The Pirates’ bullpen faltered in the late innings, and they dropped their fourth straight game, losing to the Milwaukee Brewers 6-5 on Friday night. The Pirates never had a lead in the game but made it close in the bottom of the ninth inning.
“We pushed it probably as hard as we could,” said manager Clint Hurdle. “That’s a tough way to go down. We battle all night long, and we come up short.”
One of the pitching bright spot on the evening for the Pirates was Wandy Rodriguez. Rodriguez threw six plus innings and only allowed three runs, giving the Pirates an opportunity to keep themselves in the game.
“He gave us a chance to win the game and hopefully that’s something he can build upon,” said Hurdle of his starter.
Despite the decent outing, Rodriguez got off to a rocky start.
The Brewers opened up the scoring in the top of the second when Corey Hart drove a double off Rodriguez to bring in Aramis Ramirez. Jonathan Lucroy drove in Hart on the next play with a single to put the Brewers up 2-0.
The Pirates tied the game up in the bottom of the fourth. After a single by Jose Tabata and a double by Travis Snider, Andrew McCutchen singled to left to bring in both and evening the score at 2-2.
The game remained tied until the top of the seventh inning. Norichika Aoki, Rickie Weeks and Ryan Braun all scored off of a double to deep right field by Aramis Ramirez. Pirates’ reliever Jared Hughes hit Weeks with a pitch and walked Braun to load the bases for Ramirez, and the Brewers capitalized on the opportunity.
Corey Hart singled to right in the next at bat, bringing in Ramirez and putting the Brewers up 6-2.
Rod Barajas belted his ninth homer on the year to left field in the bottom half of the frame to cut the lead in half, 6-3.
The Pirates gave the Brewers a scare in the bottom of the ninth to close out the game. After a walk to McCutchen and Garrett Jones, Neil Walker singled to left to bring in Cutch, cutting the score to 6-4. Mike McKenry hit a pinch hit singled to center field to bring in Garrett Jones and bring the Pirates within one, but they couldn’t tie the game.
Gaby Sanchez, pinch hitting for reliever Joel Hanrahan,struck out to end it. He is now 0-13 with runners in scoring position as a Pirate.
The Pirates look to get back on track Saturday night with the second of three games against the Brewers. Jeff Karstens (4-3, 3.79 ERA) gets the ball for the Pirates, facing off against Shaun Marcum (5-3, 3.39 ERA) of the Brewers with the first pitch scheduled for 7:05 p.m.