James McDonald was in command. But Milwaukee sent eleven men to the plate in the seventh to bust open a close game.

The Pirates got a couple of runs off of Chris Narveson. Ronny Cedeno had an RBI single in the second and Chris Snyder bopped a solo jack in the fifth. McDonald retired 15 of the first 16 Beer Maker hitters.

Jonathan Lucroy led off the sixth with a single and would later score on a Corey Hart base knock to cut the lead to one. Ryan Braun hit into an inning ending double play. But McDonald would be battered in the next inning. With one out and two on, Alcides Escobar drive was misplayed in right field by Lastings Milledge. It went for a triple and Milwaukee was up one. Lucroy singled, scoring Escobar. Joe Inglett collected a pinch hit single. Chris Resop relieved and Rickie Weeks whiffed. Hart delivered a two out double that scored Lucroy and Braun plated two more with a double of his own. Out goes Resop. In came Wil Ledezma. After walking Prince Fielder, he got Casey McGehee to end the inning. McGehee made the first and last outs of the seventh.

Kameron Loe walked the first two batters he faced in the eighth and was pulled for Zach Braddock. He whiffed Neil Walker and Garrett Jones and retired Lastings Milledge on a fly ball to end it. John Axford struck out the side in the ninth in a non-save situation.

McDonald gave up six runs in 6-1/3 innings. He struck out seven and gave up seven hits. Narveson won for the tenth time this year. He went seven innings and gave up both Pirate runs on seven hits. He struck out eight and walked one.

The Good
McDonald’s first five innings.

Jose Tabata had two more hits.

The Bad
Allowing eleven hitters to come to the plate in the seventh.

The Rest
Narveson is 2-0 against Pittsburgh. McDonald had made four relief appearances against Milwaukee in 2009 without a decision. This was his first career start and loss against the Beermen.

Tabata has a hit in nine of his last ten games. He is hitting .368 since the All-Star break and .485 in his last ten games. Tabata is second in the NL in post All-Star game batting average behind Chris Johnson of Houston.

Andy LaRoche started at 3B in place of Pedro Alvarez. He was hitless in three at bats and was pinch hit for by Delwyn Young. On May 7, LaRoche had two hits in a loss to St. Louis to put his average at .325. Since then he has gone 23-148 (.155) with only six extra base hits. In his defense, you could argue that he hasn’t been a regular for the past two months and his batting average has been impacted as a result. That would be misleading. He hasn’t been a regular since mid June (Alvarez’ first start was June 16). So that part is true. But he started 26 times between May 7 and June 16 and went 15-97 (also a .155 clip) with four extra base hits, making the decision to replace him with Alvarez very easy. I’ll be shocked if he is on the roster next year.

Bucs whiffed into double digits for the 26th time in 2010 as Milwaukee pitchers combined for 13 Ks.

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