It wasn’t pretty, but Zach Davies did something Saturday that no other starting pitcher in Milwaukee Brewers history had done before.
Despite a shaky outing, Davies became the first Milwaukee starter to open a season with seven straight wins, hanging on for five innings before the Brewers’ bullpen finished off a 5-3 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates.
“I just read that,” Davies said of the milestone. “I think after the season, it’ll be a fun time to kind of reflect back on it. This year, coming up a game short of the World Series last year, that’s the goal for us. Our focus is forward on that.”
Davies (7-0) gave up seven hits, including a home run, and left with a 4-3 lead. Four relievers blanked the Pirates on one hit, with Josh Hader striking out the side in the ninth for his 15th save.
“He’s performed each and every time out,” Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. “He’s given us those two starts after extra-inning games that we desperately needed and then deep in the games. A day like today when he is a little off to start the game, battled through it and still keeps you in the game and puts up enough zeroes that the offense takes care of him. He’s pitching really well and it’s important.”
Ryan Braun had an RBI single in the fourth that put the Brewers ahead to stay. Mike Moustakas hit his 19th home run and pinch-hitter Manny Piña added a late homer.
Milwaukee moved to a season-high nine games over .500 and beat the Pirates for the fifth time in six games this year.
Pirates starter Jordan Lyles lasted only three innings, giving up three runs on five hits and four walks.
Lorenzo Cain walked and scored on Braun’s tiebreaking single off Michael Feliz (2-2).
Piña added an insurance run in the eighth with his homer off Francisco Liriano.
Braun and Moustakas each had two hits.
Colin Moran hit his ninth homer of the year for the Pirates. Moran has now homered in three of his last four games.
Pittsburgh rookie Bryan Reynolds extended his hitting streak to a major league-high 16 games with a single in the third.
MVP DOING MVP THINGS
NL MVP Christian Yelich doubled, and now has now hit safely in all seven games this month, batting .560 with five runs, six extra-base hits and seven RBIs.
RINGING THE BELL
Pirates first baseman Josh Bell brought home a run with a bases-loaded sacrifice fly in the third. Bell has 57 RBIs this season, the most in baseball.
Pirates: RHP Rookie Davis (blister on right middle finger) has been put on the 10-day injured list. ... RHP Trevor Williams (right side strain) threw a four-out simulated game. Manager Clint Hurdle says it was Williams’ first simulated action since being placed on the injured list May 17. Williams says he felt no residual pain. Hurdle says Williams threw 64 pitches, including a breaking ball, changeup, four-seam fastball and two-seam fastball. Hurdle says “it was a good first day as far as getting him back.”
Brewers: Counsell says RHP Jhoulys Chacín (lower back) is “feeling better” and “throwing more aggressively.” Counsell says there’s a good chance Chacín will play during the team’s upcoming road trip. ... LHP Gio Gonzalez (left shoulder) played catch Friday for the first time since being placed on the 10-day injured list. Counsell says there’s no timetable for Gonzalez’s return.
Brewers RHP Chase Anderson (3-1, 3.93 ERA) will face LHP Steven Brault (2-1, 5.45 ERA) on Sunday in the final game of the three-game weekend series. Anderson is 8-4 with a 3.61 ERA in 15 career starts against the Pirates, including an 11-5 win on May 30 in Pittsburgh. Brault allowed two runs in four innings and had a no-decision in his last start Tuesday against the Braves.