Jeff Banister is a good man, a good father and a good husband and that's the most important thing," Hurdle said.

AWARDS SEASON

CF Starling Marte was selected as the Roberto Clemente Award winner, given to the Pirates' MVP by the Pittsburgh chapter of the Baseball Writers Association of America. RHP Trevor Williams won the Steve Blass Award for top pitcher and RHP Jameson Taillon won the Chuck Tanner Award for media cooperation.

Meanwhile, the Pirates honored third baseman Ke'Bryan Hayes and right-hander JT Brubaker as their top minor league player and pitcher before the game. Hayes hit .293 in 117 games for Double-A Altoona with seven home runs, 47 RBIs and 12 stolen bases, while Brubaker was a combined 10-6 with a 2.81 ERA in 28 starts with Altoona and Triple-A Indianapolis.

UP NEXT

Brewers: RHP Zach Davies (2-6, 4.66 ERA) pitches Saturday night. He is 0-1 with a 3.00 ERA in three starts since being out from May 30-Sept. 2 with rotator cuff inflammation in his right shoulder.

Pirates: Williams (13-9, 3.16) has allowed just eight runs over 65 2/3 innings in his last 11 starts for a 1.51 ERA.

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