Brewers 6, Pirates 4

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PITTSBURGH (AP)—Scott Podsednik hadn’t homered in nearly three months, so he certainly wasn’t looking to go deep even with the Milwaukee Brewers down by a run in the ninth inning.

That didn’t prevent Podsednik from hitting a go-ahead three-run shot—his fourth hit of the game—as the Brewers took advantage of Pittsburgh’s trade-depleted bullpen to beat the Pirates 6-4 Saturday.

“Hitting a home run was the last thing on my mind,” Podsednik said. “If I hit one, it’s an accident.”

It’s no accident when the Pirates’ bullpen fails to hold a lead.

Pittsburgh led 4-3 on Reggie Sanders’ solo homer in the seventh, but a bullpen that has struggled since the team traded former closer Mike Williams and top setup man Scott Sauerbeck last month again couldn’t finish off a potential victory.

With Mike Lincoln on to start the ninth, third baseman Jose Hernandez misplayed pinch-hitter Eric Young’s grounder, and pinch-hitter Brooks Kieschnick walked with one out.

Joe Beimel, 0-for-5 in save opportunities, came on to try to get the final two outs for his first save, but Podsednik hit an 0-1 pitch into the seats in right-center for his fourth homer and first since May 19 against San Diego.

It also was his first against a left-hander this season. He went 4-for-5 with a double and four RBIs.

“He’s a little guy and usually you can get those guys out pitching up in the strike zone,” Beimel said. “What hurt me was I left it over the plate. I wanted to go outside on him—down and in usually is the strength of every left-handed hitter—but I didn’t get it far enough outside.”

The Pirates have been unable to find a replacement for Williams since dealing him nearly a month ago; Lincoln (1-3) has blown three saves in eight opportunities, Beimel is 0-for-5 and Brian Boehringer is 0-for-2.

“It never feels good giving up the winning run,” said Beimel, who usually pitches in the middle to late innings and not the ninth. “All I can do is go home, drink a beer, watch the Steelers and try to forget about it.”

The Brewers have been a forgettable team most of the season, but Podsednik is making a push for the Rookie of the Year Award with a .305 average, four homers, 32 RBIs and 25 stolen bases.

“I try not to think about it,” he said. “You can’t get caught up in individual awards.”

The Brewers avoided their 10th loss in 14 games with the comeback in the ninth—their sixth victory in the 67 games they’ve trailed after eight innings.

Luis Vizcaino (3-3) got the victory by pitching a scoreless eighth, and Danny Kolb worked the ninth for his eighth save in eight opportunities.

Kolb retired pinch-hitter Matt Stairs with the bases loaded to end it after walking two batters and giving up Jason Kendall’s single. Before Saturday, Kolb had walked only nine in 25 innings.

“When you’re throwing 97-98 mph, you can make a few mistakes,” Brewers manager Ned Yost said. “He was rushing it up there pretty good.”

Milwaukee starter Doug Davis limited the Pirates to two runs and six hits over six innings in his NL debut, but Pittsburgh scored twice in the seventh against reliever Valerio De Los Santos after singles by Tike Redman and Kendall.

Brian Giles hit into a run-scoring double play ahead of Sanders’ team-high 26th homer and 10th in 21 games. He has 11 multihit games during that span with 23 RBIs.

Sanders was rumored in deals just before the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline, but stayed in Pittsburgh—even though former teammates Kenny Lofton, Aramis Ramirez and Jeff Suppan were dealt.

With Giles not hitting for power the way he did in previous seasons following a knee injury—he has 15 homers, fewer than half as many as he had each of the last four seasons—Sanders has largely carried the Pirates’ offense since the All-Star break.

Sanders also doubled in the sixth but was stranded when Hernandez flied out with runners on second and third.

Pirates starter Kip Wells gave up eight hits and three runs over seven innings.

The Brewers opened a 2-0 lead—the Pirates’ opponent has scored first in seven of their last eight games—on run-scoring singles by Royce Clayton in the second and Geoff Jenkins in the third. Hernandez’s 13th homer, a two-rundrive, tied it in the fourth.


Clayton walked, stole second and scored on Podsednik’s double in the seventh to briefly put Milwaukee up 3-2. … The Pirates lost their fourth in six games. … The Brewers are Davis’ third team this season. He started withTexas, then went to Toronto, where he was 4-6 in 11 starts.

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