Coming into the finale of their three-game series, the Pittsburgh Pirates and the Milwaukee Brewers both sat 1/2-game behind the National League Central-leading St. Louis Cardinals. Both teams have been playing well as of late, but it was the Pirates who overcame a 4-2 eighth-inning deficit to knock off the Brewers today in Milwaukee.
After losing the first two games of the series, it appeared Pittsburgh was going to be swept until it tallied four runs on five hits in the top of the eighth. The successful inning included a two-run home run by left fielder Starling Marte and RBI singles by second baseman Brandon Inge and third baseman Pedro Alvarez.
It was really the Pirates bullpen that did a yeoman’s job, though, as Justin Wilson, Bryan Morris, Mark Melancon and Jason Grilli combined for five innings of one-run, three-hit ball, striking out five and issuing just one walk. Morris earned the win while Melancon notched his 10th hold and Grilli recorded his major league-leading 11th save of the season.
It was just another day at the office for a relief corps that has pitched the second-most innings in Major League Baseball, yet still boasts the fourth-lowest ERA in the NL.
Despite the loss, the Brewers are 12-4 over their last 16 games and have a chance to overtake the Cardinals when they travel to St. Louis for a four-game series starting tomorrow. Given that Milwaukee ranks near the top of the league in hitting and St. Louis is high in both hitting and pitching, it should be a heck of a four-game set.
As for the Pirates, they are idle until Friday when they host the floundering Washington Nationals in a three-game weekend series.