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Pirates pitcher Cole's strong outing wasted in 14-inning loss at home

| Sunday, April 20, 2014, 6:12 p.m.
Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review
Pirates outfielder Travis Snider flips the Brewers' Carlos Gomez during a bench-clearing scuffle in the third inning Sunday, April 20, 2014, at PNC Park.

The Pirates left their 3-2, extra-innings loss to the Brewers on Sunday literally bloodied.

A third-inning Easter brawl left Travis Snider with a cut below his eye after being punched in the face by Brewers catcher Martin Maldonado, and with the loss the Pirates fell to three games below .500, losers six of seven games to the Brewers this season.

It was an ugly afternoon for the Pirates, which included Jason Grilli's second blown save in as many days, allowing another ninth-inning homer to Ryan Braun. The once unassailable Pirate bullpen faltered again in the 14th inning when Jeanmar Gomez allowed the game-winning homer to Khris Davis.

If the rivalry had waned, it was reignited Sunday.

The brawl began when Carlos Gomez smashed a Gerrit Cole offering deep to center field in the third inning. It appeared Gomez thought he had homered. He admired the shot for a moment and flipped his bat. The ball hit high off the center-field wall, and Gomez eventually slid into third with a triple.

After Gomez reached third, Cole walked near the base and barked at Gomez, prompting outrage from the Brewers' center fielder, who moved toward Cole. The bullpens and benches cleared.

Gomez was restrained from chasing after Cole, who walked back toward the mound after offering Gomez his opinion of on-field decorum. Snider, who was not in the starting lineup, walked toward Gomez, who swung a fist at Snider. Snider eventually flipped Gomez, causing Gomez to awkwardly land on his neck on the infield dirt. Snider was then grabbed by Brewers second baseman Rickie Weeks and was punched in the face by Maldonado.

Pirates catcher Russell Martin was not in the stating lineup, as Chris Stewart started for the first time as a Pirate, but Martin had to be restrained during the brawl.

“The fair thing would be for our team to hold down Maldonado so Travis (Snider) can go back and sucker punch him right in the face,” Martin said. “That would be the fair thing to do.

“It's like a band of brothers out there, you are going to protect your own guy. But there are certain rules of combat that apply.”

Three were ejected — Snider, Brewers coach Jerry Narron, and Gomez. Brewers manager Ron Roenicke wanted Cole to be ejected, too.

“I'm not flipping my bat because I thought it was a home run. I thought it was a fly ball out,” Gomez said. “(Cole) tell me something … he walk to mound, everything is fine. ... But some guy (Snider), idiot, come out and do stupid stuff.

“Snider come out like a superhero trying to throw punches.”

Cole was remorseful afterward.

He felt his career-high eight innings had been tarnished.

“I said (to Gomez) ‘If you are going to hit a home run, you can watch it. If you are going to hit a fly ball to center field, don't watch it,'” Cole said. “I let my emotions get the better of me. I ended up getting one of my teammates (Snider) hurt. Not too thrilled about it.”

Aside from the third inning, Cole was calm and in control.

Cole threw just 91 pitches, but manager Clint Hurdle elected to bring in Grilli for the ninth after a Jose Tabata RBI single gave the Pirates a 2-1 lead.

“I felt that was enough for (Cole) today,” Hurdle said. “There was chance to get on the other side of 100 (pitches), which doesn't bother me. He'd be pitching in the ninth inning to win the game or lose the game. I didn't want to see a bad mark.”

The teams meet again in Milwaukee in May. To be continued.

Travis Sawchik is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at tsawchik@tribweb.com or via Twitter @Sawchik_Trib.

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