The Milwaukee Brewers got contributions from all over the lineup Tuesday night, beating the Pittsburgh Pirates 5-2 at Miller Park for their third straight victory.
Right fielder Ryan Braun returned from the disabled list and was 0-for-2 with a walk before he was replaced after six innings as the Brewers are trying to ease him back into action. Braun was unable to go on a rehab assignment on Monday because the game he was scheduled to appear in for the Low-A Wisconsin Timber Rattlers in Appleton was rained out.
It was the first meeting between the Pirates and Brewers since their Easter brawl in Pittsburgh, but there were no incidents Tuesday, other than two of the principals being involved in a hit by pitch. Pirates starter Gerrit Cole (3-3)—who touched off the melee on April 20 after Brewers center fielder Carlos Gomez hit a triple—hit Gomez with a pitch. But it was not a fastball; it was simply a breaking ball that didn’t break and Gomez was laughing about it at first base.
Gomez, however, wound up having to leave the game with lower back stiffness after the fifth inning. It appeared he injured himself diving back to first base on a pickoff attempt and he was not moving at full speed as he advanced to third on Scooter Gennett’s double to left.
The Pirates (16-22) took an early lead when Neal Walker hit an opposite-field bomb off Brewers starter Marco Estrada (3-1) in the top of the first.
But that was all Estrada would surrender as he allowed six hits and two walks while striking out eight in six laborious innings—he needed 112 pitches to get there.
Milwaukee (25-14) took the lead for good in the third. Logan Schafer led off the inning with a single to right and moved up on Estrada’s sacrifice bunt. Gomez was hit by a pitch and one out later, Schafer and Gomez executed a double steal to move into scoring position.
The Crew added a run in the sixth. Jean Segura laced a one-out double to the wall in left-center field and moved to third on Schafer’s groundout. Rickie Weeks, batting for Estrada, reached on an infield single to short and Segura scored. Elian Herrera, just back from Triple-A Nashville, singled to center to chase Cole, but reliever Justin Wilson got Gennett to ground out to end the threat.
Milwaukee put the game out of reach in the seventh off reliever Jared Hughes. Khris Davis, who replaced Braun the previous inning, singled and Lucroy moved him to third with a hit of his own. Mark Reynolds lofted a sacrifice fly to center field to score Davis and put the Brewers up 4-1.
After Lyle Overbay grounded out to third—the Brewers challenged the call at first, but the out call was upheld—and Lucroy moved up to second, Segura rapped a hard ground ball off Hughes that rolled toward first base. Lucroy scored on the play and Segura wound up at second after first baseman Ike Davis threw the ball away trying to get Lucroy at the plate.
Pittsburgh tacked on an unearned run in the eighth off reliever Will Smith. Segura threw wide of first on a grounder by Andrew McCutchen with one out. McCutchen was erased on a force play on a grounder by Pedro Alvarez, but Jose Tabata followed with a single and pinch-hitter Gaby Sanchez doubled off the wall in left to score Alvarez.
Francisco Rodriguez picked up his 16th save, striking out one in a perfect ninth. Brandon Kintzler worked the seventh, allowing a hit, and Smith was charged with an unearned run on two hits, striking out one, in the eighth.
The Brewers banged out 12 hits, with Herrera and Davis each going 2-for-2 after entering the game late. Segura and Lucroy were each 2-for-4 and Gennett was 2-for-5.