Milwaukee at Pittsburgh

Scoreboard
Milwaukee (76-72) «1000101003111
Pittsburgh (74-74)000000001162

Brewers beat Bucs, win fourth straight

CBSSports.com wire reports
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PITTSBURGH -- John Axford looked to his left and the St. Louis Cardinals-Houston Astros game was on one clubhouse television. He looked to another TV on his right and saw the Los Angeles Dodgers playing the Washington Nationals.

The Milwaukee Brewers closer smiled.

"We're not scoreboard watching," Axford said. "Not at all."

Axford was fibbing, of course.

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Marco Estrada pitched seven scoreless innings and rookie shortstop Jean Segura hit a double and triple Wednesday night as the surging Brewers stayed in contention for a postseason berth with a 3-1 victory over the fading Pittsburgh Pirates.

Estrada (4-6) allowed three hits and retired the last 10 batters he faced in improving to 4-1 with a 1.23 ERA in his last six starts. He struck out four and walked one.

"We're just having a lot of fun," Estrada said as he teammates roared in the background while watching Washington post a six-run inning. "That's the great thing about our team. We have a real fun group and I think that's helped us this season. Even when it looked like we were out of it, we never gave up. We just kept playing."

Estrada wound up having more fun than he expected. He said he felt "weird" while warming up before the game because he had gone seven days between starts.

"It took me a while to feel comfortable," Estrada said. "I felt like I hadn't pitch in a long time."

Milwaukee manager Ron Roenicke felt the extra rest helped Estrada.

"I know pitchers like to stay in their routine but when you get to this time of the season guys need more time off," Roenicke said. "The extra days off can really help and they did in Marco's case. His command wasn't really good early but it got a lot better as the game went on."

Axford worked around Andrew McCutchen's leadoff home run in the ninth inning, his 29th, for his 30th save in 38 opportunities. The homer broke a string of 22 scoreless innings for the Pittsburgh bullpen.

Milwaukee has won four straight games, seven of eight and 22 of 28. They entered the day 2½ games behind St. Louis in the race for the second NL wild card.

The Brewers were 12½ games out of the second wild card on Aug. 19, three weeks after trading ace pitcher Zack Greinke to the Los Angeles Angels.

"If anything, the Greinke trade gave us some motivation," Axford said. "We didn't feel in the clubhouse like we were out of it. We never gave up."

Pittsburgh has lost 14 of 18 and 20 of 27 to drop to 74-74, the first time they have been at .500 since they were 26-26 on June 2. The Pirates, who began the day 3½ games behind the Cardinals, have had 19 consecutive losing seasons, a major North American professional sports record.

"We haven't played well and it's been for a while," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. "So, you know, we had earned the position we were in before; we've earned this position as well. The season's 162 games for a reason."

Milwaukee's Norichika Aoki led off the game by hitting rookie Kyle McPherson's second pitch into the stands in right for his ninth home run. Aoki, Segura and Rickie Weeks each had two of the Brewers' 11 hits.

McPherson (0-1) took the loss in his first major league start, giving up two runs and seven hits in 4 1/3 innings. The Brewers scored their other run off McPherson in the fifth inning. Segura hit a leadoff double, advanced on a balk and scored on Estrada's single.

McPherson had made seven relief appearances, posting a 1.54 ERA, and was moved into the rotation in place of James McDonald, who was 2-5 with a 6.66 ERA in his last 10 games.

Segura tripled to lead off the seventh and scored when second baseman Brock Holt was charged with an error for mishandling Estrada's grounder. That put Milwaukee ahead 3-0.

McCutchen and Pedro Alvarez had two hits apiece for Pittsburgh.

The Brewers have won six straight games against Pittsburgh.

"Sometimes you just have your mojo against another team and that seems to be the case with us against the Pirates," Roenicke said.

Notes

  • Pittsburgh 2B Neil Walker sat out for the second time in three days because of lower back soreness, an injury that caused him to miss 15 straight games from Aug. 29-Sept. 14, though he did walk as a pinch-hitter in the eighth inning. Hurdle said Walker's availability will be determined on a daily basis for the remainder of the season.
  • Milwaukee GM Doug Melvin is on the trip along with the rest of the Brewers' baseball operations staff as they are holding player evaluation meetings with Roenicke and the coaching staff.
  • Rookie RHP Mike Fiers (9-7, 3.23) is scheduled to pitch for Milwaukee against LHP Wandy Rodriguez (11-13, 3.65) on Thursday in the finale of the three-game series. Rodriguez is 4-1 with a 1.83 ERA in his last six games, including one relief appearance.
 
