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MILWAUKEE — Eric Thames and Orlando Arcia had been hushed at the plate during the Milwaukee Brewers’ crucial homestand. They made some noise Sunday.

Thames hit two home runs, Arcia also connected and the Brewers took a combined perfect game into the seventh inning while beating the Pittsburgh Pirates 4-3 to match Washington atop the NL wild-card standings.

“That kind of defines this stretch for us,” Milwaukee manager Craig Counsell said. “It has been different guys offensively. Today, it was two guys who had been a little quiet and that’s how it works.”

The Nationals lost 5-3 to Miami earlier Sunday, locking them into a tie with the Brewers for the top wild card. Milwaukee owns the tiebreaker over Washington after winning their season series and would host the wild-card game if they finish the season with the same record. Washington has played two fewer games and technically leads Milwaukee by percentage points.

“We’re all feeling it. All of us aren’t planning on going home anytime soon,” Thames said.

Arcia connected in the second, but the shortstop also let a line drive tip off his glove with one out in the seventh for a hit that ended a combined perfect game bid in Milwaukee’s regular season home finale.

Milwaukee has won eight of nine and extended its September record to a major-league best 17-4. The Brewers are 10-2 since losing NL MVP Christian Yelich to a fractured kneecap.

“It’s hard when you’re grinding through September when your body is tired,” Thames said. “But the energy from the crowd and the team, we definitely pick each other up.”

Brewers pitchers held the Pirates, who lost their ninth straight, without a baserunner until Bryan Reynolds’ single against Gio Gonzalez with one out in the seventh. Reynold’s liner went off the heel of Arcia’s glove as he lunged for the ball.

All-Star Brandon Woodruff made his second start since missing two months with a left oblique strain. He pitched two innings but departed for a pinch-hitter in the second after throwing 38 pitches.

“It’s super fun just getting out there and being able to contribute in some way,” Woodruff said.

Jay Jackson struck out the side in the third and Gonzalez (3-2) and Drew Pomeranz combined for four scoreless innings.

Josh Hader got four outs for his 35th save in 41 tries.

Milwaukee’s pitchers made it challenging for Pittsburgh’s struggling offense.

“We haven’t been scoring many runs and you keep getting different looks from guys with good stuff,” Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. “All those arms were fresh and they’re real and there’s spin and velocity. We’re not hitting mistakes, and they aren’t making a lot of them.”

Arcia gave the Brewers an early lead with a solo home run off Trevor Williams (7-8). The lead grew to 2-0 when Thames led off the fourth with a home run on the first pitch from Williams.

Thames belted a two-run homer off Michael Feliz in the sixth to extend the lead to 4-0.

The Pirates scored three times in the seventh, the first when Arcia failed to field a slow roller off the bat of pinch-hitter Melky Cabrera. Cole Tucker’s two-run single off Hader cut the lead to 4-3.

MILWAUKEE — Brent Suter has turned out to be the wild card in the wild card chase for the Milwaukee Brewers.

Rookies Keston Hiura and Trent Grisham each hit two-run homers and Suter was superb again in middle relief as the Brewers increased their edge for the second NL wild-card spot, beating the Pittsburgh Pirates 10-1 Saturday night.

Suter (3-0) relieved to start the fifth and pitched two scoreless innings. The left-hander, who missed last season’s playoff run after Tommy John surgery, has allowed one earned run in 14 1/3 innings in seven appearances since being activated Sept. 1.

“He’s been incredible,” Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. “The amount of pitches that it’s taking him to get through innings is shocking, really. You just don’t see it. He obviously works fast, he’s in the zone, the hitters are not comfortable. But he has essentially controlled middle of games for us.”

The Brewers lead Chicago by three games in the wild-card race after the Cubs lost to St. Louis. Milwaukee remained one game behind Washington for the top wild-card slot.

Suter gave up a home run in his first game back, a 4-3 loss to Houston, but he has not allowed a run since.

“Personally, it’s very fulfilling, I’ll be very honest,” said Suter, drafted in the 31st round out of Harvard in 2012. “Because, last year kind of missing out on it, just being on the bench the whole time, it was cool, but it wasn’t the same as being out there and contributing.”

Milwaukee has won seven of eight and extended its September record to 16-4, tops in the major leagues. The Brewers are 9-2 since losing reigning MVP Christian Yelich to a fractured kneecap.

Hiura put staked the Brewers to a 2-1 lead in the first with his 18th home run, atoning for his error at second base in the top half that handed the Pirates a run.

Grisham, who drew a bases-loaded walk in the fourth, put the Brewers up 10-1 in the seventh with his sixth homer.

Brewers starter Zach Davies gave up an unearned run on three hits in four innings before being lifted for a pinch-hitter.

“I thought we had a chance to break the game open,” Counsell said. “We ended up getting four at-bats with the bases loaded that inning. We scored a couple, and gave us some space, which I thought was important. Zach was throwing the very well.”

The Brewers pushed the lead to 5-1 with three runs in the fourth, aided by a pair of bases-loaded walks. Ryan Braun singled to open, Eric Thames was hit by a pitch and Lorenzo Cain followed with an RBI single.

Pirates starter James Marvel (0-3) walked two straight to load the bases and then force in a run. Parker Markel relieved and struck out Yasmani Grandal, but then walked in another run.

“He navigated the second and third OK, left some men out there but put up zeroes and it seemed like he poured out everything he had in the fourth inning and he just ran out of gas,” Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said of Marvel.

Cain added an RBI singled in the fifth and Braun doubled in two more in the sixth.

“We didn’t play as well throughout the season, as well as we would have liked, but we’ve turning it on the last two weeks and having another great September,” Cain said. “Hopefully we can continue to play well and finish this thing out.”


Pirates: C Elias Diaz left in the fourth inning with a right knee injury, sustained while stopping a pitch in the dirt. “He got looked at by our doctor, he’s being treated and we’ll know more tomorrow morning,” Hurdle said.

Brewers: Hiura was lifted for a pinch-runner after being hit by a pitch in the eighth inning.


Pirates: RHP Trevor Williams (7-7, 5.59 ERA) is 3-2 with a 7.15 ERA in his last seven starts. He was tagged for seven runs in 2 1/3 innings with two homers and three walks in his last outing.

Brewers: All-Star RHP Brandon Woodruff (11-3, 3.69 ERA) makes his second start since missing two months with a left oblique strain. Woodruff allowed one walk in two hitless innings in his first start back, with four strikeouts.

Williams, who was tagged for seven runs in 2 1/3 innings with two homers and three walks in his last outing, gave up three hits and two runs in five innings. He walked two and struck out six.


Pirates: C Elias Diaz was out of the lineup. Diaz left in the fourth inning of Saturday night’s game with a right knee injury, sustained while stopping a pitch in the dirt.


With 43,321 attending Sunday’s game, marking Milwaukee’s 20th sellout, the Brewers finished the season with 2,923,333 fans at Miller Park. That ranks fifth in the majors. Milwaukee drew 2,850,875 fans last season.

“When I bought the team 15 years ago, I preached not thinking small here,” Brewers owner Mark Attanasio said. “But we are the smallest market in Major League Baseball, so this is a testament to our fans’ support.”


Pirates: Pittsburgh opens a three-game series at home against the Chicago Cubs on Tuesday with Mitch Keller (1-5, 7.74 ERA) getting the start.

Brewers: After a day off on Monday, Adrian Houser (6-7, 3.83) will take the mound vs. Sonny Gray (11-7, 2.80) as Milwaukee opens a three-game series at Cincinnati.

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