Milwaukee at Pittsburgh

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Milwaukee (48-33) «01020070010120
Pittsburgh (35-46)101010000370

Miller ties Brewers record with seven-RBI performance in rout

CBS SportsLine.com wire reports
  •  

PITTSBURGH -- Damian Miller's T-shirt under his Milwaukee Brewers jersey reads "Hitting Is Simple," which is Tony Gwynn's philosophy at the plate. Not even Gwynn, the soon-to-be Hall of Fame inductee, had many nights like this.

Miller, a backup catcher, homered twice during a four-hit night, including a grand slam in a seven-run seventh inning, and his seven RBI matched a club record in a 10-3 rout of the Pittsburgh Pirates on Monday.

Miller went 4-for-5 while playing for the first time since his three-run, game-ending homer in the 11th inning beat Houston on Wednesday -- his first homer this season. Miller has three homers and 11 RBI in two games after previously having no homers and six RBI all season.

"There's no explanation for it," Miller said. "I got good pitches to hit."

Doesn't get much simpler than that.

"Tony Gwynn, I'm not quite to that level," Miller said.

This time, he was.

The Pirates should have known better than to pitch to him, given their recent problems pitching to backup catchers. They lost 3-2 to Washington on Sunday, costing them a three-game sweep, when little-used catcher Jesus Flores hit a decisive two-run homer in the sixth.

Miller initially wasn't supposed to play Monday -- starter Johnny Estrada was scheduled to take Sunday off, but he stayed in the lineup because manager Ned Yost felt he matched up better against the Cubs' Jason Marquis. That meant Miller started in Pittsburgh, where the Brewers had dropped 37 of 55 since PNC Park opened in 2001.

"I forgot what it was like. They've got good lights in the big leagues," said Miller, who normally plays only in day games that follow night games.

Miller's two-run shot off rookie John Van Benschoten made it 3-1 in the fourth and was one of only three hits off the right-hander in six innings, but the Brewers had a lot more by the time the seventh inning ended. Masumi Kuwata (0-1), the Pirates' 39-year-old major league rookie, watched his ERA climb from 2.53 to 7.94 as he yielded five hits and seven runs in two-thirds of an inning.

Corey Hart doubled and scored on J.J. Hardy's go-ahead single, and Bill Hall added an RBI double around intentional walks to Prince Fielder and Geoff Jenkins. After Pirates manager Jim Tracy went to the mound to talk with Kuwata, Miller hit a curveball into the left-center seats for the Brewers' sixth grand slam this season. They didn't have any a season ago.

"What did he have, one homer and 10 RBI?" Tracy said of Miller. "You're not going to let Prince Fielder or Geoff Jenkins beat you there."

Kuwata, a long time Japanese star, is admittedly at the end of his career -- his fastball doesn't come close to reaching 90 mph. After four consecutive disappointing seasons back home for the Yomiuri Giants, he is realizing a career-long goal by pitching in the majors. Only he didn't want to pitch this way, especially after pitching effectively in most of his first nine appearances.

"I'm really disappointed with myself," he said, blaming his curveball. "Tonight, I couldn't control it. It's the seventh inning, the score is tied, I have to keep the ball down."

Tracy, his team 12 games under .500 one game past the midpoint of the season, heard numerous boos as he went to the mound to replace Kuwata with John Wasdin.

Nate McLouth doubled twice and scored both times against Brewers starter Jeff Suppan, who left after throwing 106 pitches in five innings. Carlos Villanueva (6-0) pitched four shutout innings for the victory, working with a seven-run lead the final three innings.

"If I can save the rest of the guys in the bullpen, I'll do my best," he said.

Notes

  • Also driving in seven runs for the Brewers were Ted Kubiak (1970), Jose Hernandez (2001) and Richie Sexson (2002).
  • The grand slam was the sixth of Miller's career. His four-hit game tied a career high, set three times previously.
  • Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa., threw out the first pitch. He was given a Pirates No. 2 jersey and watched the game from the grandstands.
  • Despite excellent weather, the Pirates drew only 33,600 for their last two home games -- 14,451 on Monday. The small crowds followed an organized fan protest against ownership during the club's 15th consecutive losing season.
  • The Pirates' slumping Jason Bay hit sixth for the first time this season and went 0-for-4 to drop his average to .259, down from .314 on June 1.
 
