A-Ram doubled, and that was followed by walks to Ricky Weeks and Cody Ransom. Fortunately, the bottom of the Brew Crew attack was up, and all they could muster from their golden opportunity was a Brooks Conrad sac fly to make 1-0 after two.
The Pirates again went down three in a row in the third, as did the Brewers. The Bucs opened the scoring when Garrett Jones led off the fourth with his sixth longball of the year, sending a heater over the right field fence to tie the game. But Milwaukee would have an answer and then some.
A-Ram led off with a single - dang those old Bucs! - and Weeks doubled him to third. A Ransom single chased them both home. Conrad followed that with his first MLB hit (he had been 0-for-27), an opposite field homer that barely cleared the 375' mark, and it was 5-1. After an out, Bedard walked Marcum and then got a force out. But when Pedro threw away a grounder to put runners on the corners, Clint Hurdle called on Chris Resop to get the third out. Bedard went 3-2/3 frames, giving up five runs on five hits and three walks with five K after 86 pitches, his roughest outing of the season. He couldn't get the ball down tonight and paid the price.
The fifth was scoreless, with Matt Hague exchanging singles with Ricky Weeks.
In the sixth, JT and Jones led off with singles. Marcum caught a break when Cutch crushed a 3-2 liner, but a lunging Ramirez at third snagged the bullet. Pedro hit a short fly to left and Walker was foiled by a nice diving grab by SS Ransom on a ball headed up the middle, and the Pirates failed to cash in as Brewer leather saved the bacon. Resop stayed strong, putting the Brew Crew away on seven pitches.
The Bucs made Marcum throw a lot of pitches in the seventh, but to the same tune - they went down 1-2-3 and two batters fanned. Jared Hughes took the bump for Pittsburgh. Norachika Aoki led off with a single, but Corey Hart quickly erased him on the front end of a 6-4-3 DP. Edwin Maysonet popped out, and it was on to the eighth. Kameron Loe climbed the hill for Milwaukee, and 1-2-3'ed the Bucs.
Doug Slaten was on the mound for the bottom half. He lost Weeks on five pitches; he's 2-for-2 with a pair of walks tonight, and still hitting just .168. To add insult to injury, he stole second, his second swipe of the contest. After a K, he put Brooks Conrad on, losing him on a 3-2 count.
With two outs, a wild pitch moved them up 90'. Taylor Green walked on five pitches to juice the sacks. Carlos Gomez ended the frame without any more runs added to the board by bouncing out to short. Still, Slaten had pretty big command issues that inning, throwing 16 balls out of 26 pitches to walk the bases loaded and only once was he ahead of a batter.
Last year's Bucco set-up man Jose Veras took the ball for the Brewers and walked Cutch on four pitches. He struck out Pedro on a hook. Walker caught a hanging curve and sent it deep to left, where it became a loud second out. Hague rolled out to second, and that ended the game, a 5-1 Brewer win.
The Pirates are nowhere near out of the woods yet hitting; they only had three at-bats the entire night with a runner in scoring position. And when you let Cody Ransom and Brooks Conrad team up for 5 RBI and 2 runs (they had 3/3 together all season before tonight), it's gonna be a long day at the shop. The top three of the Bucco order had four of the five hits; the bottom six batters reached base once. At least the bullpen held the fort - again.
James McDonald takes on Michael Fiers tomorrow afternoon.
- Matt Hague extended his hitting streak to eight games.
- Joined at the hip? Since being drafted by the Pirates in 2008, Oklahoma State teammates Matt Hague and Jordy Mercer have played together at every stop along the way during their pro career: at State College and Hickory in 2008, Lynchburg in 2009, Altoona in 2010, Indianapolis in 2011, and finally in Pittsburgh this year.
- Clint Hurdle told the media today that JT hasn't been loafing, but as most suspected, has been playing through a tight hammy that sometimes cramps up when he tries to run. With Josh Harrison and Gorkys Hernandez available, it might be wiser in the long term to give Tabata a couple of days off. It seems to us that quite a few Buccos playing through injuries end up on the DL. Tomorrow would be a good choice, with Monday scheduled off.
- Jeff Clement hit for the cycle at Indy tonight.
- This day in history: In 1903, the Pirates tossed their first of a MLB record six consecutive shutouts as Deacon Phillippe blanked the New York Giants, 7-0. The NL champs threw 51 straight scoreless innings during the six-game streak; a record that still stands today.
- Ross Ohlendorf has opted out of his minor league deal with the Red Sox and elected free agency, according to Ben Nicholson-Smith of Major League Trade Rumors. Ohlie was 4-3/4.61 as a starter with AAA Pawtucket.