Pirates 5, Brewers 2, 10 innings
MILWAUKEE (AP)—The Milwaukee Brewers were one out away from beating a team on consecutive nights for the first time in almost two months. Pittsburgh Pirates manager Lloyd McClendon wasn’t sweating it—he still had his best bat available.
McClendon sent up pinch-hitter Craig Wilson—his cleanup hitter who was supposed to be taking the night off—with two outs in the ninth and Wilson didn’t disappoint, hitting a solo homer to tie it at 2-all. The Pirates rallied for three runs in the 10th for a 5-2 victory over the Brewers.
It was Wilson’s 10th career pinch homer, extending the franchise record.
“Willy came up big for us,” McClendon said. “We were down to the last out and it was reminiscent of 2002 when he hit seven of those things. He’s quite remarkable coming off the bench.”
And Dan Kolb has been quite remarkable coming out of the bullpen.
He had converted 35 of 38 save opportunities and was one out away from moving within one save of the franchise record set by Bob Wickman in 1999 when Wilson sent a 1-0 fastball over the left field wall for his 26th homer.
“It was a bad pitch. I threw it down the middle of the plate and he hit it out of the park,” Kolb said. “It’s kind of funny; the only strike I threw that inning got hit out of the park. I’m going to get about three hours’ sleep. I don’t take these things very well.
“And not for me. It’s for Victor Santos,” who would have been the winning pitcher.
Wilson said he was looking for a fastball: “It’s his best pitch.”
And he wasn’t bedeviled by the situation, either.
“I know what it’s like (pinch-hitting),” he said. “I did it a lot my first two years and you just have to be ready to rip it anytime.”
Ty Wigginton’s two-out infield single drove home the go-ahead run in the top of the 10th off rookie Jeff Bennett, who had loaded the bases by giving up Jack Wilson’s leadoff single and walking Daryle Ward and Rob Mackowiak. Jose Castillo followed with a two-run double.
Bennett (1-5), whom the Brewers plucked from the Pirates’ organization in the winter meeting draft last winter, is 0-2 with a 12.80 ERA against his former team.
He drew the wrath of manager Ned Yost for his wildness. Yost went out to the mound when Bennett went 2-and-0 on Ward and told him to throw strikes and he’d get the win.
“It’s a situation where you’re pitching against the organization that you came up with and you want to really impress right there,” Yost said. “You want to stay on the attack, stay aggressive and go right after them. That didn’t really happen.”
Bennett was inconsolable when he finally met with reporters more than 45 minutes after the game.
“I know tomorrow is another day, but I just feel like I let the team down. Any time you get a loss like that, it just weighs hard on my shoulders,” Bennett said. “With the walks, I was looking at a spot, trying to throw it right there and it wasn’t going there.”
The Brewers, who snapped a 12-game losing streak Tuesday night, have not won back-to-back home games since sweeping the Chicago Cubs July 5-7. That’s also the last time they’ve beaten the same team two games in a row.
Scott Podsednik and Gary Bennett each atoned for earlier blunders when they put the Brewers ahead 2-1 in the fifth. Bennett singled, advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt and scored on Podsednik’s single.
In the third, Bennett trotted to first as he watched his fly ball hit the wall in right-center field, then slowed again on his way to second, figuring right fielder Mackowiak’s throw would be cut off. It wasn’t and he was out by a step.
Podsednik misplayed Ward’s RBI double to center that gave Pittsburgh a 1-0 lead in the fourth.
SS Craig Counsell returned to the Brewers’ lineup after a day off but went 0-for-4, extending his hitless streak to 25 at-bats. … OF Dave Krynzel struck out as a pinch-hitter in the 10th in his major league debut for Milwaukee. … Pirates LHP Dave Williams was activated from the 15-day DL (ribs) and will start Thursday against the Brewers.