Rookie Jungmann shines in debut as Brewers top Pirates 4-1
PITTSBURGH (AP) Taylor Jungmann expected the nerves. It's the part where they disappeared the second he stepped onto a major league mound for the first time that surprised him.
His funky delivery baffling the Pittsburgh Pirates for seven strong innings, the Milwaukee Brewers rookie breezed to his first win in the big leagues in a 4-1 victory on Tuesday night.
Called up earlier in the day, the 2011 first-round pick looked every bit the contributor the Brewers expected when they took him with the 12th overall pick four years ago. Jungmann gave up one run on three hits, striking out five against just one walk. Heady stuff for a guy who was just 2-3 with a 6.37 ERA in Triple-A this spring.
''That's as good as it gets,'' Milwaukee manager Craig Counsell said. ''He just did a real nice job. The most impressive thing is he pounded the strike zone. He really did a good job in the strike zone, getting his fastball in the strike zone.''
The way Jungmann did it helped, too. The towering 6-foot-6 right-hander throws the ball across his chest. It can give the impression that he's throwing it right at you instead of over the plate. The Pirates certainly looked baffled as they dropped their second straight.
''You have to give him credit,'' Pittsburgh shortstop Jordy Mercer said. ''He was keeping us off-balance with his curveball and missing barrels. We hit a few balls hard off him, but nothing to show for it.''
Starling Marte's 12th home run in the second was the only mistake by Jungmann. The 25-year-old admitted he might have been a little ''overanxious'' while warming up in the bullpen, but he appeared firmly in control as last-place Milwaukee sapped whatever momentum remained from a 13-3 surge by the Pirates that provided their season with a needed jolt.
The Brewers shut out Pittsburgh 2-0 behind Jimmy Nelson on Monday and Jungmann was nearly as sharp 24 hours later. His first major league strikeout was a pretty fastball on the inside corner to Andrew McCutchen to end the bottom of the first, and Jungmann kept right on going. Save for a brief stretch in the second when he gave up a solo homer to Marte, a double to Pedro Alvarez and hit Francisco Cervelli with a pitch - Jungmann had little trouble keeping the Pirates in check. He threw 61 of his 92 pitches for strikes.
''They were aggressive at the plate, which helped me out,'' Jungmann said. ''It just made me want to throw more strikes and stay in the zone.''
Jason Rogers and Aramis Ramirez each hit solo homers and drove in two runs for Milwaukee, which has won four of five. Francisco Rodriguez worked a perfect ninth for his 12th save.
Francisco Liriano (3-5) was nearly as crisp save for an 0-2 breaking ball that Rogers tucked into the first row of seats in left for a home run in the second and a quick strike by the Brewers in the seventh. Ryan Braun led off with a walk and went to third on a single up the middle by Carlos Gomez. Braun scored on a chopper back to the mound by Ramirez and Rogers singled to center to make it 3-1.
Liriano ended up working eight innings, giving up three runs on five hits.
The Pirates went pitching heavy in the second day of the amateur draft, taking six collegiate pitchers in rounds 3-10, including RHPs Jacob Taylor (Pearl River Community College), JT Brubaker (Akron), Seth McGarry (Florida Atlantic), Brett Helton (Utah), Logan Sendelbach (Tiffin) and LHP Brandon Waddell (Virginia). Infielder Mitchell Tolman (Oregon) and OF Casey Hughston (Alabama) were the only position players taken by Pittsburgh on Tuesday. Helton's father Barry spent four years as a punter in the NFL, winning a pair of Super Bowls with the San Francisco 49ers in 1989 and 1990.
Milwaukee took a younger approach to the second day of the draft. The Brewers grabbed three high schools on Tuesday: RHPs Nash Walter (Lindale, Texas) and Karsen Lindell (West Linn, Oregon) and OF Demi Orimoyle (St. Matthews HS, Ontario, Canada). Milwaukee also selected collegiate players SS Blake Allemand (Texas A&M), RHP Eric Hanhold (Florida), 3B George Iskenderian (Miami), RHP Nate Griep (Kansas State) and LHP Jake Drossner (Maryland).
The series wraps up on Wednesday when Kyle Lohse (3-6, 6.59) faces Charlie Morton (3-0, 2.84). Lohse is 11-5 with a 4.02 ERA in 25 games against the Pirates but is 0-2 versus Pittsburgh this season. McCutchen is a career .311 hitter against Lohse, with three homers and 11 RBI. Morton is unbeaten since coming off the disabled list last month following hip surgery. He went 0-2 against Milwaukee last season, with both defeats coming when Lohse started for the Brewers.