Brewers stop Pirates, 3-2, for 8th straight win
MILWAUKEE — The Pirates gambled and lost Saturday when they tried to steal a run on a foul popup.
The Milwaukee Brewers went on to score in a more conventional fashion, and it carried them to their eighth consecutive victory, a 3-2 win at Miller Park.
The Pirates missed a chance to score in the eighth inning, which ended on an unusual play.
With one out, Starling Marte was at third base and Travis Snider at second. Andrew McCutchen popped out to catcher Jonathan Lucroy in foul territory.
Snider broke for second base, and Lucroy threw to shortstop Jean Segura. Marte broke for home. Instead of being tricked into chasing Snider in a rundown, Segura fired the ball to reliever Jim Henderson, who had drifted toward home plate.
Henderson tagged Marte out, then spiked the ball as he went to the dugout.
Pirates manager Clint Hurdle went out to talk to home plate umpire Bill Miller, but the play was not reviewed.
“When the guy is clearly out, it doesn't make much sense to review it,” Hurdle said. “It seemed like a good opportunity for us to steal a run. They made a play, and we didn't.”
The Pirates used a similar play last season in a victory over the Houston Astros on a foul ball up the first-base line. On Saturday, Hurdle reminded his players to be alert for such an opportunity if there were runners on the corners and one out.
“They just executed,” Snider said. “Segura threw a perfect strike, and the pitcher was there. We took a shot, but it didn't come out our way.”
The double play energized the sellout crowd of 42,828 and also may have sparked the Brewers.
With one out, reliever Mark Melancon (0-1) yielded consecutive singles to Ryan Braun, Aramis Ramirez and Lucroy.
“The cutter was elevated a little bit,” Hurdle said. “Anytime you get three hits in a row late in the game, it's going to work to your favor. We weren't able to string three together; they were.”
Pirates starter Edinson Volquez didn't sizzle as much as he did six days earlier, when he retired 16 in a row against the St. Louis Cardinals. But the right-hander kept the Brewers in check for 61⁄3 innings, allowing two runs (one earned) and four hits. He received a no-decision.
Before the game, Brewers center fielder Carlos Gomez was presented with his 2013 Gold Glove. A few minutes later, he celebrated by crushing a fastball from Volquez over the center-field wall.
Gomez is not a prototypical leadoff hitter — he has twice as many extra-base hits (eight) as walks (four) — but he fits in with Milwaukee's bash-away offense.
With one out in the second, Khris Davis hit a bouncer to the left. Shortstop Jordy Mercer was gliding over, but third baseman Pedro Alvarez stepped in front and booted the ball. Scooter Gennett's single down the third-base line moved Davis to third.
Volquez got ahead of Yovani Gallardo 0-2 with a pair of curveballs. Volquez tried to snap off another, but it bounced off the edge of the plate and rolled toward the Pirates' dugout. Davis scored on the wild pitch to make it 2-0.
“Gotta block that one,” Martin said, shaking his head.
The Pirates got even in the third against Gallardo. Travis Ishikawa led off with a double that smacked off the wall in left. Mercer singled, and Ishikawa stopped at third instead of testing Gomez's arm.
Ishikawa scored on Marte's grounder. Snider's single drove in Mercer.
McCutchen followed with a single — ending his 0-for-12 slump — then stole second. That ought to dispel doubts about his cranky left ankle, which flared up Friday night.
The Brewers threatened in the seventh, set up when McCutchen dropped Davis' fly ball for an error. Mark Reynolds walked, and Gennett bunted both runners over.
Lefty Tony Watson relieved Volquez and took care of a pair of right-handed batters. Rickie Weeks flied out to shallow left, and Gomez grounded out.
Rob Biertempfel is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at email@example.com or via Twitter @BiertempfelTrib.
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