MILWAUKEE — The Brewers bring out the best in Chad Kuhl.
Kuhl and Richard Rodriguez combined on a two-hitter, leading the Pittsburgh Pirates over Milwaukee 9-0 on Sunday at Miller Park.
Kuhl is 3-0 with a 1.91 ERA in six starts against the Brewers, and the Pirates are unbeaten in those games.
“There were a few games last year that really stand out,” Kuhl said. “This is up there, just for the amount of weak contact and all that. It was one of my better ones, for sure.”
Adam Frazier, Jordy Mercer and Josh Bell hit solo homers for the Pirates.
Kuhl (4-2) allowed one hit in seven innings, struck out eight and walked two, lowering his ERA from 5.01 to 4.12. Domingo Santana singled in the second and was erased on a double play.
“His secondary pitch command today was as good as I’ve ever seen it,” Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. “His fastball probably had the most finish we’ve seen this season.”
Kuhl settled in after going to three balls on each of the first four batters.
“He’s got a real good arm. He’s throwing hard. There was obviously no pressure on him at all,” Brewers manager Craig Counsell said.
Rodriguez struck out his first four batters, allowed Hernan Perez’s single up the middle, then struck out his final two hitters.
Milwaukee’s Chase Anderson (3-3) gave up five runs and five hits in 5⅓ innings. Anderson has given up 10 home runs in 45⅓ innings, after allowing 14 all last season in 141⅓ innings.
“When you don’t hit your spots and you pitch in a place like this, and if the ball’s up a little bit, balls are going to tend to fly out of the park,” Anderson said.
Frazier hit his first leadoff home run this season, and Corey Dickerson added an RBI double later in the first inning.
Mercer’s first homer since September made it 3-0 in the second. The Pirates added four runs in the sixth on a triple by Starling Marte and five consecutive one-out singles. Dickerson, Colin Moran, Mercer and Kuhl drove in runs.
Bell homered in the seventh against Jorge Lopez.
“There was not much good to report about today’s game,” Counsell said.
Milwaukee has been shut out seven times in 35 games after being blanked eight times last season. Milwaukee was shut out three times in a four-game sweep by the Cubs in late April.
“It’s a big number already, for sure,” Counsell said.
Infielder Eric Sogard is hitless in his past 27 at-bats, the longest hitless streak by a Brewer since Aramis Ramirez went 0-for-28 in 2014. Sogard has drawn five walks during that span, and his batting average has dropped to .100.
From the infirmary
Brewers catcher Stephen Vogt (right shoulder) was scheduled to return to Milwaukee to be examined after leaving a game at Class AA Biloxi on Saturday after making a throw. ... All-Star closer Corey Knebel (left hamstring) pitched Saturday at Biloxi and threw a scoreless inning Sunday, allowing a hit and a walk with two strikeouts. “He’s on track to join us at the end of the week at the latest,” Counsell said. ... LHP Boone Logan (left triceps) is scheduled for at least one more outing at Class AAA Colorado Springs after consecutive appearances Friday and Saturday at Biloxi.
Milwaukee closes its homestand with two games against Cleveland starting Tuesday. LHP Wade Miley (1-0, 1.50) makes his second start after opening the season on the DL. He allowed one run and three hits in six innings on Wednesday in beating Cincinnati in his Brewers debut.