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' Marco Estrada gives up three hits and zero runs in seven dominant innings. (Getty Images)
The Brewers' Marco Estrada gives up three hits and zero runs in seven dominant innings. (Getty Images)

Players of the Game
Milwaukee

N. Aoki
AB 4
R 1
H 2
HR 1
RBI 1
Milwaukee

M. Estrada
IP 7.0
H 3
ER 0
BB 1
K 4
 

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Milwaukee Brewers
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Norichika Aoki, RF4121001 .293
Rickie Weeks, 2B4020001 .233
Ryan Braun, LF4010012 .313
Aramis Ramirez, 3B3010101 .294
Jonathan Lucroy, C4010010 .322
Taylor Green, 1B4000014 .186
    Travis Ishikawa, 1B0000000 .257
Carlos Gomez, CF4010001 .251
Jean Segura, SS4220001 .262
Marco Estrada, P3011010 .111
    Jim Henderson, P0000000 .000
   a- Logan Schafer, PH1000000 .250
    John Axford, P0000000 .000
Totals35311214  
a-popped out for Henderson in the 9th
Batting
2B - Jean Segura (2, McPherson)
3B - Jean Segura (2, Karstens)
HR - Norichika Aoki (9, McPherson)
RBI - Norichika Aoki (45), Marco Estrada (3)
SB - Carlos Gomez (34, 2nd base off McPherson/McKenry)
CS - Carlos Gomez (6, 3rd base by McPherson/McKenry)
Team LOB - 6
Fielding
DP - Ramirez-Weeks-T. Green
E - Jonathan Lucroy (6, Throwing)
Milwaukee Brewers
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Marco Estrada (W,4-6) 7300140 3.56
Jim Henderson (H,12) 1100130 3.52
John Axford (S,30) 1211011 4.83
Pitches-Strikes - Marco Estrada 96-68, Jim Henderson 18-10, John Axford 23-14
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Marco Estrada 9-7, John Axford 1-1
Batters Faced - Marco Estrada 24, Jim Henderson 5, John Axford 5
Pittsburgh Pirates
HittersABRHRBIBBSOLOBAVG
Brock Holt, 2B2000100 .309
   a- Neil Walker, PH0000100 .278
    Jordy Mercer, PR-SS0000000 .196
Starling Marte, LF4000013 .239
Andrew McCutchen, CF4121000 .340
Garrett Jones, 1B4000001 .279
Pedro Alvarez, 3B4020010 .243
Michael McKenry, C4010012 .249
Travis Snider, RF4010012 .252
Clint Barmes, SS2000011 .225
   b- Jose Tabata, PH1000011 .241
    Josh Harrison, 2B0000000 .231
Kyle McPherson, P1000000 .000
    Chris Resop, P0000000 .000
   c- Alex Presley, PH1000010 .238
    Jeff Karstens, P0000000 .107
   d- Jeff Clement, PH1000011 .111
    Chris Leroux, P0000000 .000
Totals3216128  
a-walked for Holt in the 8th
b-struck out for Barmes in the 8th
c-struck out for Resop in the 5th
d-struck out for Karstens in the 8th
Batting
2B - Michael McKenry (14, M. Estrada)
HR - Andrew McCutchen (29, Axford)
RBI - Andrew McCutchen (89)
SB - Andrew McCutchen (19, 3rd base off M. Estrada/Lucroy)
Team LOB - 6
Fielding
DP - Barmes-G. Jones, Alvarez-G. Jones, Resop-McKenry-G. Jones, Barmes-Holt-G. Jones
E - Pedro Alvarez (25, Misplayed grounder), Brock Holt (4, Misplayed grounder)
Pittsburgh Pirates
PitchersIPHRERBBSOHRERA
Kyle McPherson (L,0-1) 4.1722121 2.25
Chris Resop 0.2200000 3.57
Jeff Karstens 3211020 3.86
Chris Leroux 1000000 6.75
Pitches-Strikes - Kyle McPherson 71-46, Chris Resop 10-7, Jeff Karstens 29-22, Chris Leroux 11-10
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Kyle McPherson 3-6, Chris Resop 1-0, Jeff Karstens 4-3
Batters Faced - Kyle McPherson 19, Chris Resop 3, Jeff Karstens 11, Chris Leroux 3
Game Information
Attendance - 15337
Game Time - 2:59
Temperature - 62
Umpires - Home - Brian O'Nora, First Base - Chad Fairchild, Second Base - Alfonso Marquez, Third Base - Tom Hallion