Late slam clears bases ... and seats as Brewers slam Pirates
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MILWAUKEE -- Cody Ransom sent many of the 35,025 in attendance at Miller Park Friday night rushing for the exits.
Ransom's grand slam in the eighth inning off Tony Watson broke a tie and gave the Milwaukee Brewers a 10-7 win against the Pirates in the first game after the All-Star break.
Ryan Braun and Aramis Ramirez singled with one out in the eighth. Watson struck out Corey Hart, but Braun and Ramirez executed a double steal. With first base open, Watson intentionally walked Rickie Weeks, who entered the game hitting .199, to reach Ransom, who was hitting .214.
Ransom homered into the netting above the bullpen in left field, clearing the bases and flooding the aisles in the stands.
"[Weeks has] been swinging the bat better," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. "Historically he's been really good against left-handed pitching."
Weeks gains about 20 batting average points and 60 points in on-base percentage against left-handers in his career.
Watson (4-1) was the loser. He threw 35 pitches in one inning, allowing four runs on three hits along with the intentional walk and a strikeout.
"He came in throwing as hard as he's thrown all year," Hurdle said. "It's not like he tailed off or fatigued.
"He arguably has been one of our best guys at getting right-handers out. He just made a bad pitch."
Game: Pirates at Brewers, 7:10 p.m., Miller Park.
TV, Radio: Root Sports, KDKA-FM (93.7).
Probables: RHP Kevin Correia (5-6, 4.34) vs. RHP Marco Estrada (0-3, 4.06).
Key matchup: Correia vs. Ryan Braun, who is 8 for 26 with four extra-base hits against him.
Hidden stat: Estrada has a 4.50 ERA as a starter and a 2.00 ERA out of the bullpen this season.
The Brewers claimed Ransom off waivers from the Arizona Diamondbacks May 23. He began the season in the minor leagues before the Diamondbacks called him up April 18.
The loss, coupled with the Cincinnati Reds' defeat of the St. Louis Cardinals, dropped the Pirates into a tie for first place in the National League Central Division with the Reds.
Though Ransom delivered the fatal blow, Braun caused a good deal of damage. He went 4 for 4 with two home runs, part of an offensive barrage that had 15 hits. Eight of them came against starter James McDonald, who allowed five runs, four earned, in 42/3 innings. He walked five and struck out two.
"Pretty much everything was sloppy [Friday]," McDonald said. "Things weren't good."
He has walked five batters in two of his past three starts after not walking more than three in any of his previous starts. He threw 63 of his 109 pitches for strikes.
"I just didn't throw the ball well," he said. "When you walk five guys, the majority of the time, it's not going go be good results."
Brewers starter Zack Greinke struggled as well. He pitched five innings and allowed six runs, five earned, on seven hits. He allowed two home runs, a three-run shot by Neil Walker that gave the Pirates the lead and a solo shot from Pedro Alvarez.
Walker extended his hitting streak to 13 games with his homer in the fourth. He is hitting .471 with eight doubles in the streak. Andrew McCutchen smoked his 19th homer in the ninth off John Axford. He went 3 for 4 and is hitting .367.
McDonald endured a rough first inning. He got two quick outs before Braun homered, his 25th of the season. McDonald then walked Aramis Ramirez and allowed a single to Corey Hart before Weeks doubled. Drew Sutton bobbled the ball in left field, and both runners scored to give the Brewers a 3-0 lead.
The Pirates had 10 hits, but only one combined from Garrett Jones and Casey McGehee.
"We could have used a little more production in the middle, from four and five [in the order]," Hurdle said.
"We've got to pitch better. We know that. These guys are human beings. We had a hiccup off the mound tonight."
• Game: Pirates (Correia 5-6) vs. Brewers (Estrada 0-3), 7:05 p.m.
• Where: Miller Park, Milwaukee.
• TV: Root.
First Published July 14, 2012 1:43 am