Marte's HR keys 4-run 8th as Pirates beat Brewers
MILWAUKEE With the way John Axford has been pitching lately, Milwaukee manager Ron Roenicke did not like when fans booed him off the field
“I don’t think it’s necessarily fair,” Roenicke said. “This guy’s been pitching really well for us. I still obviously like him a lot. I think every time I put him out there, I think he’s going to do a good job.”
Starling Marte hit a tying two-run homer in the eighth inning and Brandon Inge had a go-ahead RBI single off Axford to rally Pittsburgh to a 6-4 victory over Milwaukee on Wednesday, snapping the Pirates’ nine-game losing streak against the Brewers.
Pedro Alvarez, who homered earlier in the game, added a run-scoring single to cap a four-run eighth as Pittsburgh won for the 10th time in its last 15 games and ended Milwaukee’s eight-game home winning streak.
“I think the way we’ve been playing, I think everybody still feels good about what’s going on,” Roenicke said. “It’s always hard when you have the lead in the late innings and you give it up. Those things happen. We bounce back.”
Axford (0-3) gave up all four runs while getting just two outs in the eighth for the Brewers, who were 11-0 when leading after seven innings. The right-hander had allowed just one earned run in his last eight appearances.
“He’s been pitching well,” Roenicke said. “It was one of those games.”
Axford, removed as the Brewers’ closer earlier this season, replaced starter Hiram Burgos to start the eighth leading 4-2, and gave up a broken-bat, infield single to pinch-hitter Travis Snider.
Marte followed with his two-run homer to left-center on a low fastball, his third of the season and second in two days, to tie the score.
Jose Tabata singled and stole second two outs later. He injured his left leg on the slide and was replaced by James McDonald.
McDonald scored the tiebreaking run when Inge blooped a single over the head of second baseman Rickie Weeks, who inadvertently kicked the ball toward the outfield for a two-base error that allowed Inge to advance to third.
Axford was loudly booed when he was replaced by Michael Gonzalez, who quickly allowed a single to Alvarez to put the Pirates up 6-4.
“All four of the pitches that were hits appeared to be out of the zone,” Axford said. “In all honesty, I went back and looked at the tape of them, too. The one to Marte was on the plate, but it was below his knees. It was down and I even had a little bit of a run on it.”
Bryan Morris (1-1) got the last two outs of the seventh when Ryan Braun hit into a double play for his first career victory. Mark Melancon pitched the eighth and Jason Grilli the ninth for his 11th save in 11 opportunities.
“Last night I walked away from the game with my first major league loss,” Morris said. “And today I throw two pitches and get the win. It is a good feeling. Hopefully there is more to come.”
In the seventh, Pittsburgh’s Michael McKenry hit a solo homer to right-center off of Burgos to trim Milwaukee’s lead to 3-2. The Pirates have hit 11 homers in the last four games.
Burgos allowed four hits and two earned runs in seven innings. The right-handed rookie struck out six and walked one.
The Brewers regained their two-run lead in the bottom of the seventh on Jean Segura’s run-scoring single.
Milwaukee took a 3-1 lead in the fourth on consecutive solo homers by Carlos Gomez and Yuniesky Betancourt.
Braun had an RBI single in the first to put the Brewers up 1-0.
Alvarez’s fifth homer, a solo shot in the second, tied the score.
Pittsburgh’s Jeanmar Gomez made his first start of the season after five relief appearances. The right-hander threw four innings and allowed four hits and three runs—two earned—to go with three strikeouts and two walks.
Gomez replaced left-hander Jonathan Sanchez in the rotation after he was moved to the bullpen Monday with an 0-3 record and 11.85 ERA. On Tuesday, Sanchez was designated for assignment.