Bryan Reynolds hits walk-off homer off Devin Williams as Pirates beat Brewers

After trading the most dominant closer in baseball to the San Diego Padres, the Milwaukee Brewers turned in the ninth inning of a tied game to All-Star Devin Williams, who hadn’t allowed a home run this season or a run in 30 consecutive games .

The Pittsburgh Pirates passed on dealing Bryan Reynolds at the trade deadline, keeping the 2021 All-Star center fielder as part of their core. Never before had Reynolds hit a walk-off home run, nor did he imagine the possibility against Williams.

“I walked up to the plate telling myself, ‘This probably isn’t a guy you’re hitting a home run off of, so just try to get him in the zone or maybe he’ll walk you,'” Reynolds said. “I got to a good count and he threw me a heater.”

Reynolds smashed a 2-0 four-seam fastball, sending it 425 feet to right-center for his 16th homer and an 8-7 walk-off win Wednesday night before 13,084 at PNC Park as the Pirates won their second consecutive game against the NL Central leading brewers. The Pirates have a chance to complete a three-game sweep on Thursday afternoon.

Williams hadn’t allowed an extra-base hit since giving up a double to Tyler Naquin in the eighth inning of a 5-4 win over the Cincinnati Reds on May 10. But he went from setup man to being thrust into the closer’s role after the Brewers traded Hader, a four-time All-Star who has 29 saves this season, to the Padres for four players.

“I mean we’re very aware of it. That guy’s elite,” Pirates manager Derek Shelton said of Williams’ dominance. “Bryan was able to get ahead in the count and he had good swings all night, got a pitch up and didn’t miss it, which ended up very good for us.”

Shelton couldn’t have imagined the ending, given the way the game started. The Pirates made a bullpen start with right-handed reliever Tyler Beede and rallied from a 4-0 deficit to take a 7-4 lead, only to see the Brewers tie the game in the eighth.

It was Beede’s first start since Sept. 26, 2019, when he made the 22nd of his 24 career starts for the San Francisco Giants. Beede has been in the bullpen since, going 1-1 with a 3.12 ERA in 23 appearances this season for the Giants and Pirates.

Beede struggled in the first inning, throwing 16 of his 32 pitches for strikes as the Brewers took a 1-0 lead on Kolten Wong’s single to right to score Christian Yelich. Beede escaped a bases-loaded jam by getting Luis Urias to ground into a forceout at second.

The Brewers continued hitting the Pirates hard in the second, as Willy Adames hit a two-run double off Beede down the right field line for a 3-0 lead. The Pirates turned to lefty Dillon Peters, but Rowdy Tellez singled off the Clemente Wall in right to score Adames to make it 4-0.

Brewers right-hander Freddy Peralta was making his first start since May 22 after being on the 60-day injured list with a shoulder strain. Peralta gave up a leadoff single to Tucupita Marcano and back-to-back walks to Reynolds and Ben Gamel to load the bases, then Ke’Bryan Hayes hit a two-run single to right to cut it to 4-2.

Marcano hit a two-out triple to right-center in the fourth, but Wong made a nice play up the middle and his throw beat Tyler Heineman to first. Heineman left the game with right groin discomfort and was replaced behind the plate by Jason Delay.

Cruz drew a one-out walk in the sixth, then scored on one of the crazier plays of the season. Pinch hitter Michael Chavis sliced ​​a double down the right field line that bounced to Renfroe, who overthrew the cutoff to allow Cruz to score and cut it to 4-3.

Chavis collided with Tellez, the Brewers’ 6-foot-4, 255-pound first baseman, while rounding first but reached third on the throwing error. Marcano, who went 3 for 4 after being called up Wednesday from Triple-A Indianapolis, drove into Chavis with a two-out single to left-center to tie the game.

The Pirates took the lead against Matt Bush in the seventh, despite twice getting caught in rundowns that cost them a pair of runs. Kevin Newman was caught between third and home plate on Gamel’s fielder’s choice, but it allowed Reynolds and Gamel to advance to second and third. Hayes singled to right to score Reynolds for a 5-4 lead but was tagged out when he slid past the bag at first base.

Cruz crushed Brent Suter’s first pitch, a knee-high sinker down the middle, for a two-run home run and 7-4 lead in the seventh inning. His eighth homer had an exit velocity of 113.9 mph and was the hardest-hit ball of any kind by a Pirates player this season, surpassing his 113.8-mph single against Miami on July 6. It traveled 434 feet, the second-longest homer by a Pirate this season, trailing only Jack Suwinski’s 443-foot shot on June 25 at Tampa Bay.

“I went up there with just one thought: I’m going to make one swing,” Cruz said through translator Mike Gonzalez. “Whether it’s a hit or home run, I’m going to swing it hard.”

The Brewers staged a two-out rally against Yerry De Los Santos in the eighth, as Victor Caratini and Tyrone Taylor singled and Yelich drew a walk to load the bases. Adames hit a two-run single to cut it to 7-6, and Tellez tied it with a single to right that drove in Yelich to make it 7-7.

With David Bednar placed on the 15-day injured list with low back inflammation, Wil Crowe closed for the second straight game and recorded the final four outs against the Brewers.

Then Reynolds ended it with one swing.

“It just shows what we’re made of, getting the lead and then giving (the runs) back and not laying down, keep fighting,” Reynolds said. “That’s, ultimately, what we’re gonna have to do to win those close games.”

Kevin Gorman is a Tribune Review staff writer. You can contact Kevin by email at kgorman@triblive.com or via Twitter .

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