W: Dave Bush (7-11)
L: Charlie Morton (1-10)
S: Trevor Hoffman (8)
HR: Ryan Braun (19), Delwyn Young (6), Neil Walker (7), Ryan Doumit (11)
MVP: Chris Dickerson (+.193)
LVP: Prince Fielder (-.081)
Win Expectancy Graph
SB Nation Coverage
Much like last night's game, today's affair saw early fireworks. Pirates second baseman Neil Walker hit his seventh home run of the season (and second in two days) off Dave Bush in the first inning, giving Pittsburgh starter Charlie Morton an early 2-0 lead. Morton, just called up from AAA, then showed why he has spent much of the year in a AAA Indianapolis Indians uniform. Around two line outs, Morton allowed two singles and walked a batter to load the bases for Brewers centerfielder Chris Dickerson. Dickerson knocked out a two-RBI single to right and then prompted an errant pickoff throw that brought Casey McGehee home to put the Brewers up 3-2. Morton was able to escape the inning without further damage.
Both pitchers kept their respective opponents scoreless in the second, but the Brewers bats came alive again in the third. With one out and runners on the corners, Dickerson again came through with an RBI groundout that plated Ryan Braun and moved McGehee to second. A passed ball allowed McGehee to reach third and later score on a single by Alcides Escobar. Escobar then stole second and scored in turn on George Kottaras' single to right field.
Ryan Doumit did what he could to bring the Pirates back, hitting a leadoff home run in the fourth inning to make the score 6-3, Brewers before Dave Bush set the next three Pirates down in order. In the bottom of the fourth, Rickie Weeks continued his gravitational manipulation, getting hit by a pitch for the twenty-third time this season. Ryan Braun hit his nineteenth home run of the season later in the inning to make the score 8-3.
With a large lead, Dave Bush's job shifted from keeping the Brewers in the game to eating up innings for a tired bullpen. In that light, he performed admirably, ultimately lasting a full seven innings. His only blemish after the fourth inning was a solo home run by Delwyn Young in his final frame. Zach Braddock, the only Brewers reliever who did not pitch last night, started the eighth with two strikeouts but was pulled after he walked one hitter and hit another. Mike McClendon entered into his first save situation and caught a line drive off the bat of Ronny Cedeno to end the inning.
In the ninth, McClendon allowed a walk and infield single around a fly out, putting two runners on base with a four run lead. The criteria for a save situation thereby met once again, Trevor Hoffman came out of the bullpen seeking career save #599. Two groundouts later, the pressure on his next save situation shot way up.
While the Brewers bats were quiet for the most part after the fourth inning, a scary incident took place in the bottom of the eighth. Pirates closer Evan Meek, working for the first time since last Wednesday, was hit by a sharp line drive off the bat of Ryan Braun. It initially looked as though Meek took the impact in his chest or stomach, but he walked off the field cradling his pitching arm. According to Pirates beat writer Dejan Kovacevic, Meek's pitching hand was bruised but not fractured (link). Incidentally, Brewers pitcher Mike McClendon was hit by a line drive in his right leg the next inning, but he did not appear to be injured.