Another strong start from Kip Wells can help the Pittsburgh Pirates carry their recent success to PNC Park. A third win against Wells would help the Milwaukee Brewers shift their strong play to the road.
Wells, who pitched well during the Pirates’ best road trip in 15 years, will try to avenge two poor starts against the surging Brewers in the opener of a three-game series.
Pittsburgh won both of Wells’ starts during a 7-3 road trip, the Pirates’ best since posting a 10-3 record from April 19-May 2, 1990. Wells went 1-0 with a 3.46 ERA.
The right-hander, though, has struggled against Milwaukee this season. Wells’ first two starts were against the Brewers and he lost both, posting an 8.02 ERA in 12 1-3 innings.
The Brewers are trying to build on their most successful homestand in nearly 23 years. They went 9-3, marking the first time they won nine times during a homestand since going 9-1 from Sept. 18-27, 1992.
“We’re playing up to our capabilities,” Milwaukee manager Ned Yost said. “There’s still a lot of things we need to work on. But our defense has been solid, our relief pitching has been great and our offense has been good, so I’m happy.”
Derrick Turnbow, who only became the Brewers’ closer two weeks ago, pitched the ninth for his fifth save. During the homestand, he had four wins and three saves.
Like the Brewers, most teams hit the road trying to build on their home success. The Pirates are facing the opposite scenario.
The Pirates have something to prove to their fans at PNC Park, where they are 3-9.
“I said earlier in the year I thought we had a team that had nice interchangeable parts,” Pittsburgh manager Lloyd McClendon said. “I think it’s a more confident team. Obviously, it started with guys swinging the bats. I think they’ve built on it and feel good about themselves. This is a team I want to take back home.”
Ty Wigginton hit a tiebreaking two-run homer, Daryle Ward added a two-run shot, and Ray Sadler also connected for his first major league hit, leading the Pirates over the San Francisco Giants 7-2 on Wednesday.
Pittsburgh began the day with a major league-best 18 home runs in May, then hit three more to end its trip on a high note.