MILWAUKEE -- The Pirates had a tough time putting the ball in play at times Saturday night, much less reaching base. When the Milwaukee Brewers opened the door slightly with defensive mistakes, though, the Pirates pounced.
Two errors and a passed ball in the seventh inning allowed the Pirates to come from behind and defeat the Brewers, 6-4, at Miller Park Saturday.
Pinch-hitter Josh Harrison's sacrifice bunt forced an error that allowed the tying run to score in the seventh. Clint Barmes singled, then took second on an error by Ryan Braun as he fielded the ball. Barmes went to third on Harrison's bunt and scored when Brewers pitcher Kameron Loe threw the ball wide of first base, tying the game at 4-4.
Harrison has had trouble laying down bunts in recent weeks but placed a perfect one in between the mound and the third-base line.
Harrison was running on the pitch to Neil Walker and went to third when Walker singled. He scored standing up when Martin Maldonado allowed Loe's pitch to Andrew McCutchen to bounce away.
The Brewers had a chance in the eighth against Jason Grilli, putting two men on with one out, but Grilli struck out Rickie Weeks. Maldonado lined a ball to the gap in left-center field, but McCutchen made a sliding catch to end the inning.
Casey McGehee's seventh home run, off Tyler Thornburg in the eighth, added the extra cushion. McGehee went 3 for 5, one night after going 0 for 5 with four strikeouts.
Brewers starter Marco Estrada struck out 11 Pirates, one shy of his career high, over 5 2/3 innings. He allowed three runs on six hits, three of them in the sixth inning that led to his removal.
He struck out the first three batters of the game, five of the first eight and the final batter he faced, Pedro Alvarez, who watched a breaking ball for strike three with runners on second and third in the sixth inning. Six of the 11 strikeouts were looking.
Kevin Correia improved as the game went on. He pitched six innings and allowed four runs, two earned, on four hits. He threw 23 pitches in the second inning, but his pitch count decreased in each inning after that. He retired the final 11 batters he faced.
Consecutive singles from Garrett Jones and McGehee put men on first and third with no outs in the second inning, but Estrada struck out two batters and got Barmes to pop up and end the inning.
Three extra-base hits gave the Brewers a 2-0 lead in the second. Aramis Ramirez doubled and scored when Corey Hart roped a ball into the right-field corner. By the time Jones got the ball in, Hart was on his way to third, and he narrowly beat the relay throw for a triple. Weeks' groundout scored Hart.
McCutchen tied the game in the third with his 20th home run, an opposite-field shot that scored Walker.
Two runs in the bottom of the third gave the Brewers a 4-2 lead. Norichika Aoki singled and Braun walked. Alvarez could not handle Ramirez's ground ball, which skittered into left field, allowing Aoki to score and Braun to reach third. Hart's sacrifice fly scored Braun.
McGehee cut the lead to one in the sixth. Walker reached on an infield single to extend his hitting streak to 14 games. A Jones single put men on first and second, and McGehee singled to center, scoring Walker and putting runners on second and third after he and Jones both advanced on throws.
Alvarez struck out, and Loe replaced Estrada. He got Michael McKenry to fly out and end the inning.
Bill Brink: firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter @BrinkPG. First Published July 15, 2012 2:45 AM