Marte Homers, Pirates Beat Brewers
MILWAUKEE – Clint Hurdle insisted the Pittsburgh Pirates weren’t thinking about their long losing streak against the Milwaukee Brewers.
Starling Marte hit a tying two-run homer in the eighth inning and Brandon Inge had a go-ahead RBI single to rally Pittsburgh to a 6-4 victory against Milwaukee on Wednesday, snapping the Pirates’ nine-game skid to the Brewers.
“We don’t make (the losing streak) as big as everybody else does because a lot of these guys weren’t here,” Pittsburgh manager Hurdle said. “They don’t feel the baggage. They hear the noise but after a while, you don’t need to hear the noise because you know what you need to do. You need to play better and win games. That’s how you stop the noise.”
Pedro Alvarez, who homered earlier in the game, added a run-scoring single to cap a four-run eighth as Pittsburgh won for the 10th time in its last 15 games and ended Milwaukee’s eight-game home winning streak.
“Today was a perfect day that people thought we just weren’t in a good place,” Hurdle said. “We were just behind. We put up a big inning late, we were able to close it out and you can’t ask for much more than that.”
Bryan Morris (1-1) got the last two outs of the seventh when Ryan Braun hit into a double play for his first career victory. Mark Melancon pitched the eighth and Jason Grilli the ninth for his 11th save in 11 opportunities.
“Last night I walked away from the game with my first major league loss,” Morris said. “And today I throw two pitches and get the win. It is a good feeling. Hopefully there is more to come.”
John Axford (0-3) gave up all four runs while getting just two outs in the eighth for the Brewers, who were 11-0 when leading after seven innings.
“He’s been pitching well,” Milwaukee manager Ron Roenicke said. “It was one of those games.”
Axford, removed as the Brewers’ closer earlier this season, replaced starter Hiram Burgos to start the eighth leading 4-2, and gave up a broken-bat, infield single to pinch-hitter Travis Snider.
Marte followed with his two-run homer to left-center on a low fastball, his third of the season and second in two days, to tie the score.
Jose Tabata singled and stole second two outs later. He injured his left leg on the slide and was replaced by James McDonald.
McDonald scored the tiebreaking run when Inge blooped a single over the head of second baseman Rickie Weeks, who inadvertently kicked the ball toward the outfield for a two-base error that allowed Inge to advance to third.
“I’ll take ’em any way I can get them,” Inge said. “I love being up in key spots. I’ve played long enough and have enough time that those situations are the ones you live for. The ones you dream when you are a little kid.”
Axford was booed off the field when he was replaced by Michael Gonzalez, who quickly allowed a single to Alvarez to put the Pirates up 6-4.