Brewers prolong Pirates’ Milwaukee woes
MILWAUKEE — Runners on second and third, nobody out.
It’s a situation that makes hitters drool, and one that should more often than not produce a run or two.
Lately, however, the Pirates have turned that scenario into just another way to ramp up their frustration.
Sunday, the Pirates blew that prime scoring chance in the second inning — their second such failure in a three-game span — and fell flat, 4-1, against the Milwaukee Brewers.
“Today was an embarrassment to our offense,” third baseman Andy LaRoche said. “One or two guys hit the ball well. It’s frustrating. When they’re giving us runs, we have to get them in.”
The Pirates were swept for the 10th time this season and stretched their mind-bending losing streak at Miller Park to 21 games, which dates to May 3, 2007. They are 53-75, seven defeats from clinching what would be a record 17th straight losing season.
Lastings Milledge, who’s batting .303 since joining the Pirates, bounced a single through the left side to start the second inning. Brandon Moss doubled to right, moving Milledge to third.
Due up to face right-hander Jeff Suppan were the Pirates’ Nos. 7, 8 and 9 hitters, which meant LaRoche was the best bet to manufacture a run.
On the first pitch, LaRoche fouled out to catcher Jason Kendall.
“Young hitters want to do something big there, rather than go with what the situation presents,” manager John Russell said. “We’ll just have to keep working on it.”
Ronny Cedeno, who made his first start in nine days due to a fractured pinky finger, was intentionally walked. Pitcher Ross Ohlendorf grounded into an inning-ending double play.
“That pretty much killed us,” LaRoche said. “If we get one or two in that inning and one or two in the next, which we could’ve easily gotten, it could have been a whole different game.”
The Brewers took the lead in the bottom of the inning on Casey McGehee’s solo homer.
Garrett Jones tied it in the third with a solo blast to right field, his 16th. The Pirates loaded the bases with two outs in the fourth, but Andrew McCutchen grounded out.
In the fifth, the Brewers had runners on second and third with one out and their eighth and ninth batters due up. They scored three runs and took control of the game.
“It was a weird inning,” Ohlendorf said.
McGehee singled, and Kendall squibbed a double down the third base line. Frank Catalanotto was intentionally walked, loading the bases.
Ohlendorf’s 2-2 pitch to Suppan was deemed a bit inside by home plate umpire Damien Beal. The next pitch also missed, and Suppan walked to force in a run.
“That walk is pretty inexcusable on my part,” said Ohlendorf, who did not dispute any of Beal’s ball calls.
Felipe Lopez struck out looking. Craig Counsell slapped a slider away over LaRoche’s outstretched arm for a two-run single.
“It was a pretty good pitch in that situation and he did a pretty good job hitting it,” Ohlendorf said. “It was a pitch I’d gotten him out with before. He made a pretty good adjustment and stayed with it.”
Ohlendorf (11-9) worked six innings and allowed four runs and five hits. He walked two and struck out six.
Suppan (6-8) went six innings and gave up one run on eight hits to win for the first time since June 12. He walked three and struck out one. Trevor Hoffman allowed a leadoff double to Brandon Moss in the ninth but retired the next three batters for his 29th save.
The Pirates hit into four double plays for the first time since June 5, 2007, against Washington.
Brewers second inning (Ross Ohlendorf pitching): With one out, Casey McGehee hit a solo home run (No. 11) to left field on a 1-1 pitch. Brewers 1, Pirates 0
Pirates third (Jeff Suppan pitching): With two outs, Garrett Jones hit a solo homer (No. 16) to right on an 0-1 pitch. Pirates 1 , Brewers 1
Brewers fifth: McGehee singled to center. With one out, Jason Kendall doubled to left, McGehee to third. Frank Catalanotto was intentionally walked, loading the bases. Suppan walked, McGehee scored, Kendall to third. With two outs, Craig Counsell singled to left, Kendall and Catalanotto scored. Brewers 4, Pirates 1