John Van Benschoten led the NCAA in homers three years ago. Now, he’s trying to make a name for himself as a pitcher.
Van Benschoten looks to earn his first major league win and send the Milwaukee Brewers to their 13th straight loss as the Pirates continue a four-game series at Miller Park.
Van Benschoten was Pittsburgh’s first-round pick in the 2001 draft, and was rated the organization’s top prospect by Baseball America each of the last two years.
He made his major league debut Aug. 18, allowing six runs and seven hits in six innings of a 6-3 loss to the Arizona Diamondbacks. The right-hander was sent down to Triple-A Nashville and recalled five days later for another start against Arizona. He allowed four runs—one earned—and seven hits over seven innings in the Pirates’ 5-4 loss to the Diamondbacks without receiving a decision.
“He had a shaky start,” manager Lloyd McClendon said of Van Benschoten. “But he seemed to settle down and find a groove. He actually threw the ball pretty good down the stretch and gave us seven strong innings.”
Van Benschoten, who led the NCAA with 31 home runs as a senior at Kent State in 2001, added a two-run blast for his first major league hit Aug. 23— something he admitted felt “pretty good.”
“It was a fun day no matter what happened,” he said. “Obviously it would have been better to pick up a win with it.”
The Brewers lost 5-1 to the Pirates on Monday, matching their NL record for consecutive losses. The team lost a franchise record 14 in a row in 1994, while in the American League.
Geoff Jenkins went 2-for-4 with a triple, and Bill Hall drove in the lone run for Milwaukee, which has scored just seven runs in the last five games. The Brewers held a team meeting for the second straight day, but it didn’t seem to help.
“It’s getting pretty bad about how frustrated we are,” Brewers first baseman Lyle Overbay said. “We’re looking at one another and saying, `What else can go wrong?”’
Daryle Ward homered twice and drove in five runs for the Pirates, who snapped a three-game losing streak and won for just the third time in 11 games.
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