MILWAUKEE (AP) — Endy Rodriguez and Connor Joe homered to spoil the return of Milwaukee starter Brandon Woodruff after four months, leading the Pittsburgh Pirates to a 4-1 victory over the NL Central-leading Brewers on Sunday.
Woodruff (1-1) was activated off the 60-day injured list (right shoulder inflammation) on Sunday and was making his first start for the Brewers since April 7. He retired the first six hitters, striking out the first five, before Rodriguez opened the third inning with his second homer.
Joe opened the fourth with his eighth homer of the season to make it 2-0.
“I couldn’t really sleep this morning. I woke up a few times, more excited than anything,” said Woodruff, who was 13-4 last season with a 3.05 ERA. “And, you know what, I’m just like everybody else, I get nervous and anxious, and I was just ready to get out here and pitch. Honestly, just ready to get out on the field and just be out there and just feel the stadium, the crowd and then finally get on the mound.”
Bryan Reynolds had a pinch-hit, two-run homer, his 14th of the season, off Abner Uribe in the eighth to make it 4-0.
Milwaukee scored an unearned run in the ninth off Carmen Mlodzinski when William Contreras walked and Carlos Santana singled. Contreras scored from third on a two-out throwing error by third baseman Ke’Bryan Hayes.
Johan Oviedo (6-11) allowed just two hits, both by Contreras, in seven innings and won his third consecutive start after eight straight losses. Oviedo struck out six and walked three.
Contreras singled in the first, but was erased on a double play. He was thrown out at third to end the sixth trying to stretch a double into triple. Oviedo allowed just three other balls out of the infield.
“The off-speed was really good and got us off his fastball,” Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. “The pitch mix was really good, the location was really good. First inning, we hit some balls hard it felt like, and then after that he was really dialed in.”
Woodruff, returning after three minor-league rehab starts, allowed two runs on four hits in five innings. He struck out nine with no walks in an 85-pitch outing.
“It was very impressive,” said Pirates manager Derek Shelton. “We’ve seen him over the course of time and he’s given us fits. But that was pre-healthy fastball. Fastball up to 96, 97, top of the zone. That was really good stuff.”
Milwaukee, 12-39 when scoring three runs or fewer, retained its lead in the Central by 1 ½ games over Cincinnati and the surging Cubs. The Reds suffered their sixth straight loss, 6-3 to Washington on Sunday. Chicago defeated Atlanta 6-4 on Sunday for its seventh win in 10 games.
“You miss going out and competing with all these guys and kind of being in the middle of things,” Woodruff said. “And now we’re getting down to the last two months of baseball and the division race is still tight. This is the fun part.”
Brewers: Woodruff was reinstated from the 60-day injured list and LHP Clayton Andrews was optioned to Triple-A Nashville.
Milwaukee opens a three-game series at home against Colorado on Monday. RHP Freddy Peralta (7-8, 4.460 starts for the Brewers against RHP Peter Lambert (2-2, 5.07).
Pittsburgh returns home for four games against Atlanta. RHP Osvaldo Bido (2-2, 5.18) starts for the Pirates on Monday, opposed by RHP Spencer Strider (12-3, 3.61)