Pirates 8, Brewers 1; Pirates 13, Brewers 2
PITTSBURGH (AP)—That Brian Giles trade is looking more one-sided every day. The surprise is it’s now favoring the Pittsburgh Pirates, thanks to the rapid development of rookies Jason Bay and Oliver Perez,
Bay had an eight-RBI game for the second time in less than a year and the Pirates ran their winning streak to seven by beating the Milwaukee Brewers 13-2 Friday night for a doubleheader sweep.
Tony Alvarez’s grand slam supported another strong start by Perez in the opener, an 8-1 Pirates victory that came after Milwaukee had won five in a row to close within 3 1/2 games of the NL Central lead. The Pirates are on their best spurt since winning eight in a row from Sept. 1-8, 2000.
Bay, acquired with Perez in the Giles trade with San Diego slightly less than a year ago, had three two-run doubles and a two-run homer, matching the eight RBIs he had Sept. 19 against the Cubs.
“Obviously, I thought that would be safe for a while,” Bay said. “I didn’t think I’d drive in eight again. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t think about it (his last time up), but I was six or seven batters away when the inning started, and I didn’t even know if I’d get up.”
Manager Lloyd McClendon said, “I never thought I’d see that again, but he had eight again. It’s pretty impressive. It’s pretty amazing.”
Bay’s big night included a disputed homer off Jeff Bennett in the seventh. Bay’s drive bounced a fan’s hands in the first row of the bleacher seats, and left fielder Geoff Jenkins immediately sought an interference call. The umpires huddled briefly before signaling home run.
After the game, Milkwaukee manager Ned Yost said, “I think they got it right. … If the ball is in the park, it’s fan interference, but if it’s over the fence—and Jenks went over the fence—then it’s a home run.”
Bay had nine RBIs in the doubleheader and is making a push for the NL rookie of the year award with a .299 average, 10 homers and 34 RBIs despite missing the first month of the season after shoulder surgery. His production isn’t that far off what Giles is giving the Padres.
“I’m not trying to replace anybody,” Bay said. “I’m not trying to match Brian Giles number for number. I’m just trying to do what I can do, and it’s nice to see Oliver doing well, too.”
Pirates starter Josh Fogg (6-6) won for the sixth time in eight decisions since an 0-4 start, taking a 6-0 lead into the seventh before leaving after Jenkins’ 11th homer.
In the opener, Jack Wilson hit a two-run inside-the-park homer that was the first at PNC Park since it opened in 2001 and also doubled, giving him an NL-leading 110 hits.
It was the second time this week Wilson circled the bases on an odd play at Pittsburgh, where he turned an apparent double into the game-winning run to beat St. Louis 2-1 Monday. Wilson kept running when he briefly saw second base uncovered and wound up scoring as the Cardinals threw the ball away on what was ruled a triple.
Perez (4-4, 3.22 ERA) struck out 11 in seven innings to outpitch Doug Davis (8-6), who had won four in a row and five of six. Perez developed a blister on his left index finger during the third inning, but held the Brewers to five hits over seven innings.
Perez followed up a 13-strikeout outing in what became a 1-0 Pirates victory Saturday over Cincinnati with his ninth career double-digit strikeout game and fourth this season. He leads NL starting pitchers with an average of 10.9 strikeouts per nine innings.
“He gets it, he really gets it,” McClendon said. “He’s up there with the big boys now.”
Doug Davis was coming off a 5-1 June record, but got himself in trouble by walking five—three in a five-run Pirates third in which all the runs were driven in by J.J. Davis and Alvarez, who had a combined two RBIs this season.
Alvarez homered into the Brewers’ bullpen in center to put Pittsburgh up 5-0—his first homer since his first career shot, Sept. 29, 2002, at Wrigley Field.
“The ball was right in his nitro zone and he hit it out,” Doug Davis said.
Bay is the only Pirates player since Ralph Kiner in 1950 to have an eight-RBI game and the only rookie in the majors with one since Anaheim’s Adam Kennedy on April 18, 2000. … The Pirates have won eight of 10 since dropping 12 of 14. … Pirates starting pitchers have a 2.32 ERA over 66 innings in 10 games. … Milwaukee is 1-6 against Pittsburgh. … The Pirates were 3-12 against left-handed starting pitchers before beating Davis. … The Pirates’ record is nine RBIs by Johnny Rizzo against St. Louis on May 30, 1939. …Pittsburgh also swept the Cubs on May 28.
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