The Pirates and Brewes engaged in an offensive battle. The pitching was porous and sloppy. Only one of the 17 runs that was scored came on a dinger. The Pirates outlasted the Beer Men in the end as the home team left 13 men on base.
The see-saw battle began early on. Alex Presley led off the top of the first with a homer. Morton got into a bunch of trouble in the bottom of the first. He allowed singles to Corey Hart and Nyjer Morgan to open the game. Mark Kotsay doubled in Hart. Prince Fielder walked to load the bases. But Morton whiffed Rickie Weeks and got a double play grounder from Jerry Hairston Jr.
Pittsburgh kept up the heat on Marcum. In the second, Garrett Jones walked. Jason Jaramillo singled. Pedro Alvarez also singled and put the Pirates up 2-1. Chase d’Arnaud’s fielder’s choice plated Jaramillo with Alvarez being retired at second. Morton succesfully bunted d’Arnaud to second and Presley singled him home to make it 4-1 Pittsburgh.
Pittsburgh wasted a chance to take on some more in the third. Derrek Lee and Jones both reached base but neither man scored.
Hairston and Yuniesky Betancourt hit consecutive doubles to start the bottom of the fourth. That scored one run. Hart’s two out double scored Betancourt and made it 4-3.
There was more scoring in the fifth. Xavier Paul tripled to start the frame. With one out, Lee walked. Jones also walked and the bases were juiced. Jaramillo popped out. But Alvarez doubled to score two runs. That was all for Marcum. Frankie De La Cruz relieved him. He uncorked a wild pitch that allowed Jones to score.
Morton allowed Milwaukee to stay in it. In the bottom of the fifth, Fielder was HBP and erased on a fielder’s choice from Weeks. Hairston walked and Betancourt’s double scored two runs, making it 7-5.
Pedro Ciriaco pinch hit for Morton leading off the sixth. He walked and stole second and scored on a two out single by Neil Walker, pushing the lead back to three runs.
The bullpen would falter badly in the sixth, blowing an opportunity for Morton to pick up his eleventh win. Jared Hughes got two quick outs before allowing a single to Morgan and a walk to Kotsay. Tony Watson was called upon. Fielder singled in a run and Chris Leroux was summoned. Ryan Braun drove in a run with a double. Hairston and Betancourt walked back-to-back to force in the tying run. That was it for Leroux. Daniel McCutchen got the final out of the inning.
Presley was at it again. With Takashi Saito pitching in the seventh, he doubled with two outs to score Michael McKenry.
After a scoreless bottom of the seventh courtesy of McCutchen, Jason Grilli loaded the bases in the bottom of the eighth without allowing a hit. He walked Logan Schafer and plunked Braun and Hairston. But he got out of it without allowing the tying run.
Joel Hanrahan made it an interesting ninth. Craig Counsell singled leading off. He was pulled for a pinch runner in the person of Carlos Gomez. Hanrahan chucked two wild pitches that put Gomez on third with no one out. Hart whiffed. Casey McGehee’s grounder turned into a fielder’s choice with Gomez out at the plate. George Kottaras grounded out to end it.
Marcum lasted just 4-2/3 innings. He was charged with seven runs on ten hits and three walks. He whiffed two. Morton lasted a full five innings. He allowed five runs. He gave up eight hits and three walks. He struck out three. McCutchen was the winner. Saito took the loss. The save was Hanrahan’s 40th on the year.
Bucs broke a twelve game losing streak in Milwaukee.
Presley had three hits and knocked in three.
Paul, Alvarez and d’Arnaud each had two hits. Alvarez knocked in three.
The bullpen allowed three runs, walked four, hit two and chucked two wilde pitches in four innings.
Buc hitters whiffed ten tims.
Morton is winless against four losses in six career starts against Milwaukee. Marcum remains 1-1 against Pittsburgh.
This was the third time in 2011 that Alvarez drove in three and first time since May 18th. Presley also has three games with three RBI in 2011.
Grilli hadn’t hit two hitters in the same game since May 11, 2000 when he started for the Marlins and plunked Andruw Jones and Fernando Lunar of the Braves.
Betancourt’s four RBI night was his second in 2011.
Milwaukee had hit ten dingers against the Pirates in Miller Park in the first six games of the season series. They had none tonight. I predict four tomorrow.