Bucs Come Unglued at End
MILWAUKEE- Khris Davis’ bat splintered after making solid contact with the pitch and he started running. He didn’t know where the ball landed, but suddenly his fellow Milwaukee Brewers were rushing him at first base.
He got doused with a celebratory cup of water and quickly figured out what happened.
Davis hit a game-ending, two run single to center with the bases loaded in the ninth off Pittsburgh Pirates closer Mark Melancon for a 4-3 win Thursday.
“I was just looking around and all of a sudden my teammates were running at me,” the second-year left fielder said about the postgame celebration and impromptu shower. “I just took it with a good smile, glad I could help win.”
A nine-game homestand ended on a high note for the surprising Brewers, who maintained their five-game lead over St. Louis in the NL Central and got their fourth win in five games.
It was a big confidence boost especially for Davis, a young slugger who struggled the last few weeks but has showed signs of breaking out of his slump.
His average had dipped to .212 before going 4 for 9 in three games against the Pirates.
Does this make him “Klutch” Davis?
“I’m not big on nicknames, but it sounds good,” Davis said with a laugh. “Why not?”
The comeback spoiled the return of Pirates starter Wandy Rodriguez from the disabled list with right knee inflammation. Rodriguez allowed solo homers to Rickie Weeks and Martin Maldonado but struck out four in his first start since April 19.
Gaby Sanchez’s solo homer off Yovani Gallardo in the sixth snapped a 2-2 tie to give the Pirates the lead until Melancon (1-2) broke down in the ninth. Subbing for injured closer Jason Grilli, Melancon had converted his four previous save opportunities.
Ryan Braun led off the ninth by singling. Melancon walked the next two hitters to load the bases with nobody out.
“He’s a human being and just didn’t have his best stuff today. The walks are uncharacteristic,” manager Clint Hurdle said. “He’s been here for a while, and that’s something we haven’t seen.”
Up came Davis, who smashed his broken-bat hit to drive in Braun and Jonathan Lucroy. Melancon had given up just one walk in 19 previous appearances this season before Thursday’s meltdown.
“I just put myself in a bad spot,” Melancon said.
The Pirates nearly came through with a win for Rodriguez, who fared much better Thursday than during two rehab starts in the minors. The veteran left-handed posted a 10.38 ERA with Double-A Altoona.
“I don’t pay attention to my speed. I pay more attention to how I located the ball,” Rodriguez said. “I only made two mistakes today.”
Weeks homered the other way into the right-field corner off a 2-1 slider in the third to extend the second baseman’s hitting streak to eight. He finished 3 for 4.
Rodriguez entered with a 7.65 ERA, while Melancon had a 1.42 ERA. In the end, the Brewers ended up having more success against the closer.
Reliever Rob Wooten (1-1) threw 1-1-3 scoreless innings. Gallardo allowed five hits, three runs and two walks, and struck out six in 6 1-3 innings.
Gallardo “did a nice job,” manager Ron Roenicke said. “He made one mistake on a high slider, but I thought he threw well. He kept us in there, and we scratched.”
The short-handed Brewers went a second day without star outfielder Carlos Gomez, who is nursing a sore back while serving a three-game suspension for his role in a benches-clearing brawl between the teams April 20 in Pittsburgh.
The Pirates’ Tony Sanchez had a two-run homer in the fifth, his first of the year.
CINCINNATI (AP) – Rene Rivera hit the first of San Diego’s three homers and Tyson Ross allowed three hits in seven innings Thursday night, leading the Padres to a victory and a split of their doubleheader with the Cincinnati Reds.
Johnny Cueto pitched a three-hitter for his second shutout in the opener of the day-night doubleheader.
YANKEES 1, METS 0
NEW YORK (AP) – Derek Jeter watched the last four outs of his final regular-season Subway Series game from the bench, pulled off the field during a double switch in the bottom of the eighth inning of Yankees’ victory.
Alfonso Soriano’s RBI double in the seventh broke up a scoreless duel at Citi Field between pitchers making their major league debuts. Rookie reliever Dellin Betances struck out six in a row as the Yankees earned a split of this year’s interleague series between crosstown rivals with their second straight shutout.
CARDINALS 5, CUBS 3
ST. LOUIS (AP) – Michael Wacha pitched seven innings and drove in two runs for St. Louis.
Wacha (3-3) had lost his last three decisions since an April 13 win over the Cubs. The 22-year-old right-hander allowed seven hits, including a homer, but did not walk a batter. He struck out five.
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) – Aaron Hicks delivered the game-winning single in the bottom of the 10th and Phil Hughes struck out eight in six innings to help the Minnesota Twins beat the Boston Red Sox 4-3 in the series finale Thursday.
BLUE JAYS 4
TORONTO (AP) – Edwin Encarnacion hit two home runs, Juan Francisco also connected and Toronto gave manager John Gibbons his 400th career win.
Encarnacion hit a solo homer in the second off Danny Salazar and added a two-run blast in the fifth off C.C. Lee. It was his second multihomer game of the season and the 13th of his career.
ORIOLES 2, ROYALS 1
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) – Nelson Cruz homered and Baltimore snapped a four-game losing streak to remain first in the AL East.
Cruz homered in the fourth after Chris Davis drew a walk to lead off the inning. It was Cruz’s 12th home run, which is second in the American League to the 15 of Chicago White Sox rookie Jose Abreu.