MILWAUKEE — They say crazy things happen when the Pirates visit the Brewers.
And Saturday night in front of a sellout of 42,828 at Miller Park, what transpired certainly qualifies.
Jonathan Lucroy singled in Ryan Braun in the bottom of the eighth to secure a 3-2 win for the Brewers, but not before another wild inning by the Pirates, who rolled the dice on a risky play that panned out in a game last year.
In the top of the eighth, the Pirates had runners on the corners and tried to tag up from third on a foul-ball pop up behind home plate, but did not score this time.
“First and third in certain situations, we’re going to try to steal a run here,” said manager Clint Hurdle. “It [had] been a crazy game. We gifted them a run. Seemed like a good opportunity to catch them off guard. We didn’t.”
Andrew McCutchen was at the plate with one out and runners on the corners. He popped up to the catcher and Travis Snider tried to tag up for second and induce a rundown as Starling Marte broke for home from third.
Lucroy, the catcher, threw to second to try to get Snider, but shortstop Jean Segura cut it off and threw home where Marte was tagged out.
Marte was not tagged out by Lucroy, but by reliever Jim Henderson, who initially appeared to be blocking the plate.
Hurdle, who went out to argue the play, said he did not ask for a review.
“When the guy is clearly out, it doesn’t make much sense to review it,” Hurdle said. “It’s a play we have in place that we work on all spring that won us a ballgame last year. We tag at first, draw the throw to second and send the runner for third once the ball is out of the hand … Marte breaks on the throw. They had to make a baseball play. We tried to steal a run. … The pitcher did not block the plate.”
A year ago, the Pirates beat Houston on a similar play.
“We took the risk. Weren’t able to make the play, but it was 50-50,” McCutchen said. “You’ve got your chip on red or black and have a 50-50 chance of winning it or losing it. That’s the chance we took.”
The Pirates got 61⁄3 innings in another strong start by Edinson Volquez, who gave up four hits and two runs (one earned). He struck out four, walked two, gave up a home run and threw a wild pitch.
“It was another outstanding body of work,” Hurdle said. “He pitched out of some jams, good mix of pitches, really battled the right-handed power. We put him in peril and sent him back out again. Real good outing.”
Mark Melancon was the loser, giving up three hits and the winning run in the eighth.
The Brewers were set up for the win in the seventh when Khris Davis reached to open the inning on a deep fly ball to center that McCutchen tracked down but dropped.
Volquez walked Mark Reynolds and made a nice play on a sacrifice bunt by Scooter Gennett, but that moved two runners into scoring position and ended Volquez’s outing at 93 pitches.
Left-hander Tony Watson came in and induced a fly ball, then got Carlos Gomez to ground out to end the inning.
Brewers starter Yovani Gallardo was building himself a nice scoreless streak, which ended at 142⁄3 innings when the Pirates tied it in the third, 2-2.
The inning started with a double by Travis Ishikawa, a single by Mercer and a sacrifice bunt by Volquez that advanced Mercer.
A groundout by Marte scored Ishikawa and a single by Snider scored Mercer.
The Brewers took an early lead when Carlos Gomez crushed a 94-mph 4-seam fastball off the batter’s eye to lead off the game.
It was on a 1-1 pitch and followed a changeup out of the zone and sinker that Gomez popped up and out of play.
“Made a lot of good pitches, stayed deep in the game and give us a chance to win,” said Volquez, who added that the pitch to Gomez was supposed to go down and away and came back up the middle. “He’s a great hitter. That’s why he’s a leadoff guy. [But I] stayed in the game and made better pitches.”
Volquez settled quickly.
The Brewers went ahead, 2-0, when he gave up an unearned run in the second inning.
He had runners on the corners and a 1-2 count when he threw a wild pitch that allowed Davis to score from third with two outs.
Davis had reached on a grounder that was bobbled by Pedro Alvarez and then advanced on a single Gennett.
Jenn Menendez: firstname.lastname@example.org and Twitter @JennMenendez
Jenn Menendez: email@example.com and Twitter @JennMenendez First Published April 12, 2014 10:14 PM