Pirates’ Paul Skenes aims to end Brewers’ home-series win streak

For the Milwaukee Brewers to win their 10th consecutive home series, they will have to solve Pittsburgh Pirates rookie phenom Paul Skenes on Thursday in the finale of a three-game set.

The Brewers evened the series at a game apiece with a 9-0 victory on Wednesday behind rookie Tobias Myers, who allowed four hits over eight innings. Willy Adames hit a three-run homer and Rhys Hoskins added a solo shot.

Milwaukee is 23-7 in its last 30 games at American Family Field after a 5-7 start.

Skenes (5-0, 2.12 ERA), the first Pirates rookie pitcher ever selected for the All-Star Game, will be opposed by recently acquired right-hander Aaron Civale (2-6, 5.18).

“Obviously, starting the year in Triple-A, the odds of going to the major league All-Star Game are pretty slim, so that wasn’t one of my goals necessarily or expectations for this season,” Skenes said after his selection was announced. “It’s just a huge honor that I’m able to do it, after playing just a short span in the big leagues.”

In his most recent outing, Skenes allowed two runs in seven innings during a 14-2 victory over the New York Mets on Friday. He struck out eight and walked two.

Skenes, averaging 11.8 strikeouts per nine innings, is the first Pirates rookie starter to win each of his first five decisions since Zach Duke began 6-0 in 2005.

In four road starts, Skenes is 2-0 with a 1.11 ERA, logging 37 strikeouts and four walks in 24 1/3 innings.

Skenes, the top overall pick in the 2023 draft, has thrown 74 pitches at 100 mph or greater, more than twice as many as the next closest starting pitcher, according to MLB.com.

He will hope for offensive support from Rowdy Tellez, who doubled for one of Pittsburgh’s four hits on Wednesday. Tellez is batting .364 (16-for-44) with six homers and 12 RBIs over his past 14 games.

The Pirates failed to homer on Wednesday, snapping a string of 12 consecutive games with a home run against the Brewers dating back to last season.

Civale, acquired earlier this month from the Tampa Bay Rays, will be making his second start for the Brewers. In his first outing, he allowed four runs on five hits, including three homers, in five innings against the Los Angeles Dodgers on Friday. He left with a 5-4 lead but did not get the decision in Milwaukee’s 8-5 loss.

“Just got to compete each batter, compete each pitch and learn from your mistakes,” Civale said, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, of the start in which he served up two long balls to Will Smith (of the three the catcher hit that day) and another to Miguel Vargas.

Civale was 2-6 with a 5.07 ERA in 17 starts with the Rays. He is 1-1 with a 4.63 ERA in four career starts vs. Pittsburgh.

Milwaukee’s Christian Yelich, who now has enough at-bats to qualify for the National League leaderboard after missing 20 games with a back injury, went 2-for-3 on Wednesday to raise his league-leading average to .335.

Adames is hitting .343 (12-for-35) over his last nine games with a homer, three doubles and eight RBIs.

–Field Level Media