The Brewers didn't steal this game. But they stole enough of it to earn a win.
The Pirates allowed a season high seven stolen bases in a 6-0 loss to the Brewers tonight at PNC Park.
It was the fifth consecutive loss against the Brewers (75-72) who have once again overtaken the Pirates (74-73) for third place in the National League Central.
Three of the Brewers' base stealers eventually scored in the ugliest night of a bad season behind the plate for Pirates. The Pirates have caught 14 runners stealing in 151 attempts -- a 9.27 percent caught stealing rate. No Milwaukee runner was caught stealing Tuesday.
The Pirates' previous season high for stolen bases allowed was four, set four times this season. The seven stolen bases allowed was one shy of a club record set in 1990.
Ryan Braun stole three bases -- taking second every time he reached base. He earned M-V-P chants from a small, but vocal, group of Brewers fans in attendance. Andrew McCutchen, the Pirates' MVP candidate, went 0 for 4.
Rod Barajas allowed six stolen bases. Michael McKenry, who replaced him behind the plate in the eighth inning, allowed the other. But the pitching staff deserves a share of the blame, too, for its sometimes deliberate movement to the plate with runners on.
The Brewers pounded 13 hits against the Pirates -- all singles.
Pirates starter A.J. Burnett took the loss, allowing two earned runs on seven hits in six innings. He struggled with his command throughout the game, allowing two walks, throwing a wild pitch and hitting two batters. He recorded only one 1-2-3 inning in the outing and has been stuck on 15 wins since Aug. 16.
Yovani Gallardo earned the win for Milwaukee, allowing two hits over 6 2/3 scoreless innings. It was his 16th victory of the season, and he has not lost a decision since July 26.
He took command of the game after the second inning. He retired 14 consecutive batters between the second and seventh innings and did not allow his second hit of the game until Neil Walker singled to centerfield with one out in the seventh.
The Pirates had a chance to break back into the game in the seventh inning, loading the bases with two outs. But Milwaukee reliever Jim Henderson got McKenry, a pinch-hitter, to pop out to second and end the inning.
Ryan Braun drove in his 104th run of the season in the seventh inning, a single to centerfield that scored Rickie Weeks from second. After stealing second, Braun scored when Jonathan Lucroy hit a grounder that rolled under Clint Barmes' glove, an RBI single that made it 4-0 Milwaukee.
The Brewers doubled their lead in the sixth inning with a play at the plate. With Lucroy on second, Jean Segura hit a ground ball single up the middle of the infield. McCutchen fired home with a throw that might have beat Lucroy at the plate. But the ball bounced high, and as Barajas tried to make a quick move from catch to tag, the ball skipped off the top of his glove, allowing Lucroy to safely score.
The Pirates mounted a two-out rally in the second inning. Pedro Alvarez drew a walk, Barmes singled, and Barajas drew a walk to load the bases. But Burnett couldn't help his own cause, grounding out to second base to strand three baserunners.
The Brewers grabbed a 1-0 lead in the second inning, capitalizing on some of Burnett's early command issues. Travis Ishikawa reached first after being hit by a pitch, advanced to second on a single by Carlos Gomez and moved to third when Burnett walked Segura.
With the bases loaded, Norichika Aoki ripped a single through the left side of the infield that scored Ishikawa. Burnett escaped further damage by striking out Rickie Weeks and getting Ryan Braun to ground into a fielder's choice. But he threw 24 pitches in the inning.
Burnett got off to a rough start, hitting one batter, walking another and throwing a wild pitch in the first inning. He also drove up his pitch count early, throwing 27 first-inning pitches. He finished the game having thrown 94 pitches, 41 of them balls.
Michael Sanserino: email@example.com, 412-263-1722 or on Twitter @msanserino. First Published September 19, 2012 2:00 AM