PITTSBURGH — Corbin Burnes didn’t take his A-game to PNC Park on Friday.
But thanks to a banner night for Milwaukee Brewers’ bats, it didn’t come close.
Luis Urías, Keston Hiura and Rowdy Tellez all homered in a seven-hit batter to score a second inning for seven runs, then an eight-run eighth inning ended a 19-2 elimination for the Pittsburgh Pirates.
The 17-point victory margin was the biggest of the season for Milwaukee, which hit a total of five home runs and brought in eight different players in a 16-hit bout.
The last time the Brewers defeated an opponent by a larger margin was on September 9, 2020, when they knocked out the Detroit Tigers 19-0 at Comerica Park.
And going into Friday, the Brewers had never had multiple seven-run innings in a game. The last team to complete the feat in the major leagues was the Oakland A’s against the Kansas City Royals on June 1, 2018.
“We started and we didn’t stop,” Andrew McCutchen said after another three-hit match for him. “We took that momentum from last night. We played a good game last night; we just lost. But we fought back.
“I was like, ‘Tomorrow is going to be special.’ I kept telling people, “Tomorrow is going to be special. You’re going to see it.” You could just feel it. And we were able to show it tonight.”
Burnes took a no-hitter into the sixth inning, despite having problems with command throughout his 100-pitch outing. He nevertheless improved his record to 7-4 and lowered his earned run average to 2.36.
Box score: Brewers 19, Pirates 2
The offense started off Pirates-starter Roansy Contreras, who forced him out of the game after only 1⅔ inning.
After Kolten Wong’s RBI put two double batters on the Brewers in the second inning, Urías homered to the middle. Two batters later, Hiura hit one out to the left.
Jonathan Davis and Christian Yelich then walked Contreras consecutively. After Willy Adames grounded out, Tellez trailed in the count, 1-2, before homered to right-center to give Milwaukee the one-touchdown lead.
It was the sixth consecutive goal to result in a home run for Tellez and the first time since August 17, 2019 in Washington that the Brewers homered three times in an inning (Yelich, Mike Moustakas, Ryan Braun in first place).
Contreras was ready at that moment, but the offense was not, as it added two more runs in the fourth.
They came with two outs and courtesy of a Tellez double to the right after Yelich walked and Adames singled.
It was the ninth consecutive hit, resulting in extra bases for Tellez, linking him with four other players in franchise history. The last to complete this feat was Damian Miller, from April 18-22, 2006.
The record is held by Ryan Thompson, who held 10 from August 22 through September. 1, 2002.
With that much breathing room – a rarity for him this season – Burnes was able to solve some rare commando problems, largely without compromising the outcome of the match.
And despite walking, hitting a batter and throwing a wild pitch, he was one out in the sixth inning before Bligh Madris lined the head over the head of Jonathan Davis in the middle for the Pirates’ first basehit .
Burnes ended the inning and then hit the showers after keeping his career high for walks that accompanied a season-low tying of five strikeouts.
“Obviously it’s nice to have a lot of runs behind you, but I have to try harder to get into the zone when I have a lead like that,” said Burnes. “Having four batters in a game like that is unacceptable. It’s frustrating.
“I’ve been hit or miss with the cutter all year, so to go there and run four in a game like that is frustrating.”
Manager Craig Counsell saw the defending National League Cy Young Award winner start a little differently.
“He didn’t have his last pitches,” he said. “But that said, he only allowed one hit, so I’m not sure there’s a lot of criticism.”
As for not allowing a hit until the sixth, Burnes admitted it was more a coincidence than anything.
“I think that falls into the effectively wild category if you throw the ball everywhere and they don’t start swinging,” he said. “Then you suddenly stand out for Strike 1, Strike 2 or Strike 3, or you get a weak contact.
“As far as the results are concerned, they look good. But underneath, we have a lot to work on.
The game went crazy in the eighth when the Brewers sent 13 batters to the plate and scored eight runs, highlighted by an Adames grand slam.
All eight runs were scored off Cam Vieaux, who only scored an out when the 11th batter, Omar Narváez, came to the plate and lined into the middle of the lefthander’s 48th pitch.
It was only the third time in franchise history that the Brewers scored eight runs before noting an out. The last time was on August 19, 1987, when they faced eight in the fourth inning against the Cleveland Indians.
“We were thinking about what to do in terms of pitching, so I thought more about that and just let the offense do its thing,” Counsell described the eighth from his perspective.
Vieaux then threw 56 pitches in the inning and got a big cheer from the crowd when he finally left the mound.
“I don’t think I’ve ever seen that,” said McCutchen, one of the best ever to play for the Pirates. “It’s hard for anyone to come in that situation and have to throw so many pitches in one inning.
“We were definitely stringing hits and everything fell. The first out was a line drive; we hit the ball everywhere. You don’t want anyone to go through that. You don’t want anyone to get hurt.
“Luckily he got out of there.”
Infielder Josh VanMeter took the mound for the ninth and was greeted by a homerun by Victor Caratini.
Mike Brosseau grounded out in the final run for the Brewers and threw the ninth.
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This article originally appeared on Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Brewers attack unleashes 19-run barrage against the Pirates