MILWAUKEE (AP) — The Milwaukee Brewers won their ninth in a row, with Kyle Lohse coming within one out of a complete game Sunday in a 4-1 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates.
At 10-2, the Brewers are off to their best start since going 13-0 to start the 1987 season. This is Milwaukee’s longest winning streak since a nine-game string last April.
Lohse (2-1) gave up four hits and struck out nine in 8 2-3 innings. He fanned five straight in the seventh and eighth innings.
Lohse retired 12 of his last 13 batters. He was pulled with two outs in the ninth after giving up a single to Andrew McCutchen.
Will Smith struck out Pedro Alvarez on three pitches to record his first career save.
Charlie Morton (0-1) pitched seven innings as the Pirates lost for the fourth time in five games.
Overall, Milwaukee’s rotation has been outstanding to start the season. The starters have combined 1.80 ERA over the first 12 games, giving up just 22 earned runs.
The Brewers backed Lohse with fine fielding.
Shortstop Jean Segura made several tough plays and Logan Shafer robbed Alvarez of at least a double in the second inning when he hauled in a long drive just before crashing into the left field wall.
Martin Maldonado got the first hit of the game as he lined a double off the right field wall leading off the Milwaukee third. Lohse sacrificed and Carlos Gomez hit a sacrifice fly.
The Pirates tied the game in the fourth. Starling Marte led off with a single, moved to third on a perfect hit-and-run single by Jose Tabata and scored on McCutchen’s sacrifice fly, just beating the throw from Gomez in center.
Ryan Braun doubled in the Milwaukee fourth and scored on a single by Ramirez, giving him 11 RBIs this year.
The Brewers broke open the game in the sixth, helped by an error. Ramirez walked and moved to third on Lyle Overbay’s double, just his second hit of the season.
Morton struck out Scooter Gennett, but the ball was in the dirt. Catcher Tony Sanchez’s throw to first was wide and went down the right field line, allowing Ramirez and Overbay to score and Gennett to reach third.
NOTES: The Brewers will try for their 10th straight win Monday night when they host St. Louis. Matt Garza starts against the Cardinals’ Lance Lynn. … The Pirates move on to Cincinnati, where Wandy Rodriguez will face Homer Bailey of the Reds. … The Brewers and the Pirates will meet again in a four-game series in Pittsburgh starting Thursday.