Milwaukee Brewers NL Central Magic Number After Beating Pirates on Tuesday

After dropping the series opener on Labor Day, the Brewers took care of business with a 7-3 win on Tuesday.
Andruw Monasterio, Milwaukee Brewers
Andruw Monasterio, Milwaukee Brewers / Justin K. Aller/GettyImages

With a division race this close, every win counts, especially in the month of September, and the Milwaukee Brewers got a big win on Tuesday night.

After coming out flat in the Labor Day series opener on the road against the Pittsburgh Pirates in a game in which the Brewers scored just two runs, the Crew got back on track in game two of the series, putting themselves back in the win column with a 7-3 win.

All it took was one crooked inning in the fifth to get the job done. After leading 1-0 coming into the inning, all nine Milwaukee hitters came to the plate in a six-run inning that featured two walks, three singles, a double, a triple, and a sacrifice fly.

The scoring started quickly courtesy of three Brewers rookies. Sal Frelick kicked off the fifth with a walk, Andruw Monasterio brought him home immediately after with an RBI triple, and then Brice Turang plated another when he beat out a "swinging bunt" to the third base side.

A Christian Yelich sac fly, Carlos Santana RBI double, and Mark Canha RBI single that featured a fielding error which allowed another run to score on the play rounded out the scoring in the inning and gave Milwaukee a 7-0 lead.

That's all starter Brandon Woodruff would need as he turned in a masterful performance, allowing just two hits and two walks while striking out six in seven scoreless innings. Rookie Clayton Andrews would make things a little interesting late as he gave up a three-run homer to the Pirates in the ninth, but Elvis Peguero would replace him and record the final three outs to secure the 7-3 win.

What is the Milwaukee Brewers magic number?

First, a definition. For those unfamiliar, per the MLB website, "A team's magic number represents the combination of wins needed by that team and losses by its closest competitor to clinch a given goal. Every time a team wins, its magic number decreases by one. Similarly, every time that team's closest competitor for the division (or Wild Card) loses, the magic number also decreases by one."

After their win on Tuesday night, the Brewers' magic number to win the NL Central division is down to 22. It could've come down one more last night, but the Chicago Cubs were unfortunately able to keep pace after a win at home against the San Francisco Giants.

It seemed like the Giants might be able to help the Brewers out at one point when they took the lead in the sixth, turning a 4-3 deficit into a 6-4 advantage.

But like the Brewers, the Cubs put up their own six-run inning in the seventh in an inning that featured homers by Seiya Suzuki and Christopher Morel. The Giants would add a couple more late, but it wasn't enough as Chicago escaped with a 11-8 victory.

Milwaukee has a great chance to reduce their magic number even more on Wednesday as a flaming hot Freddy Peralta starts against a Pirates pitcher who is yet to be named. It's the next fight in an NL Central battle that's far from over.