Bush will try earn his first career win in Pittsburgh, and the NL Central-leading Brewers look for back-to-back wins at PNC Park as they close out a three-game series with the Pirates on Wednesday.
Milwaukee (74-70) defeated Pittsburgh 6-1 on Tuesday night, and the victory — combined with Chicago’s 5-4 loss in 11 innings to Houston—moved the Brewers one game ahead of the Cubs in the division race. While chasing their first postseason berth since winning the AL pennant in 1982, the Brewers are not scheduled to face Chicago again in their final 18 games.
For Milwaukee to increase its division lead, though, it will need to build off only its 20th win in 61 games all-time at Pittsburgh’s waterfront ballpark since it opened in 2001.
“This was a big game, for us to win here,” Milwaukee manager Ned Yost said.
Prince Fielder hit his NL-leading 44th homer to give the Brewers a 1-0 lead in the fourth inning, leaving him one short of the franchise record set by Gorman Thomas in 1979 and matched by Richie Sexson in 2001 and again in 2003. Corey Hart also homered for the Brewers, who are 66-49 when going deep.
“Whenever we score first, we’re pretty good,” Fielder said. “That was pretty good, to get ahead first and try to get something started from there.”
Bush (11-10, 5.25 ERA) will be making his 100th career start—and has to try and forget how poorly he pitched in his previous one. Facing Cincinnati on Friday, the right-hander faced 12 batters in one-plus inning and was tagged for eight runs and nine hits in an 11-4 loss.
“It was not a good time for a bad start,” said Bush, whose ERA increased by almost half a run. “We got in a pretty big hole early on. There were a couple of mistakes in there, but not eight runs worth.”
As he tries to match his single-season high for wins set last year, Bush is 0-1 with a 3.75 in two career starts at PNC Park.
Nate McLouth’s RBI double in the seventh inning helped the Pirates (64-81) avoid being shut out for the 11th time this year, but clinched their 15th consecutive non-winning season.
“We’ll come back here tomorrow and see if we can’t do what we just did to the Chicago Cubs, and that’s win another series,” Pittsburgh manager Jim Tracy told the Pirates’ official Web site. Pittsburgh rolled 9-0 in the series opener on Monday.
Ace Tom Gorzelanny (14-7, 3.48) will try to continue his recent stretch of strong pitching for Pittsburgh. Beginning with a win on Aug. 7 at Arizona, the left-hander is 5-1 with a 3.27 ERA in seven starts, allowing two runs or less in four of them.
He won his third straight decision Friday after holding the Cubs to one run and six hits in seven innings of a 6-1 victory—one day after the Pirates’ 16-4 loss to St. Louis.
“We’re the type of team that is not going to just fold over and fall down and die,” Gorzelanny said. “We get beat up, but we’re going to stand tall and go back out there the next day. We all went out there with an attitude and played well.”
His strong effort followed a poor one on Sept. 2 in Milwaukee, where he was lifted after four innings but didn’t get a decision in Pittsburgh’s 7-4 loss
Gorzelanny will be trying to win three straight home starts for the first time in his three-year career. He earned his first win in three appearances, including two starts, versus Milwaukee at PNC Park on July 5.