Khris Davis muscled a two-run, broken-bat single into center field with the bases loaded in the bottom of the ninth, lifting the Milwaukee Brewers to a 4-3 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates Thursday in the rubber game of a three-game set at Miller Park.
The Brewers (26-15) rallied against Pirates closer Mark Melancon (1-2), taking advantage of some uncharacteristic wildness to put together the game-winning rally.
Trailing 3-2 heading into the bottom of the ninth, Ryan Braun led off with a single and Melancon then loaded the bases with back-to-back walks to Jonathan Lucroy and Mark Reynolds. Prior to Thursday, Melancon had walked only one batter in 19 innings this season.
Davis worked the count to 2-2 before hitting a cut fastball off the handle, shattering the bat. But Davis got enough on the ball to drop it into short center field, scoring Braun to tie the game. Lucroy came around from second and slid headfirst across the plate to end it.
The Brewers took the lead in the third when red-hot Rickie Weeks touched up Pirates starter Wandy Rodriguez for his first homer of the season with two outs in the inning. Weeks drove a fastball the opposite way for his first home run since last July 20.
Weeks has hits in eight straight games and is 13-for-20 in May, raising his average from .194 at the end of April to .365 at the end of play Thursday.
Pittsburgh (17-23) struck back to take the lead in the top of the fifth off Milwaukee starter Yovani Gallardo. Jose Tabata led off with a single up the middle and Tony Sanchez followed with his first homer of the year to right-center field.
Martin Maldonado led off the bottom of the fifth with his second homer, a shot to left center field off Rodriguez.
But in the top of the sixth, the other Sanchez in the Pittsburgh lineup burned Gallardo. Gaby Sanchez turned around Gallardo’s first pitch of the inning to center field for his fourth home run to put the Pirates back on top 3-2.
That set the stage for the fireworks in the bottom of the ninth, when the Brewers came up with two runs without Melancon retiring any of the four batters he faced.
Rob Wooten (1-1) , who got the final out of the eighth before pitching a scoreless ninth, got the win, allowing a hit and a walk while striking out one.
Gallardo surrendered three runs on five hits with two walks and six strikeouts in 6.1 innings. Zach Duke retired both batters he faced, one by strikeout, and Tyler Thornburg walked two batters before inducing a double play grounder in the eighth.
Weeks was 3-for-4 for the Brewers, who had only seven hits on the day.
Milwaukee opens a 10-game road trip on Friday afternoon, taking on the Cubs at Wrigley Field at 1:20 p.m. Kyle Lohse (4-1, 2.75 ERA) opens the trip on the hill for the Crew, opposed by right-hander Jeff Samardzija (0-3, 1.45 ERA).
The Brewers will play three in Chicago over the weekend, head to Atlanta for four games and wrap up the trip next weekend with with three games in Miami.