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
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Damian Miller makes his way home after a two-run HR in the fourth, en route to a seven-RBI night.  (AP)
Damian Miller makes his way home after a two-run HR in the fourth, en route to a seven-RBI night. (AP)

Players of the Game
Milwaukee

D. Miller
AB 5
R 2
H 4
HR 2
RBI 7
Pittsburgh

N. McLouth
AB 5
R 2
H 3
HR 0
RBI 1
 

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Milwaukee Brewers
Corey Hart, RF5111010 .314
J.J. Hardy, SS4111000 .283
Ryan Braun, 3B5010022 .341
Prince Fielder, 1B3200222 .278
    Craig Counsell, 2B0000000 .241
Bill Hall, CF4231100 .276
Geoff Jenkins, LF4100112 .273
Damian Miller, C5247000 .287
Tony Graffanino, 2B-1B4120001 .258
Jeff Suppan, P2000013 .088
    Carlos Villanueva, P1000001 .000
Totals3710121047  
Batting
2B - Corey Hart (13, Kuwata), Bill Hall (24, Kuwata)
HR - Damian Miller 2 (3, Van Benschoten, Kuwata)
SH - Carlos Villanueva (2)
RBI - Corey Hart (33), J.J. Hardy (52), Bill Hall (38), Damian Miller 7 (17)
2-OUT RBI - Bill Hall (10), Damian Miller 6 (10)
SB - Ryan Braun (7, 2nd base off Van Benschoten/Doumit)
Team LOB - 7
Milwaukee Brewers
Jeff Suppan 5533230 4.90
Carlos Villanueva (W,6-0) 4200050 2.64
HBP - Doumit (by Jeff Suppan)
Pitches-Strikes - Jeff Suppan 106-64, Carlos Villanueva 48-33
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Jeff Suppan 6-6, Carlos Villanueva 2-5
Batters Faced - Jeff Suppan 23, Carlos Villanueva 14
Pittsburgh Pirates
Nate McLouth, CF5231012 .247
Jose Bautista, 3B3010111 .265
Freddy Sanchez, 2B3002012 .298
    Matt Kata, 2B0000000 .186
Adam LaRoche, 1B4010012 .230
    Josh Phelps, 1B0000000 .276
Xavier Nady, RF4000012 .273
Jason Bay, LF4000000 .259
Ryan Doumit, C2000010 .301
    Masumi Kuwata, P0000000 .000
    John Wasdin, P0000000 .000
   a- Rajai Davis, PH1010000 .206
Jack Wilson, SS4000012 .256
John Van Benschoten, P1100100 .000
    Ronny Paulino, C2010010 .234
Totals3337328  
a-singled for Wasdin in the 9th
Batting
2B - Nate McLouth 2 (7, Suppan, Suppan)
SF - Freddy Sanchez (6)
RBI - Nate McLouth (8), Freddy Sanchez 2 (30)
Team LOB - 7
Fielding
Outfield Assists - Jason Bay 1
PB - Ronny Paulino (5)
Pittsburgh Pirates
John Van Benschoten 6333251 4.35
Masumi Kuwata (L,0-1) 0.2577211 7.94
John Wasdin 2.1400010 5.71
IBB - Fielder by Masumi Kuwata, by Jenkins
HBP - Graffanino (by John Van Benschoten), Hardy (by John Van Benschoten)
Pitches-Strikes - John Van Benschoten 100-58, Masumi Kuwata 29-15, John Wasdin 36-25
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - John Van Benschoten 5-8, Masumi Kuwata 1-0
Batters Faced - John Van Benschoten 25, Masumi Kuwata 9, John Wasdin 10
Game Information
Attendance - 14455
Game Time - 2:59
Temperature - 76
Umpires - Home - Jim Joyce, First Base - Mike Everitt, Second Base - Jim Wolf, Third Base - Rob Drake