MILWAUKEE — It wasn’t pretty, but Zach Davies did something Saturday that no other starting pitcher in Milwaukee Brewers history had done before.
Davies became the first Milwaukee starter to open a season with seven straight wins, hanging on for five innings before the 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 provided 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 past 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
Reigning NL MVP Christian Yelich doubled, and now has hit safely in all seven games this month, batting .560 with five runs, six extra-base hits and seven RBIs.
Bell adds to lead
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.
From the infirmary
Counsell said right-hander Jhoulys Chacín (lower back) is “feeling better” and “throwing more aggressively.” Counsell said there’s a good chance Chacín will pitch during the team’s upcoming trip. ... Left-hander Gio Gonzalez (left shoulder) played catch Friday for the first time since being placed on the 10-day injured list. Counsell said there’s no timetable for Gonzalez’s return. ... Pirates right-hander Rookie Davis (blister on right middle finger) has been put on the 10-day injured list. ... Pirates right-hander Trevor Williams (right side strain) threw a four-out simulated game. Manager Clint Hurdle said it was Williams’ first simulated action since being placed on the injured list May 17. Williams said he felt no residual pain. Hurdle said Williams threw 64 pitches, including a breaking ball, changeup, four-seam fastball and two-seam fastball. Hurdle said “it was a good first day as far as getting him back.”
Brewers right-hander Chase Anderson (3-1, 3.93 ERA) will face Pirates left=hander 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.