MILWAUKEE (AP) — Brandon Woodruff pitched hitless ball into the sixth inning, Rowdy Tellez homered for the second straight day and the Milwaukee Brewers beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 4-2 Wednesday for a three-game sweep.
Woodruff (2-1) gave up just one hit, a one-out single by former teammate Daniel Vogelbach in the sixth.
After pitching five shutout innings in a win over St. Louis in his last outing, Woodruff struck out nine and walked two in six scoreless innings to beat the Pirates. The two-time All-Star struck out Bryan Reynolds three times and Ben Gamel and Josh VanMeter twice each.
Josh Hader earned his sixth save in six tries, finishing off Milwaukee’s fourth straight win.
“Warming up in the bullpen before the game, I was a little worried. It was like, ‘Man, it’s not good today,’” Woodruff said. “You just get in the game and go from there. You figure it out. Just being able to throw the offspeed for strikes is huge for me in any game, and I think I was able to do that today and then get back to the fastball.”
Tellez gave the NL Central champions a 1-0 lead with a home run in the second inning. He fouled off five pitches from Mitch Keller (0-3) before hitting a 96 mph fastball 394 feet.
Tellez hit a two-run homer in Tuesday’s win.
Keller held Milwaukee to one run on four hits in 5⅓ innings, striking out seven. He had given up eight earned runs in 7⅔ innings in his first two starts.
“It’s been since spring training since I’ve gotten results and I feel like I’ve been throwing the same stuff, maybe a little bit different sequencing here today, more fastball heavy,” Keller said. “But to finally get the results is very relieving. Just finally got a good one, now let’s roll.”
Manager Derek Shelton said that if Keller “pitches like this the rest of his career, I’ll be one of the happiest human beings alive.”
Keston Hiura extended Milwaukee’s lead to 4-0 with a three-run homer in the seventh. His 400-foot shot to the opposite field in right came off Miguel Yajure.
Since 2019, when he entered the big leagues with Milwaukee, Hiura has 11 homers against Pittsburgh, tied with four other players for most in the majors.
Pittsburgh cut the lead to 4-2 in the eighth on a two-run single by Ke’Bryan Hayes off Devin Williams.
Pittsburgh scored only five runs in the three-game series.
“It was probably more than quality starts,” Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. “They’re giving up one or two runs at the most and that really puts you in a good position to win and make everything much harder for them, whether it’s pitching decisions or every pitch a starter has to make under pressure or trailing or in a tie game.”
“We didn’t score a ton of runs, but we scored enough and we got some big home runs this series and we got them in the right spots,” he said.
Pirates: Gamel crashed his back into the wall in left field trying to catch a foul ball by Jace Peterson in the fifth. The ball caromed off Gamel’s glove. He stayed in the game.
Brewers: IF Luis Urías (left quad strain) will play an extended spring game on Thursday in Arizona.
THIS ONE’S ON ME
Thirteen Brewers players have each chosen a restaurant or bar where Brewers fans typically gather, and will pay the tab there on a Friday night while the fans watch an away game.
BREWERS FLASH LEATHER (AND FLESH)
In the second inning, RF Hunter Renfroe made a diving catch of Yoshi Tsutsugo’s sinking liner, and Woodruff made a barehand grab of a one-hopper from Diego Castillo and threw him out at first. “It was out of pure reaction and I was mad at myself after I threw it over there,” Woodruff said. “I thought it was hit a lot harder than it was, but it wasn’t. It kind of hit me off the tip of the finger and I was able to go from there. It stung a little bit, but it was good after that.” … LF Christian Yelich’s running catch of a soft liner by Hayes, with two on and two out, ended the sixth…In the seventh, SS Willy Adames turned a double-play. He raced to short left to snag a Castillo flyball and his throw beat Gamel back to first base.
Pirates: Begin a four-game series Thursday against the Cubs in Chicago. RHP Bryse Wilson (0-0, 5.40 ERA) faces Cubs RHP Mark Leiter Jr. (0-1, 18.90 ERA).
Brewers: Start a three-game set in Philadelphia on Friday. RHP Freddy Peralta (0-1, 11.57 ERA) faces Phillies LHP Ranger Suárez (1-0, 5.87 ERA).