Newly acquired Eduardo Escobar blasted a three-run homer and tripled home another run to lift the surging Milwaukee Brewers to a 6-2 victory over the visiting Pittsburgh Pirates on Monday.
Escobar, picked up in a trade last week with the Arizona Diamondbacks, put the Brewers up 6-0 in the seventh inning with his 24th homer. It was his second long ball in four games with Milwaukee.
Eric Lauer (4-4) allowed just three hits in five scoreless innings for the win. Brent Suter followed with two shutout innings and Daniel Norris pitched a scoreless eighth before the Pirates broke in the ninth through against veteran John Axford, acquired in a minor league deal from Toronto earlier Monday.
Axford, 38, recorded just one out, hit a batter, allowed two singles and walked in a run. Brad Boxberger came on and also walked in a run, but he got the final two outs for his fourth save.
Axford, who broke into the big leagues with Milwaukee in 2009 and holds the Brewers single-season save mark with 46 in 2011, had not pitched in the majors since 2018. He began the season as a Blue Jays TV analyst.
Right-hander Bryse Wilson (2-4), acquired Friday from Atlanta in a trade for pitcher Rich Rodriguez, was effective in his first start for Pittsburgh. He gave up one run on two hits in five innings. Wilson walked two without registering a strikeout.
Milwaukee, which has won eight of its past 10 games, extended its lead in the National League Central to 7 1/2 games over the idle Cincinnati Reds. The Brewers, who swept Pittsburgh last week on the road, are 11-3 against the Pirates this season.
Lorenzo Cain, in his sixth game since returning from a strained right hamstring, manufactured a run in the third inning to put Milwaukee up 1-0.
Cain legged out a leadoff infield single, then stole second. He advanced on Lauer's perfectly placed bunt single up the third base line and then scored on Kolten Wong's sacrifice fly to left.
The Brewers added two runs in the sixth off reliever Kyle Keller. Escobar put Milwaukee up 2-0 on an RBI triple into the right field corner following a two-out walk by Omar Narvaez. Avisail Garcia was hit by a pitch and stole second. Rowdy Tellez was then walked intentionally, and Tyrone Teller worked a nine-pitch walk to force in a run for a 3-0 lead.
--Field Level Media