Brewers look to ride momentum in rubber match vs. Pirates

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The Pittsburgh Pirates and visiting Milwaukee Brewers play the rubber match of their three-game series on Wednesday, and both clubs can lay claim to momentum and motivation.

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The Brewers, after being quiet on offense in a 4-2 loss on Monday, came to life during Tuesday’s 7-3 win that included a six-run fifth inning — as well as a strong start from Brandon Woodruff, who pitched seven scoreless frames.

Milwaukee outfielder/designated hitter Mark Canha had an RBI single during the fifth to run his on-base streak to 17 games.

“(It’s) just the way I’ve been staying in the moment and just being present and taking what the pitcher gives me and having feel for the game,” Canha told Bally Sports Wisconsin.

Milwaukee (77-61), which had lost two games in a row and four of its last six going into Tuesday, has the chance to parlay its most recent performance into a series win.

The Brewers are also attempting to hold on to first place in the National League Central, which for now means holding off the second-place Chicago Cubs.

Pittsburgh (64-75) can try to feed off its ninth inning on Tuesday.

The Pirates trailed 7-0 entering the bottom of the ninth but got a couple of singles before Connor Joe hit a three-run homer to perhaps provide some momentum heading into the series finale.

Pittsburgh, which had won six of its last seven games before Tuesday, is trying to construct a strong foundation with a respectable finish to the season during its ongoing rebuild. The Pirates have walked the walk this season, with a parade of young players and rookies getting a chance to develop.

One of those players is reliever Hunter Stratton, who pitched two scoreless innings of relief Tuesday in his major league debut.

“Good first impression. Good debut,” Pittsburgh manager Derek Shelton said of Stratton’s outing.

Pirates designated hitter Andrew McCutchen was given Tuesday off after he left Monday’s game because of left Achilles tendon tightness. He is currently listed as day-to-day, but his availability for Wednesday remains unknown.

Right-hander Freddy Peralta (11-8, 3.85 ERA) is scheduled to start for Milwaukee on Wednesday. He will oppose rookie right-hander Colin Selby (2-0, 5.79).

Peralta was the NL Pitcher of the Month for August after going 5-0 with a 2.10 ERA in five starts.

In his first start of September, Peralta came away with a no-decision against Philadelphia on Friday despite a dominant performance. He allowed one run and two hits in six innings, with 10 strikeouts and no walks.

“He was so, so good,” Brewers manager Craig Counsell said of Peralta. “He just got in a rhythm, and it was like an effortless rhythm and a lot of execution. The fastball was really good, and everything was working. … Excellent effort.”

Peralta is 2-1 with a 3.03 ERA in 19 career appearances (10 starts) against the Pirates. That includes two no-decisions this season.

Pittsburgh announced after Tuesday’s game that Selby will serve as an opener Wednesday.

Selby has yet to face the Brewers in his career and has not pitched more than two innings in any of his 11 major league outings. In his most recent outings, he worked 1 1/3 combined innings of relief against St. Louis on Friday and Saturday, pitching a scoreless inning and getting the win on Friday then giving up two runs in one-third of an inning the following day.

—Field Level Media

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