PITTSBURGH (AP) — Willy Adames’ latest home run celebration makes Milwaukee Brewers manager Craig Counsell’s heart skip a beat.
Counsell will tolerate the momentary discomfort as long as his dynamic shortstop keeps sending the ball over the fence. And his team keeps winning.
Adames slid down the dugout railing after his first-inning home run, a long shot to the seats in left-center that set the tone for a 7-2 victory over Pittsburgh on Friday night that extended Milwaukee’s win streak to 10 straight.
“It’s not dangerous, it’s fun,” Adames said with a laugh.
Maybe for everyone but Counsell, though he promised to deal with it considering the way Adames is playing for the hottest team in the majors.
“I’m rolling with Willy man,” Counsell said. “He seems to have the right answer for a lot of things right now.”
So do the rest of the Brewers.
Jace Peterson and Jackie Bradley Jr. added solo shots of their own — minus the dugout parkour — and Adrian Houser scattered four hits in 6 2/3 innings as Milwaukee matched its longest regular-season win streak since 2003. The Brewers ripped off 12 straight in 2018, but four of those victories came in the playoffs.
This group appears to be heading in that direction. The Brewers are a season-best 17 games over .500 at 50-33, fueled by a 29-10 surge since May 22.
“That’s why I got traded here, to try to help the team to win more games and thank God that’s been working and we’ve been winning a lot of games,” said Adames, who was acquired in a May 21 deal with Tampa Bay. “I’m happy about that.”
Houser (5-5), allowed one run, struck out five and walked two while throwing a career-high 103 pitches. Pittsburgh managed to get a runner on base in all but one inning while Houser was on the mound, but he had little trouble keeping the slumping Pirates at bay. Pittsburgh couldn’t stop hitting Houser’s sinker into the dirt. Houser recorded 13 groundball outs.
Adames figures Houser is trying to keep up with the rest of a pitching staff that is the main reason the Brewers have seized control of the NL Central.
“We have such a great starting pitching,” Adames said. “I don’t even know what to tell you because they’re so nasty when they get on the mound, we know they’re going to do a tremendous performance every time. We’ve gotten used to that.”
The Pirates, meanwhile, are heading in the opposite direction. Pittsburgh has dropped five straight, scoring all of six runs in the process.
Bryan Reynolds went 2 for 4 with his team-high 15th homer, but the rebuilding Pirates are on pace for a 104-loss season.
JT Brubaker (4-8) has been the team’s best starter over the first half, but hasn’t won in over a month thanks in part to an offense that’s scored more than three runs just twice in his last 12 starts.
The early home runs hurt Brubaker. So did a sharp liner back to the mound by Adames in the sixth. If Brubaker lets it roll by him, it likely goes straight to All-Star second baseman Adam Frazier for a potential double play. Instead, the ball died in the infield and both Adames and Christian Yelich were safe. Two batters later Tyrone Taylor’s two-run triple gave Milwaukee a four-run cushion.
“That game’s a 3-0 game or 3-1 game if (Brubaker) keeps his glove down, so I know he’s frustrated about and will learn from it, because that ball is hit right to (Frazier),” Pirates manager Derek Shelton said. “So we just have to continue, especially with him, to take these learning messages. The one thing about JT is he takes information probably about as well as anybody we have, and we’ll move on from it.”
Brewers: INF Kolten Wong went to the 10-day injured list for the third time this season with left calf tightness. Counsell said Wong should return after the All-Star break. … RHP Corbin Burnes received treatment on his sore left knee Friday after exiting Thursday night’s win in the eighth inning after slipping on the mound. The team expects Burnes to make his next scheduled start next week against the New York Mets.
Pirates: Placed INF Erik González on the 10-day injured list with a right oblique strain. The team also transferred RHP Trevor Cahill (strained left calf) to the 60-day IL. Pittsburgh called up INF Wilmer Difo from Triple-A Indianapolis to take González’s spot on the roster.
Milwaukee: LHP Eric Lauer (2-3, 4.50 ERA) will make his first career start against the Pirates on Saturday. Lauer is coming off six shutout innings in a win over Colorado last Sunday.
Pirates: Have yet to announce a starter for Saturday.
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