Milwaukee used a couple of homers to help them to an early 4-0 lead. The Pirates homered twice late, but couldn’t make up the deficit. One game left in this ugly first half.
Jeff Karstens got in trouble very early. He issued walked to Ryan Braun and Prince Fielder with two outs in the first. Casey McGehee came through with an RBI single. In the third he yielded back-to-back homers to Braun and Fielder, pushing the lead to 3-0. Milwaukee loaded the bases in the fifth, but managed to score just one run on a sac fly from Craig Counsell.
The Pirates offense stalled against Dave Bush. He struck out Pedro Alvarez with runners at second and third in the first. The Pirates didn’t advance another runner to third until Garrett Jones led off with a homer in the sixth. The Pirates got one more in the seventh. Bobby Crosby singled and moved to second on a grounder. He moved to third after Kameron Loe, on in place of Bush, uncorked a wild pitch. McCutchen delivered a sac fly to cut the lead to 4-2.
John Axford pitched the ninth and gave up a lead off homer to Ryan Doumit. But he retired the next three batters to end the game.
Karstens fell to 2-4 by pitching five innings and giving up all four Milwaukee runs. He walked six and gave up five hits. Bush moved to 4-6. He went 6-1/3 and allowed two runs on six hits and a pair of walks. Axford got the save.
Rookies Jose Tabata and Alvarez each doubled and singled.
Welcome Sean Gallagher!
All the losing. First half, please end soon.
This was Karstens first career decision against Milwaukee. Bush is now 4-4 against Pittsburgh, including 2-0 this year.
Whatever slump he was in, Braun continued to bust out of it. He walked, doubled and homered and scored three times.
George Kottaras is hitting just .206 on the year after getting two hits. He is hitting .412 against Pittsburgh.