Eddie had two-strike problems. He fed Scooter Gennett an 0-2 curve, at the knees on the inside corner, the lefty sweet spot, and he golfed it down the line and into the seats. Khris Davis was plunked on a 1-2 change, and Lyle Oberbay bounced an 0-2 fastball up the middle; Davis went to third, looking like he lulled Cutch to sleep a bit, beating the throw and allowing Overbay to get to second. Volquez was equal to the task; he got a pop, K and soft roller to short to cap the damage.
Wily put the Bucs down in order in the third. This inning. Volquez's problems came not with two strikes, but with two outs. A-Ram drilled a single to left and Gennett followed with an end-of-the-bat flare into center. Davis drilled a splitter with no dive into left center for a double; Cutch cut it off to save one run, though Ramirez scored. A fly ended it with the score 2-0 Brew Crew.
The two-out demons bit Peralta in the fourth. After a couple of routine outs, The Kid walked and Russ hit a soft jam-shot double to left. Pedro got a two-seamer that ran across the middle of the plate and buried it high in the left field stands. Starling singled and stole second, so Jordy was worked around and walked to bring up Eddie, who K'ed.
Volquez had problems finding the plate. He went 3-0 on Elian Herrera before coming back to get him on a grounder and was ahead of Peralta 0-2, then missed with the next four. Gomez followed with a single on a 2-0 fastball. Lucroy hit a soft fly to right; Snider came in hard and looked like he had it measured, but pulled up a step short to let it drop and load the bases. No prob; Braun popped out behind the mound and A-Ram swung through a 95 MPH heater as Eddie pulled another Houdini.
The Bucs bombed Wily in the fifth, thanks to more shoddy infield play by the Brew Crew. with an out, Travis reached when his ball to second was thrown away. Cutch followed with a roller to third that went under A-Ram's glove that was ruled a single. The Kid blooped a ball just inside the left field line for a double and a run. Russ got ahead 2-0, sat dead red, got his heater and belted it into the bullpen.
Pedro matched him when he blasted his second long fly of the night the opposite way off a two-seamer. The Brew Crew got the call on a pair of bang-bangers at first, but not until the score was 8-2. With two outs, Overbay doubled on a grounder to left against the shift, but a Herrera liner to Cutch ended the frame.
Marco Estrada came on in the sixth. After Eddie's K, Josh doubled into the LF corner and Cutch walked an out later. The bloop parade continued when Walker dropped an RBI single just over Jean Segura's glove into left. Russ walked to juice the sacks, but Pedro was out of long balls, flying out to center. Gaby came in to replace him, which is a bit odd considering the score.
With an out, Gomez singled to left and Lucroy followed with another. Gomez forgot the score and tried to go to third, and Starling said no, gunning him for the second out. It helped; Eddie tried to get an 0-2 pitch in on Braun's hands, but he knocked it into right. Volquez was laboring and over 100 pitches; that single brought on a call for Jared Hughes. One pitch, one bouncer, one more inning ended.
Jeffrey Jeffress took the ball in the seventh. Starling beat out a bleeder for the only damage. Hughes stayed on; we thought Jeanmar Gomez would get a couple of innings work (and he would). Jared walked Overbay with two gone, and a grounder closed the door.
Zach Duke climbed the hill for the eighth and gave up a lead off single to Travis and a wild pitch moved him up a base. An out later, The Kid singled him in before a 6-4-3 by Russ stopped the music. Gomez did take over and Cutch got a blow, too, with Gregory Polanco coming on to reshuffle the outfield. Segura opened with an infield knock on a slow roller to third, but two pops and a fly sat the Brew Crew down.
Francisco Rodriguez took the bump for the ninth and worked a clean frame. Mark Reynolds walked to open the Brewer at-bat, but an out later was doubled off first on a liner to Gaby, and that was all she wrote.
A bunch of bloops and a couple three-run homers must have The Gunner smiling up in broadcaster heaven. It's hard to remember the game hung in the balance a couple of times, when Eddie, who seemed to pitch out of the stretch endlessly, had to work out of second and third with no outs, then later stare down Ryan Braun and Aramis Ramirez with the bases loaded, and did.
Like Locke's performance yesterday, it wasn't pretty but it worked as Milwaukee stranded 13 runners. And a struggling Pirate team now has its mojo back and a chance for a sweep at, of all places, Miller Park.
Vance Worley closes the series tomorrow afternoon against Mike Fiers.
- Pedro's homer was his first since July 11th. It was, though, his third two-homer game of the year. When he went back-to-back after Russ in the fifth, it marked the seventh time this year Pirates have homered consecutively.
- The starting 4-5-6 hitters (The Kid, Russ & Pedro) went 7-for-11 with two 2B, 3 HR, six runs scored, 10 RBI and three walks. They were sure a murderer's row tonight.
- This series, if you haven't noticed by the Root stand shots, is a father's trip for the Bucco players.