The Milwaukee Brewers committed three errors Friday night, leading to five unearned runs in an 8-3 loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates at Miller Park.
The Brewers, however, did get a little help when the Phillies topped the St. Louis Cardinals, allowing Milwaukee to maintain its 1½-game lead in the National League Central. With the win, the Pirates, who had lost seven straight before winning their second in a row Friday, climbed back to within five games of the division lead.
It was the Brewers (71-57) who got off to a quick start against Pittsburgh left-hander Jeff Locke (5-3). Jonathan Lucroy drew a one-out walk and Ryan Braun followed with a home run to left-center field, his 16th of the season, for an early 2-0 lead.
But the wheels started to fall off in the top of the second. Russell Martin led off by reaching on a throwing error by third baseman Aramis Ramirez and Yovani Gallardo (8-7) followed that up by walking the next two hitters to load the bases. Jordy Mercer made it a 2-1 game with a sacrifice fly.
After Locke struck out, though, Josh Harrison doubled to right to give Pittsburgh a 3-2 lead. Gallardo picked Harrison off second base to end the inning.
Pittsburgh added a run in the third on an RBI triple by Neil Walker and scored again in the fourth on an RBI single by Harrison.
In the fifth, Andrew McCutchen led off with a home run to right center, his 18th of the season, to put Pittsburgh (66-62) up 6-2.
The Pirates tacked on two more unearned runs in the eighth. Jean Segura booted a grounder by Starling Marte to lead off the inning. With two outs, Brandon Kintzler served up a home run to Harrison—No. 11 on the year for the All-Star utility man—to make it an 8-2 game.
The Brewers got a run in the eighth against their former closer, John Axford. Braun lined a one-out single to right, went to third on a Ramirez base hit and scored when Rickie Weeks rifled a single to right field.
Gallardo gave up six runs, three earned, on eight hits and three walks in five innings, striking out four. Marco Estrada allowed just a hit in two scoreless innings, striking out two. Kintzler was charged with two unearned runs on one hit in his inning of work, striking out one. Tom Gorzelanny surrendered a hit in a scoreless ninth.
Braun was 2-for-5 and Weeks went 2-for-4, but the rest of the Brewers mustered just two hits against Locke, who worked six innings, and a trio of relievers.
Harrison was 3-for-5 with five RBI out of the leadoff spot for Pittsburgh, raising his average to .308 on the season.
The Brewers are now 10-4 against the Pirates this season.