Sizzling Pirates Win 8th Straight
PITTSBURGH (AP) – Pedro Alvarez and Garrett Jones each homered and Francisco Liriano pitched six strong innings as the surging Pittsburgh Pirates won their eighth straight game, 2-1 against the Milwaukee Brewers on Saturday night.
Alvarez hit his 20th home run – a towering drove over the right-field bleachers and eventually into the river – with one out in the second inning to extend his hitting streak to 12 games and help the Pirates to their longest winning streak since 2004. Pittsburgh, which has endured 20 consecutive losing seasons, has the best record in the major leagues at 50-30.
Jones hit a drive to the shrubbery in straightaway center field, his seventh, to lead off the fourth inning and increase the Pirates’ lead to 2-0.
That was enough for Liriano (7-3), who improved to 4-1 in five home starts this season.
Liriano gave up one run and seven hits in six innings with one walk and six strikeouts. Tony Watson, Mark Melancon and Jason Grilli each pitched one scoreless inning of relief. Grilli recorded his 27th save in 28 opportunities.
Donovan Hand (0-1) allowed both home runs but turned in a solid five-inning performance in his second major league start.
Carlos Gomez had two hits for the Brewers, who lost their fifth straight game. He singled with one out in the sixth inning and scored Milwaukee’s run on Yuniesky Betancourt’s single with two outs.
Brewers shortstop Jean Segura extended his hitting streak to 11 games but second baseman Rickie Weeks’ streak ended at a career-best 13.
Pittsburgh has won four straight games against Milwaukee and eight of 10 after losing nine in a row.
Milwaukee LF Ryan Braun (bruised left thumb) is scheduled to a swing a bat Tuesday for the first time since going on the disabled list retroactive to June 10. . Pittsburgh LHP Wandy Rodriguez (strained left forearm) will not make a scheduled rehab start Monday for Triple-A Indianapolis after experiencing discomfort in his forearm Friday during a bullpen session. . Pirates RHP A.J. Burnett (strained right calf) is scheduled to pitch a simulated game Tuesday and that could be the last step before he is activated from the disabled list. . Brewers RF Norichika Aoki did not start for the first time since May 30 as manager Ron Roenicke decided to rest him. . The three-game series concludes today with Milwaukee RHP Kyle Lohse (3-6, 3.69) facing Pittsburgh RHP Charlie Morton (1-1, 2.81).