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Pittsburgh (30-58)030001001590
Milwaukee (40-49) «0012000126110

Hart, Brewers sink Bucs with walk-off two-run home run

CBSSports.com wire reports
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MILWAUKEE -- Corey Hart's game-winning home run capped a rocky first half of the season for the Brewers' All-Star outfielder, one that started ugly and ended sensationally.

Hart hit a two-run shot in the ninth inning to give Milwaukee a dramatic 6-5 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates on Sunday. It was Hart's 21st of the season and second game winner.

Hart's season did not start well. He beat the Brewers in salary arbitration, then was tabbed as a platoon player sharing time in right field with the newly acquired Jim Edmonds. The team even left Hart's name off the All-Star ballot.

Injuries eventually gave him a chance to play every day, and a move to second in the batting order helped erase some of the bitterness. Now, he's headed to the All-Star Game as a starter in the outfield, taking the place of Atlanta's Jason Heyward, who is out with an injury.

"I was trying not to get released the first month of the year," Hart said. "It's a pretty good feeling to be able to come back like this."

Hart said that he was angry with the way the season started.

"I felt like I had a chip on my shoulder and I wanted to prove them wrong," he said. "I talked to [hitting coach] Dale [Sveum] quite a bit going through this. They were going to help me get back to showing the guys I should be out there again. I figured if I worked hard enough I'd work my way back in the lineup."

Hart also said that he understood why he fell from favor.

"I put myself in that spot," he said. "You always want to feel like your team has your back, but at the same time if you don't play well, I guess they only give you a certain leeway. I guess I had gotten to the point where they felt I shouldn't be a starter. I didn't cry about it or cry about playing time. I just fought to prove them wrong and I feel like I have."

Hart had struck out twice, flied out and hit into a double play Sunday before his heroics in the ninth inning.

The Brewers trailed 5-4 when Edmonds led off with a ground-rule double. Rickie Weeks flied out before Hart belted a 2-0 pitch from Octavio Dotel (2-2) over the wall in left for his second game-ending home run of the season.

Dotel had his streak of seven straight saves snapped Friday night when he allowed one run in the ninth as the Brewers took the first game of the series.

Lastings Milledge came to the defense of the Pirates bullpen, which has converted 20 of 30 save opportunities.

"Nobody can question what the bullpen's been doing," he said. "They've been unstoppable out there the whole year. We haven't given them too much to work with throughout the year."

John Axford (5-1) allowed a run in the ninth but picked up the win for Milwaukee, which swept the three-game series and handed Pittsburgh its sixth straight loss. The Brewers had lost five straight before the series, and improved to 8-3 against the Pirates this season.

Pittsburgh was also swept by Houston and hasn't won since beating Philadelphia last Sunday.

The Pirates had taken the lead in their half of the ninth inning when Ronny Cedeno bunted down the first-base line and slid past Prince Fielder, who fielded the ball and tried to tag him before reaching first base. Delwyn Young punched a single through the gap and Andrew McCutchen hit his second sacrifice fly, allowing Cedeno to easily beat Hart's throw to the plate.

Pittsburgh never trailed until the game-ending homer by Hart.

Milledge hit a solo home run for Pittsburgh, and starting pitcher Brad Lincoln and McCutchen each drove in runs to make it 3-0 in the second inning.

Milwaukee scored in the third on Weeks' sacrifice fly, and managed to tie the game in the fourth when Ryan Braun -- the only Brewers player in franchise history to start three straight All-Star Games -- hit a solo shot and George Kottaras added another two outs later.

The home runs continued in the sixth when Pedro Alvarez went deep for Pittsburgh, the major league-leading 21st allowed by Milwaukee starter Randy Wolf.

The Brewers still trailed in the eighth when Braun singled up the middle, and Carlos Gomez -- hitting just .038 with runners in scoring position and two outs -- lined an 0-2 pitch into right that tied the game again.

Braun snapped a 1-for-21 stretch by driving in the game-winner in the 10th inning Friday night. He also hit his first home run since June 28 on Saturday night.

Notes

  • Fielder played in his 274th consecutive game, the longest active streak in the majors, and tied the franchise record set by Hall of Famer Robin Yount (1987-89).
  • Asked before the game about his team's first half, Brewers manager Ken Macha said, "There are pieces in place. We've seen brilliance from all areas, and we've seen bad play from all areas."
 
