Brewers 4, Pirates 2
MILWAUKEE (AP)—Doug Davis was relieved in more ways than one.
The lefty thought a line drive had fractured his arm and ended his season. After X-rays proved otherwise, he watched from the dugout as the Milwaukee Brewers snapped a 12-game losing streak and avoided their worst month in franchise history with a 4-2 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates on Tuesday night.
“It’s all over with,” Davis said.
His worries and the losing streak, which was two shy of the franchise futility record.
“Like I told them after the game, ‘That’s over. Let’s move on to bigger and better things,”’ Milwaukee manager Ned Yost said. “It is a big burden that you carry every day. … You’re getting these sympathy phone calls every day, people telling you, ‘Hang in there, you’re all right.’
“So, I’m glad that’s over. No more sympathy phone calls.”
Geoff Jenkins’ two-run double highlighted a four-run first inning off rookie right-hander John Van Benschoten, and Milwaukee’s beleaguered bullpen turned in a solid performance after Davis was knocked out in the second inning with a bruised forearm.
The Brewers went 6-21 in August, barely avoiding their worst month in franchise history (6-22 by the Seattle Pilots in August 1969). Still, it was their worst month since moving to Milwaukee in 1970, displacing the 6-20 mark from July 2001.
Matt Wise (1-1) pitched 3 2-3 scoreless innings for his first win since April 6, 2001, when he was with Anaheim. Pedro Liriano and Luis Vizcaino each pitched scoreless innings, and Dan Kolb pitched the ninth for his 35th save in 38 chances.
Davis was hit on his pitching arm by a line drive off Tike Redman’s bat in the second inning and had to leave the game. He said it was black and blue immediately and the medical staff thought he had a fracture until X-rays revealed otherwise.
“I’m just glad it was the smallest guy on the team,” Davis said. “And you guys can put that in the paper. I’m friends with Tike, so that will be all right.”
Davis said he was confident he’ll miss one start at the most.
Van Benschoten (0-2) walked his first three batters and allowed four runs in the first inning of his third career big league start. Russell Branyan then lined a 3-0 fastball over second base for an RBI single.
“He missed the (take) sign,” Yost said. “The guy’s thrown two strikes up to that point, but it worked out, so it’s OK. If he’d hit into a double play it would have been another matter. But, no, he didn’t have a green light.”
Jenkins was on deck when Branyan swung at 3-and-0 and his first thought was “please get to the outfield,” he said.
When it did, Jenkins said it was a sign that the Brewers’ luck might finally be changing.
Jenkins followed with a two-run double and Keith Ginter added a run-scoring single, his first hit since July 23. He missed more than a month with a wrist injury.
Van Benschoten allowed four earned runs on five hits in five innings. He walked six and struck out five.
“He did struggle,” Pirates manager Lloyd McClendon said. “When you walk the first three batters, it’s tough. He settled down and threw the ball pretty darn good after that. He put us behind the 8-ball early.”
Van Benschoten said he settled down after taking a deep breath.
“I’m just thinking too much,” he said. “My head is going a million miles a second. All I needed to do was just slow down. It was just a quick fix.”
But a tad too late.
Davis was also relieved for monetary reasons. He needs to make four more starts in September to guarantee a $300,000 bonus on top of his $2,050,000 base salary in 2005. Davis leads the NL with 29 starts and has never missed a start in either the major or minor leagues. … Milwaukee CF Scott Podsednik swiped second base in the first inning, becoming the second Brewer to steal 50 bases in a season. Pat Listach stole 54 bases en route to winning AL Rookie of the Year honors in 1992. Podsednik stole his 51st in the second inning. … The Brewers’ franchise record is 14 straight losses from May 11-25, 1994. … Kolb hadn’t had a save since Aug. 17 against the Cubs.