Then AJ reared back and K'ed Aramis Ramirez and Yuniesky Betancourt, followed by a fly out to Jonathan Lucroy, and the Bucs escaped with just a run surrendered. Pittsburgh went down in order to Marcos Estrada. Both sides went down cleanly in the second. In the third, the teams traded singles, with Cutch making a leaping grab in center with two outs in the Milwaukee half to save a run. In the fourth, a walk to Gaby Sanchez was all the action.
In the fifth, the Brew Crew added on to the lead. Logan Schafer opened with a two bagger to right off another changeup, was bunted to third and came in on Aoki's second double when he yanked a slurve to right. The ball was barely fair - or maybe not, Hurdle came out to protest, and it was close. Aoki stole third - how long until Tony Sanchez gets a call, we wonder - and scored when Segura collected his second infield knock. He, of course, stole second - on a pitchout. A couple of grounders ended the frame, but it was 3-0 Brewers. The Pirates went down 1-2-3.
Burnett got three groundouts in the sixth. Clint Hurdle allowed AJ to lead off; he bounced out to second. Starling Marte flew out before Travis Snider went the other way for a two-out knock. Cutch gave a first pitch hook a ride, but it was hauled in at the left field fence for another Bucco goose egg.
Schafer reached on a bad throw to AJ by Gaby to open the seventh; he went to second on a stray pickoff effort by Burnett and to third on a bunt. The bunt, with two strikes, looked like it was going foul, but McKenry opted make the play. He touched home when AJ fumbled Aoki's dribbler for an error, followed by another stolen base. Segura took Cutch to the track in center to snag his drive and Cargo went down looking to leave the Brewers a 4-0 edge. Gaby opened the Buc half with a double; he came in a couple of outs later to make it 4-1.
That was it for Burnett, who went seven innings, giving up seven hits, four runs (three earned) on seven hits with six strikeouts while tossing 104 pitches. Jose Contreras came on and got three balls hit in the dirt to retire Milwaukee. Brandon Kintzler replaced Estrada. Barmes greeted him with a single, and JT moved him to second on a soft tapper to the mound. Barmes made it to third on Marte's grounder, and he died there.
Tony Watson came on and gave up a leadoff single through the left side to Alex Gonzalez, who was bunted to second. He struck out Ricky Weeks, but a wild pitch moved the runner to third with Aoki at the dish. He rolled a 2-2 slider to third and beat out a one bounce toss by Pedro (it was ruled a single - Aoki may have beaten it cleanly - but the throw was a short hop, and one that Gaby usually picks) to bring in another Brewer run. Jim Henderson climbed the hill to work a clean ninth.
Infield hits, stolen bases, errors, even with Ryan Braun (a rest day) and Ricky Weeks on the bench plus the inability to even threaten a pitcher who entered the game with a six plus ERA added up to a 5-1 loss tonight. The Bucs have to shake the Brewer hex, or they'll remain no more than NL Central pretenders. Tomorrow would be a good time to start.
Jeff Locke will face Kyle Lohse tomorrow night.
- Milwaukee had nine hits; Aoki and Segura, the 1-2 hitters, had six of them.
- Tony Watson has given up runs in six straight appearances and 7-of-8 outings. He had only been scored on twice in his first ten games.
- First Jason Grilli, now third base coach Nick Leyva are out for "personal reasons." Leyva is expected to miss a few days. While he's gone, first base coach coach Rick Sofield will move to the hot corner and bench coach Dave Jauss will cover first. Hopefully, both guys' families are OK and they'll be back soon. Grilli returned to the park during the game, so he seems to have his situation under control.
- This isn't the first time the Brew Crew (6-for-6) has run all over the Buccos. The Brewers were 6-for-6 in stolen sacks against the Pirates on September 18th last year, taking five against Rod Barajas and one against The Fort; AJ was on the hill for three of the swipes. And they were 4-of-4 on May 1st against McKenry on May 1st after going 2-of-4 in the opening pair of games against Russell Martin (of course, they hit eight homers, too, which slows down the running game to a trot)
- Something had to give: the Brewers had won their last four games at PNC Park while Pittsburgh won its last three games. Milwaukee not only continued their dominance, but the Bucs again had a winning streak snapped at three; they haven't managed to put together four straight wins yet this year. The good news is that Pittsburgh has lost the first game in its other three four-game series against Atlanta, Philly and New York and came back to win all three sets.