Paul Skenes pitches 7 no-hit innings as the Pirates blank the Brewers 1-0

MILWAUKEE (AP) — Paul Skenes struck out 11 in seven no-hit innings in another dominant performance, and the Pittsburgh Pirates beat the Milwaukee Brewers 1-0 on Thursday.

Skenes threw 99 pitches in his 11th major league start, 65 for strikes. The All-Star right-hander walked one while lowering his ERA to 1.90.

“It just comes down to going out there and executing,” Skenes said. “So, if strikeouts are what that looks like, then so be it. It’s just about getting outs.”

Colin Holderman replaced Skenes (6-0) and surrendered a leadoff single to Jake Bauers for Milwaukee’s first hit in the eighth. The Brewers loaded the bases with two down, but Holderman escaped the jam when he struck out William Contreras swinging.

Aroldis Chapman handled the ninth for his fourth save, finishing a two-hitter for Pittsburgh.

Milwaukee wasted a terrific performance by Aaron Civale (2-7), who pitched six-hit ball into the seventh inning. The NL Central leaders lost for the fifth time in seven games.

The Pirates scored their only run in the seventh. Ke’Bryan Hayes reached on a leadoff single, but he was erased when Jack Suwinski grounded into a fielder’s choice.

Yasmani Grandal then doubled into the gap in right-center, and Suwinski scored from first with a headfirst slide.

Civale was replaced by Bryan Hudson after issuing a walk to Andrew McCutchen. Hudson then got Bryan Reynolds to bounce into an inning-ending double play.

Milwaukee got its first baserunner when Bauers was hit by Skenes with two down in the second. Garrett Mitchell then walked, but Andruw Monasterio struck out swinging for the final out.

Skenes, the No. 1 overall pick in last year’s draft out of LSU, struck out 11 while pitching six no-hit innings in his second start for Pittsburgh on May 17 at the Cubs. He has permitted two runs or fewer in nine of his 11 major league starts.

“I don’t think anybody thinks that when you come to the big leagues, it’s going to be like this,” Pittsburgh manager Derek Shelton said.

In the third inning, Contreras hit a foul ball into the second deck that just missed the foul pole in left. He pushed Skenes to 10 pitches before striking out.

Skenes stayed cool, stopping to tie his shoe a moment after striking out Willy Adames for the second time in the fourth.

“Just falling back to your process and then just focusing on executing and getting the guys out, getting the pitches and, as long as you do that, then everything’s going to kind of fall where it may,” Skenes said. “So, just got to fall back to your preparation.”

Skenes retired his final 16 batters, striking out eight in that stretch. He is up to 89 strikeouts in 66 1/3 innings.

“Guys have velo in the major leagues, but just being able to pitch and kind of just throw anything at any time, he keeps you off balance,” Milwaukee slugger Christian Yelich said. “I actually thought we did a really good job against him today. I think we could have done a better job of getting him out of the game sooner. I think we let him off the hook with some at-bats there at the end.”

Pittsburgh beat the Brewers 12-2 on Tuesday and lost 9-0 on Wednesday. Milwaukee had won nine straight home series.


Pirates: SS Oneil Cruz (hamstring tightness) returned to the starting lineup after missing two games. He went onto the outfield grass to field a groundball and throw out Contreras in the first inning.

Brewers: RHP Devin Williams (back stress fracture) will make a rehab start Saturday with High-A Wisconsin.


Pirates: At the White Sox for a three-game series. Pittsburgh didn’t announce a starter for Friday night’s game. Chicago will go with LHP Garrett Crochet (6-6, 3.08 ERA).

Brewers: RHP Freddy Peralta (6-4, 3.95 ERA) starts the opener of a three-game series against Washington on Friday night. The visiting Nationals will go with RHP Jackson Rutledge (0-0, 9.00 ERA).



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