MILWAUKEE (AP) — Travis Shaw and Corey Knebel were too much for the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Shaw drove in three runs with a home run and two doubles and Knebel set a modern-era record for most consecutive games by a reliever with a strikeout at a season’s start and the Milwaukee Brewers beat the Pirates 4-2 on Thursday.
“The guy is seeing all of my pitches really well,” Ivan Nova said of Shaw. “Give him credit, too. He’s one of the hitters I’ve tried to find a way to get out.”
Knebel struck out Josh Bell on a foul tip leading off the ninth. The 25-year-old right-hander retired Elias Diaz and Andrew McCutchen on popouts, finishing a four-hitter for his 12th save in 15 chances.
“He came back today and was just as good as he’s been every single day,” Brewers manager Craig Counsell said of Knebel. “Credit to him. He should be proud of what he just accomplished. That’s pretty special.”
Aroldis Chapman had set the mark since 1900 as part of a streak of 49 games for Cincinnati that began in August 2013 and ended the following August.
Shaw put the Brewers ahead 3-2, lining a run-scoring double off Nova in the fifth.
“I pitch hard inside, the guy hits a bullet to first base,” Nova said. “Threw a curve ball, he hit a homer. Threw a sinker over the plate, he almost hit a homer. So, you have to tip your cap to him.”
Shaw hit a drive off the yellow line on the top of the left-field fence with two on in the seventh. Shaw raised an arm to signal home run while he ran the bases, and the ricochet was caught by John Jaso. The left fielder threw to third baseman Josh Harrison, who fired home to Diaz. Domingo Santana, who had been on first, jogged into the tag for the inning’s final out.
Shaw’s been playing with the emotional weight of a newly born daughter who has heart complications.
“He’s doing an outstanding job with everything going on,” Counsell said. “I really think the park is the easy place for him, a place he’s able to come do his job. He’s doing it really well.”
Chase Anderson (6-2) allowed two runs and two hits in six innings.
Nova (7-5) gave up four runs and 11 hits — matching his career high — in seven innings. He threw a season-high 107 pitches.
Pirates manager Clint Hurdle appreciated that Nova gritted his way through seven innings, especially after a tough first inning.
“It wasn’t his A game today, probably a B game,” Hurdle said. “It just showed you his ability to continue to compete, make pitches and keep a team in the game.”
Josh Bell hit an RBI single in the first. Eric Thames tied the score with an RBI single in the bottom half that stopped an 0-for-15 skid, and Shaw homered for a 2-1 lead.
Gregory Polanco hit a homered in the fourth, and Shaw hit a go-ahead double in the fifth.
SOGARD SO GOOD
The Brewers’ Eric Sogard set a career high with his fourth game with three or more hits this season. He extended his hitting streak to 10 games.
Pirates: C Francisco Cervelli was placed on the seven-day concussion DL for the second time this season. His first trip came after taking a foul tip off his mask at Baltimore on June 6. He came back June 14 and did not play in the four-game series with Milwaukee. C Jacob Stallings was recalled from Triple-A Indianapolis.
Brewers: INF Jonathan Villar (lower back strain) and OF Ryan Braun (strained left calf) are with Class A Wisconsin for rehab assignments and were to play Thursday night against Kane County. There’s a chance the two could be activated Tuesday for a three-game series in Cincinnati.
Pirates: RHP Jameson Taillon (3-2) starts Friday against St. Louis, where Pittsburgh has lost seven straight, including three games in April.
Brewers: RHP Jimmy Nelson (5-3) is to be on the mound Friday at Atlanta for the start of a six-game trip after beating San Diego 2-1 Saturday with a six-hitter for his first big league complete game.
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