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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The Brewers surround game hero Corey Hart, whose home run in the ninth helps Milwaukee sweep Pittsburgh.  (AP)
The Brewers surround game hero Corey Hart, whose home run in the ninth helps Milwaukee sweep Pittsburgh. (AP)

Players of the Game
Milwaukee

R. Braun
AB 3
R 2
H 2
HR 1
RBI 1
Pittsburgh

R. Cedeno
AB 4
R 2
H 3
HR 0
RBI 0
 
Pittsburgh Pirates
Andrew McCutchen, CF3002010 .287
Jose Tabata, LF2000311 .241
Neil Walker, 2B4000013 .275
Garrett Jones, 1B4000001 .272
Pedro Alvarez, 3B4111020 .214
Lastings Milledge, RF3121100 .276
Ryan Doumit, C4110012 .260
Ronny Cedeno, SS4230000 .229
Brad Lincoln, P3011001 .308
    Javier Lopez, P0000000 .000
    Brendan Donnelly, P0000000 .000
    Joel Hanrahan, P0000000 .000
   a- Delwyn Young, PH1010000 .233
    Octavio Dotel, P0000000 .000
Totals3259546  
a-singled for Hanrahan in the 9th
Batting
2B - Ronny Cedeno (12, Wolf)
HR - Pedro Alvarez (3, Wolf), Lastings Milledge (3, Wolf)
SF - Andrew McCutchen 2 (4)
RBI - Andrew McCutchen 2 (29), Pedro Alvarez (11), Lastings Milledge (26), Brad Lincoln (2)
SB - Lastings Milledge (5, 2nd base off Wolf/Kottaras)
CS - Jose Tabata (4, 2nd base by Wolf/Kottaras)
Team LOB - 6
Fielding
DP - Alvarez-Walker-G. Jones
Pittsburgh Pirates
Brad Lincoln 6733232 5.14
Javier Lopez (H,5) 0.1000010 2.78
Brendan Donnelly (H,7) 0.2000010 5.33
Joel Hanrahan (BS,2) 1211110 4.06
Octavio Dotel (BS,5; L,2-2) 0.1222001 4.89
WP - Brad Lincoln (1)
Pitches-Strikes - Brad Lincoln 81-49, Javier Lopez 4-3, Brendan Donnelly 7-5, Joel Hanrahan 23-15, Octavio Dotel 12-7
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Brad Lincoln 5-9
Batters Faced - Brad Lincoln 26, Javier Lopez 1, Brendan Donnelly 2, Joel Hanrahan 6, Octavio Dotel 3
Milwaukee Brewers
Rickie Weeks, 2B4021002 .269
Corey Hart, RF5112023 .288
Ryan Braun, LF3221101 .292
Prince Fielder, 1B2000211 .265
Casey McGehee, 3B4000014 .274
George Kottaras, C4111013 .207
Carlos Gomez, CF4021002 .229
Alcides Escobar, SS4120003 .244
Randy Wolf, P1000000 .268
    Todd Coffey, P0000000 .000
   a- Joe Inglett, PH1000011 .328
    Zach Braddock, P0000000 .000
    John Axford, P0000000 .000
   b- Jim Edmonds, PH1010000 .273
    Dave Bush, PR0100000 .125
Totals33611636  
a-struck out for Coffey in the 7th
b-doubled for Axford in the 9th
Batting
2B - Alcides Escobar (8, Lincoln), Jim Edmonds (18, Dotel)
HR - Corey Hart (21, Dotel), Ryan Braun (13, Lincoln), George Kottaras (7, Lincoln)
SF - Rickie Weeks (2)
SH - Randy Wolf (2)
RBI - Rickie Weeks (53), Corey Hart 2 (65), Ryan Braun (54), George Kottaras (21), Carlos Gomez (20)
2-OUT RBI - George Kottaras (6), Carlos Gomez (5)
SB - Alcides Escobar (7, 2nd base off Donnelly/Doumit)
Team LOB - 7
Fielding
DP - Kottaras-Weeks, Axford-Escobar-Fielder
Milwaukee Brewers
Randy Wolf 6744352 4.56
Todd Coffey 1000010 4.41
Zach Braddock 1000100 4.08
John Axford (W,5-1) 1211000 3.12
Pitches-Strikes - Randy Wolf 103-62, Todd Coffey 12-8, Zach Braddock 16-9, John Axford 13-9
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Randy Wolf 2-10, Todd Coffey 1-1, John Axford 1-1
Batters Faced - Randy Wolf 27, Todd Coffey 3, Zach Braddock 4, John Axford 4
Game Information
Attendance - 34598
Game Time - 3:01
Temperature - 84
Umpires - Home - Chris Guccione, First Base - Tim Tschida, Second Base - Tim Timmons, Third Base - Bob Davidson