HR: Betancourt (6), Martin (6), Sanchez (4), McCutchen (3), Segura (3),
The Pirates started off the scoring in the first inning with their first three batters. Starling Marte doubled to left field to start off the game, which Russell Martin followed with a single. With runners on first and third, Andrew McCutchen singled to center to score the first run of the game. It looked as though it was going to be a long night for Marco Estrada, but Estrada fought back and managed to escape the first inning without any further damage.
The Brewers remained quiet until the second inning when Rickie Weeks and Carlos Gomez drew walks to start the inning. After Yuniesky Betancourt popped out, Martin Maldonado snuck a ball past Pedro Alvarez and down the third base line that bounced off the protrusion that comes off of the wall in left field and allowed Weeks and Gomez to score standing up. Estrada followed up Maldonado's double with a single to right field that was misplayed by Garrett Jones and allowed Maldonado to score to give the Brewers a 3-1 lead. Playing Maldonado at first in place of the injured Alex Gonzalez has been a real boost for the Brewers. Though he doesn't field the position as well, having a steady bat like Maldonado at the bottom of the lineup has really helped stabilize the lineup.
It didn't take the Pirates long to answer the Brewers three runs in the second as Gaby Sanchez hit a two run home run in the top of the third to tie the game. Again, the Brewers answered quickly in the bottom of the third with back-to-back doubles from Weeks and Gomez to give the Brewers a one run lead at 4-3, but the scoring did not stop there.
Jonathan Lucroy added another run to the tally with a two-run double in the bottom of the fourth scoring Segura and moving Braun up to third. Weeks followed Lucroy's double with a two run single to center that gave the Brewers a 7-3 lead.
A four run lead is quite the cushion for a starting pitcher after four innings, but Estrada just couldn't manage to keep himself out of trouble tonight. In the fifth, Estrada gave up back-to-back no doubt home runs to Martin and McCutchen to bring Pittsburgh within two runs. After recording the final two outs of the top of the fifth, Estrada was taken out after giving up five earned runs in only five innings pitched. Tonight was not a good night for a fly ball pitcher like Estrada as the wind was blowing out at Miller Park and the roof was open for the first time this season.
Estrada was replaced by Brandon Kintzler in the sixth inning. Kintzler recorded an out against his first batter before giving up singles to Brandon Inge and Clint Barmes. Following Barmes, Jose Tabata grounded up the middle and the ball was fielded behind second base by Weeks. Weeks stepped on the bag and threw the ball to first for the inning ending double play, but first base umpire Tim Welke did not see it that way. He called Tabata safe on a play where the ball beat Tabata to the bag by a half step. This blown call would not have been a big deal except the next batter Marte hit a three run home run off Burke Badenhop to give the Pirates a 8-7 lead.
Once again, the Brewers didn't take long to answer as Jean Segura hit his third home run of the year in the bottom of the sixth to tie the game for the second time at 8-8. Tom Gorzelanny came into the game in the seventh inning after Badenhop gave up a lead off single to McCutchen and ended the inning with a strikeout and double play to set the stage for the Brewers April MVP.
With the game tied at eight, Yuni Betancourt crushed a fastball to right center field and gave the Brewers a one run lead. Betancourt's production in the month of April has been astounding. I can't imagine there is a single person out there that believed Yuni B would almost match his home run total for all of last season (7) in just one month. Amazing.
The Brewers added some BMIRs in the bottom of the eighth on a three-run home run from Rickie Weeks to right center to give the Brewers a 12-8 lead. Weeks finished the night 3 for 4 with a two-run double and three-run home run. The five RBI night was a career high for Weeks and hopefully a good sign going forward.
In the third and final game of their series, the Brewers will take on the Pirates at 12:10 p.m. at Miller Park tomorrow. Hiram Burgos will be on the mound for the Brewers against Jeanmar Gomez, who will be making his first start of the season for the Pirates.