PITTSBURGH — Keston Hiura found that less thinking resulted in more hitting and an end to his struggles at the plate.
Hiura hit two home runs for the first time in the big league career and drove in three runs Wednesday night, powering the Milwaukee Brewers to an 8-3 win and three-game sweep of the Pittsburgh Pirates.
"At times where you may have a couple bad games in a row, or a few bad games in a row ... you kind of overanalyze a little bit," said Hiura, who had just three hits in his first 21 at-bats in August. "At the end of the day, it's right in front of you. Just keep it simple."
Hiura hit a two-run homer with two out in the first inning for an early 2-0 lead. He sent a fastball from Trevor Williams 388 feet over the wall in right-centre. His second home run, the 13th of his rookie season, was a solo shot that made the score 6-1 in the fifth. He also had a double in the third inning.
The Brewers moved past the St. Louis Cardinals and into second place in the NL Central, three games behind the division-leading Chicago Cubs. Milwaukee entered the series having lost six of seven.
"That's the baseball season, man," Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. "I'm proud of our guys. There's not going to be quit. There's not going to be feeling sorry for ourselves. ... You look at the standings and it tells you you're right in it."
The Pirates fell to 4-21 since the All-Star break.
"I'm sure there's some guys in there that are questioning some of the things that are going on as far as why they are not getting the results they want," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. "Overall, we talk about collective effort. We talk about collective fight. ... They just want results. So, we need to play better."
Junior Guerra (5-3) picked up a second win in as many nights. He allowed one hit and one walk in two innings in relief of Drew Pomeranz, who gave up one run in three innings. Pomeranz was pressed into duty after Zach Davies was placed on the 10-day injured list with back spasms Monday.
Williams (4-5) allowed six runs on eight hits in five innings after shutting out Milwaukee in 19 straight innings. The Brewers had not scored off Williams since scoring one run on three hits in a 1-0 win on Sept. 19, 2017.
"The guys that hurt me tonight were guys they didn't have last year," Williams said. "It was too many mistakes over the wide part of the plate tonight. I just need to do a better job executing better there."
Jacob Stallings got Pittsburgh on the board with a solo homer, his third of the season, in the third inning. Bryan Reynolds and Starling Marte had RBI singles in the seventh to cut it to 8-3.
YELICH SITS AGAIN
Brewers OF Christian Yelich rested for a second straight day to manage a nagging back injury. He said the issue came after he felt something in his back during Monday's game, where he hit his 38th and 39th homers this season. Yelich considers himself day to day, but manager Craig Counsell said he hopes to have the reigning NL MVP back Friday.
Brewers: OF Lorenzo Cain pinch-hit for Guerra in the sixth inning after sustaining a bruised left knee by fouling a ball off himself on Tuesday. He singled past first base, scoring two to put Milwaukee up 8-1, before staying in to play centre field.
Pirates: 1B Josh Bell is expected to return to the lineup Friday after being kept out for a second straight day Wednesday.
Brewers: LHP Gio González (2-1, 3.35) will go for his fourth win in his past five starts when he goes against Texas on Friday. His three-game winning streak ended his last time out, on Aug. 3, when he gave up one run on five hits in 4 1/3 innings of a 4-1 loss to the Cubs.
Pirates: RHP Chris Archer (3-8, 5.35) will look for his first win in more than two months when he takes the mound against St. Louis on Friday. He last won on June 6, allowing one run on six hits in six innings against Atlanta. Archer is 0-3 in 10 starts since.
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