Win: Francisco Rodriguez (2-4)
Loss: Tony Watson (4-1)
HR: Ryan Braun 2 (26), Cody Ransom (8), Neil Walker (7), Pedro Alvarez (17), Andrew McCutchen (19)
MVP: Ryan Braun (.494)
LVP: Zack Greinke (-.459 + -.052)
Has Cody Ransom ever hit a grand slam?
After an intentional walk to Rickie Weeks to load the bases with two outs in the bottom of the eighth inning, Cody Ransom stepped to the plate in a 6-6 ballgame. The Bucs' lefty Tony Watson stayed in the game to face the Brewers shortstop who was 0 for 4 with a strike out on the night. Ransom looked overmatched. He blinked repeatedly as he stepped to the plate as if something was in his eyes. After getting ahead 2-0, Ransom fouled off two hitable pitches. He stepped out of the box again and seemed to curse under his breath. He blinked some more. And then he stepped back into the batter's box and crushed a grand slam.
He's hit one now.
The Brewers returned from the All-Star break with a 10-7 home win against the NL Central leading Pittsburgh Pirates on Friday night. In what many are billing as a do-or-die nine-game stretch against NL Central opponents, the Brewers got the home stand off on the right note after Ransom broke open a tie game with his home run.
The game featured two starting pitchers who had terrific first halves. But Zack Greinke, who was making his third straight start, lasted only five innings, while James McDonald lasted 4.2 innings. The Brewers jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first inning when Ryan Braun hit a solo home run and Rickie Weeks doubled in Aramis Rameriz and Corey Hart scored when Drew Sutton couldn't field Weeks' hit cleanly.
Pittsburgh got one run back in the third inning on a Weeks' error and took the lead, 5-3, in the fourth inning with Neil Walker delivering a three-run homer. When Milwaukee would close within one run, the Pirates would answer back. Milwaukee finally tied the game on another solo shot from Braun in the sixth inning. And that's where the game stayed until the bottom of the eighth inning when Ransom smoked a ball over the left field fence.
There were plenty of good offensive performances, highlighted by Braun's 4 for 4 night. Hart collected three hits, Martin Maldonado four and Weeks was on base three times with a double and two walks. The bullpen pitched well after Greinke's short outing. (He gave up 6 runs, 5 earned, including two home runs.) Jose Veras, Manny Parra and Francisco Rodriguez all pitched scoreless innings. John Axford pitched the ninth and gave up a two-out home run to Andrew McCutchen for the final tally.
Milwaukee and PIttsburgh square off Saturday night at 6:10. The match-up features Marco Estrada against Kevin Correia.