PITTSBURGH -- One night after numerous hits but not many runs added up to an excellent pitching performance for the Milwaukee Brewers, the same combination represented a poor night at the plate and a missed opportunity.
Jason Bay and Xavier Nady homered and the Pittsburgh Pirates took advantage of Milwaukee's inability to drive in runners to beat the Brewers 8-4 Thursday night and avoid a series sweep.
The Brewers, losers of nine in a row on the road before visiting the Pirates, were denied their first three-game sweep in Pittsburgh since PNC Park opened in 2001. They are 22-43 there, the worst record of any opposing team.
"Any time you have a chance to sweep a series, you want to take advantage of it, so it's frustrating there," manager Ned Yost said.
The Brewers' offense was equally disheartening.
A night after Brewers ace Ben Sheets allowed 11 hits but still pitched a complete game to defeat Pittsburgh 4-1, the Brewers got 14 hits but left a season-high 14 on base. They were 2-for-11 with runners in scoring position, failing repeatedly to get to Pirates starter Tom Gorzelanny (4-4), who won despite giving up eight hits and walking four in five-plus innings.
"I felt good about our offense, we just had chances we didn't take advantage of," Yost said.
Gorzelanny helped himself get the victory, driving in a run with his first hit in 23 at-bats, dating to last season, with a single during the Pirates' four-run fourth inning against starter Dave Bush (1-5).
After Nate McLouth singled and Bay homered off the center field batter's backdrop for his 11th of the season to put the Pirates up 2-1, Bush hit Nady with a pitch ahead of Adam LaRoche's single.
"Up to that point we hadn't swung the bats very well, even in the first two games, and hitting's contagious, so that kind of got things moving there a little bit," Bay said. "We were playing with the lead for once, and it was a nice change."
One batter later, Raul Chavez -- a .214 career hitter brought up by Pittsburgh last week -- singled to center to make it 3-1 and Gorzelanny followed with his RBI single. He had been 0-for-13 this season.
"I go up there hoping to put the bat on the ball, so it's exciting to be able to help the cause," Gorzelanny said.
McLouth had his first four-hit game to boost his average to .314 and scored three times. He singled in the fifth and scored on Nady's seventh homer, which made it 6-1. Chris Gomez added a two-run single in the seventh against reliever Zach Johnson.
McLouth broke out of a slump in which he hit .196 over his previous 12 games.
"We got a few runs early, and a lot of times if you don't do that you struggle," said McLouth, pointing to the Pirates' combined six runs in their previous three games, all losses.
Corey Hart and Rickie Weeks hit solo homers leading off an inning. But the Brewers couldn't score despite having runners on second and third with one out in the second, loading the bases with two out in the fourth following Hart's leadoff homer and having runners on first and third with two out in the fifth.
The Brewers' previous season high was 12 runners left on base.
Bush's shaky start was nothing new on the road, where the right-hander is 0-4 with a 7.67 ERA in six games.
"It's been a struggle for him, he works hard to fight through it but he hasn't had much success," said Yost, who wouldn't say if Bush might be pulled from the rotation.
Bush lasted five innings, giving up six runs and nine hits, three by McLouth.
"I had trouble getting the third out, something that's hurt me from time to time," Bush said. "Four of the runs scored when there were two outs. I have to make better pitches in those situations."
Gorzelanny won for the third time in four starts despite constantly pitching with runners on base, an ongoing problem for a pitcher who has walked 35 in 45 2/3 innings this season.
The Pirates had lost four of five. ... Pittsburgh has homered in a season-high seven consecutive games, hitting a total of 10. ... The Brewers' record for runners left on base during a nine-inning game is 19, against the Twins on May 16, 1986 when Milwaukee was an AL club.