Milwaukee catcher Eddie Perez’s two-base throwing error and Simon’s alert base running set up Pittsburgh’s three-run sixth inning and Matt Stairs hit a three-run homer, leading the Pirates past the Brewers 6-3 Friday night.
“Randall Simon never let up and we got a big inning out of it,” Jack Wilson said.
It was a winning night all around for the Pirates, whose racing pierogies easily beat the sausages during a match race before the sixth inning. Simon, fined by major league baseball and local police for rapping one of the sausages with his bat last month in Milwaukee, was warming up on the field and did not watch.
In a remarkable twist, Brewers pitcher Matt Kinney hit Simon on the right forearm with a pitch shortly after play resumed following the race. Simon winced in pain but stayed in the game.
The inning before, Simon’s observant base running play helped create the Pirates’ go-ahead inning.
Simon and Jose Hernandez singled to start the fifth against Kinney (7-9). Wilson, attempting to advance the runners, put down a bunt that traveled only a few feet up the first base line.
Wilson initially thought the ball would spin fair and stayed in the batter’s box, only to start running just after Perez grabbed the ball as it touched the foul line chalk.
Perez tried to throw out Simon at third, but the ball deflected off third baseman Keith Ginter’s glove and into left field, scoring Simon and advancing Hernandez to third and Wilson to second. Pinch-hitter Carlos Rivera’s groundout scored Hernandez and Wilson came home on Jason Kendall’s sacrifice fly.
“I was running the whole way, in case it comes back fair. I’ve seen that a lot this year—the ball looks like it’s going to go foul but it comes back,” Simon said. “You always want to be aggressive. … It set up a great inning for us.”
Wilson may have unintentionally affected Perez’s throw and, if he did, he said, “It’s great. I had to get around him somehow and I wasn’t going to go behind him.”
“Eddie looked up and saw he had to hurry the throw because the runners broke and it just tipped Ginter’s glove,” Brewers manager Ned Yost said. “When it happens that quick, you (assume) the base runners are doing the same thing as the batter, but they’re going.”
Kinney said, “The bunt stayed right on the line, but it ended up turning into a big play. It caught us all by surprise, I think.”
Pirates manager Lloyd McClendon credited Wilson with hurrying on to second, putting him in position to score later in the inning.
“That was heads-up base running,” he said.
Stairs, a former Brewers player, hit his 15th homer—an opposite-field shot off the left-field foul pole—following Abraham Nunez’s two-out single and Giles’ walk in the seventh by reliever Mike DeJean.
Figueroa, another former Brewers player just up from Triple-A Nashville, lasted five innings, giving up six hits and two earned runs for the victory. He has allowed four runs in 11 innings in his two Pittsburgh starts.
Kinney took the loss despite giving up only one earned run in 5 2-3 innings. He has won only once in eight appearances, with two losses and fiveno-decisions.
Figueroa made 11 starts for Milwaukee last season. … Pittsburgh is 6-6 against the Brewers after winning 15 of 19 from them last season. … The Pirates’ opponent scored the first run for the sixth time in seven games. The Pirates are 6-6 in those six games. … The sausages and pierogies will racenext Friday in Milwaukee.