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Brewers sweep Pirates after a comeback victory

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MILWAUKEE — For the first time in more than a month, the Brewers proved they can cobble together a comeback.

Jesse Winker singled home a run in the fifth inning, then walked in the eighth to set the stage for a four-run rally and a 5-2 win over the Pirates on Sunday at American Family Field. It completed a three-game Brewers sweep, kept Milwaukee atop scorching-hot Cincinnati in the National League Central and showed that, yes, it’s possible to erase a multi-run deficit.

“We do our best. We try to be present and win every play,” said Luis Urías, whose two-run single cemented the victory. “Coming from behind, it always feels amazing.”

Under normal circumstances, Bryan Reynolds’ two-run home run off Brewers starter Freddy Peralta in the top of the third inning — with seven innings of at-bats to go for the home team — would not have represented an impossible obstacle.

But comebacks have eluded the Brewers, who — before Sunday — had not managed to erase any multi-run deficit at any point of any game since May 14 against the Royals. That was the day Milwaukee’s seven-run third matched their biggest inning all season, turning a 4-1 deficit into an 8-4 lead in an eventual 9-6 Brewers win.

Since then, every deficit of more than one run resulted in a loss.

We’re talking about a span of 30 games.

“I feel like we’ve had a couple of close calls, made some games close late, but today, we were able to do what we needed to do to push a couple across late,” said Christian Yelich, after tallying two doubles and extending his on-base streak to 11 games. “Those games kind of feel like you steal one late. We had chances all day.”

They had chance after chance to come back on Sunday thanks to Peralta, who was terrific after the home run. He retired the next 12 batters he faced to get through six innings, and tied his season high with nine strikeouts.

“I was really proud of Freddy today,” Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. “He just got in the strike zone, that’s the big thing. The misses were big early. It was giving the hitters free pitches. … Then, everything got tighter in the strike zone. Credit to him for doing that.”

After Hoby Milner and Trevor Megill followed Peralta with a scoreless inning apiece, it was Winker’s second walk of the afternoon in the eighth that sparked the winning rally.

Against three Pirates relievers, the Brewers worked three walks, hit a pair of RBI singles and nearly made it an even bigger inning when, with the bases loaded, organizational newcomer Raimel Tapia greeted Pirates closer David Bednar with a deep fly ball to the center-field wall.

“I was happy because I got the job done,” Tapia said, with Brewers coach Nestor Corredor translating. “But yeah, I was expecting that ball to go farther. I have to go do extra workouts in the gym tomorrow.”

Instead of a grand slam, Tapia settled for a go-ahead sacrifice fly on Ji Hwan Bae’s terrific leaping catch, and Urías cleaned up with a two-run single that extended the lead for Devin Williams to breeze through his 12th save.

The Brewers’ rally was notable for the contributions of Willy Adames, whose nine-pitch walk following Winker’s leadoff walk put the go-ahead runner on base for the Brewers, and for Urías’ hit five batters later.

Adames was 0-for-3 to that point of the game, and 7-for-41 (.171) in 10 games since returning from getting struck in the head from a foul ball. And before his two-run single, Urías was 3-for-30 since returning from more than two months on the IL for a hamstring injury.

“It’s been hard the last couple of days but I’m trying to keep it simple right now and just see the ball,” Urías said. “I feel great. I’m trying to trust the process and not worry about the results. I’m trying to find my routine and go every day and give my best.

“I’ll say, it’s been tough. That’s part of it. Baseball is not easy. But I’ve been in the game for a couple of years and it’s always the same; you’re going to struggle and you’re going to fight through it, hoping that you can see the ball in slow motion.”

The Brewers needed it. The Reds, just one-half game back, won their eighth in a row on Sunday.

“We did a lot of good things in this series,” Counsell said. “We pitched very, very well in this series. It’s the rollercoaster of the year. In the division, the games really matter.”

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