Miller Park has been a house of horror’s for the Pittsburgh Pirates over the years. Entering game action the Bucs were just 4-38 in Milwaukee since 2007. To be fair, none of the current Bucs were with the club when that stretch began in ’07. The only player part of that team is on the other side of the dugout: outfielder Nyjer Morgan. But there was a struggle even last season in Milwaukee.
The Pirates won just one game at Miller Park during the 2011 season out of nine games over three series. The lone win came on September 26 when they beat out the Brew Crew, 9-8. This years Brewers isn’t like the team last year that won the National League Division. Gone is slugging first baseman Prince Fielder and the club sat 5.5 games out of first place prior to the game.
Pirates Manager Clint Hurdle is aware of the struggles for the club since becoming Manager two seasons ago, but said they can’t back down.
“It’s time we did well,” Hurdle said. “You need to be persistent when you’re trying to push through something that’s as big as we’re trying to push through here historically. You’ve got to be persistent. You can’t back down and you can’t back away. You can’t look sideways. You look it right in the face and get after it. You go with what you’ve got. You do the best you can with what you’ve got with where you are.”
And that’s exactly what the Pirates did. After trailing Milwaukee by a run, the bats broke out for six runs in the third inning in which 10 men came to the plate.
The rally started by Josh Harrison and Andrew McCutchen, who showed off their wheels by ripping back-to-back triples. The Pirates have now hit at least one triple in three straight and four of their last five games. Three straight singles from Neil Walker, Matt Hague and Rod Barajas followed with one out to drive in two more runs. The Pirates were able to come through with two-outs as Jose Tabata drove a bases clearing double over the head of Morgan in center field.
The Pirates continued their tear on the Brewers as they tacked on two more runs in the 8th to bring their total to eight in the win after Andrew McCutchen roped a double into center to drive in a pair.
With the 8-2 win, the Pirates were able to start the three-game set against the Brewers off on the right foot. They haven’t won a three-game series in Milwaukee since winning two of three from July 24-26 in 2006. The Pirates improved to 26-25 on the season — the first time they were a game above .500 since taking two of three from the Phillies Opening Weekend April 7-8.
Lincoln Gets Another Spot Start
Right-hander Brad Lincoln has had a dominant 2012 season, whether it’s been as a starter or from the bullpen. But the 27-year-old will get another taste of starting again, as he will make his second spot start on Tuesday in place of Charlie Morton, who was placed on the disabled list today.
Lincoln has a 1.07 ERA over 25.1 innings this season — just an 0.47 ERA in relief from the ‘pen, which is second-best in the National League. In his lone spot start in the Majors in 2012, Lincoln allowed two runs on four hits over 6.0 innings. He walked one and struck out three against the Marlins in Miami on May 14.
The former first round pick by Pittsburgh in 2006, has contributed his success to confidence on the mound and not being afraid to fail. The Pirates will face the Reds at 7:05 on Tuesday in Cincinnati.
Karstens Makes Third Rehab Start
Right-hander Jeff Karstens made his third rehab start since being placed on the 15-day disabled list on April 18 with right shoulder inflammation. It marked Karstens’ second rehab outing for Triple-A Indianapolis.
Karstens threw two perfect innings which included three strikeouts to start. In the third inning, the Indy defense extended Karstens’ inning in which four unearned runs scored. Karstens allowed three hits in the inning (one triple) and a walk. The 28-year-old had the same issue his last rehab start with Indy, which resulted in a five run fourth inning (three earned).
The righty pitched a scoreless fourth, but allowed a two-run homer in the fifth. Overall, Karstens allowed six runs (two earned) on six hits over 5.0 innings. He walked one and struck out six while throwing 82 pitches, 58 strikes.