The Pirates must have listened to my recap and pretended they weren’t in Miller Park today. Or maybe they forgot they were in Miller Park. It’d be difficult to find another explanation for today’s 5-2 win, backed by two Pedro Alvarez homeruns and a stellar start by Jeff Locke.
The Pirates jumped on Brewers starter Mike Fiers early with Andrew McCutchen’s two-out solo homerun in the top of the 1st inning. Jeff Locke pitched a scoreless bottom of the 1st before the Pirates’ offense attacked again. With one out, Neil Walker singled to right. Pedro then followed with his first homerun of the day, giving the Pirates an early comfortable 3-0 lead.
Starling Marte led off the 3rd inning by reaching on an error, stealing second base, and advancing to third on another error. Unfortunately, he was left at third base after two strikeouts and a flyout. That’s OK, though, the Pirates came right back in the 4th. Neil Walker came to bat with one out and homered to center, making the score 4-0.
There isn’t much to say about the Brewers’ offense through the first 6 innings. Locke pitched all of those and gave up just 3 hits and 3 walks, zero runs, as he struck out 7 Brewers. “Doesn’t surprise me,” Pedro said. “He’s been pitching really well. For as long as I’ve played with him, that’s what he’s done. He did a great job today of coming after guys and using his defense.” Locke said he didn’t think about the Pirates’ Miller Park statistics; he just approached this start as he would approach any other.
Justin Wilson came in to pitch the 7th inning, and I guess he remembered he was at Miller Park. He gave up a homerun to Carlos Gomez, the first batter he faced. It was the first homerun Wilson has given up in his Major League career. He settled right down after that though, getting two quick outs and striking out pinch-hitter Jeff Bianchi to end the inning. Mark Melancon pitched a perfect 8th inning, striking out Ryan Braun to end that one.
Fiers lasted just four innings, and the Brewers used the combination of Tom Gorzelanny, Burke Badenhop, and John Axford to throw four scoreless innings of relief before Alfredo Figaro took over in the 9th inning. Pedro Alvarez led off the 9th and hammered another ball to right for his second homerun of the game. Viewers at home didn’t see the ball land. “That’s what always gets you fired up about Pedro, the ability to shrink a ballpark,” Clint Hurdle said.
“Sometimes it gives you confidence that all you gotta do is put a good swing on the ball,” Pedro said.
Tony Watson pitched the 9th and gave up one run on a two-out homer by Gomez, his second homerun of the game. Watson then got Rickie Weeks to fly out to center field, and the game was over.
The Pirates earned a rare win in Miller Park with a few homeruns and some beautiful pitching. Tomorrow is the rubber match of the series. Yes, a rubber match at Miller Park. Wandy Rodriguez (5-2, 3.40 ERA) will start for the Bucs and face Yovano Gallardo (3-4, 4.50 ERA).