Pirates 14, Brewers 3

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PITTSBURGH (AP)—Sean Casey may not have time to save the Pittsburgh Pirates’ season. In his first game back from a long layoff, he showed how much better their offense might have been if he hadn’t gotten hurt.

Casey had three hits and drove in three runs in his first game since mid-April, and the Pirates bounced back from a difficult loss to beat the Milwaukee Brewers 14-3 on Monday night behind Zach Duke.

“He’s the kind of hitter who could roll out of bed on Christmas morning and hit three line drives to left field,” teammate Jason Bay said. “It’s good to have him back.”

Casey admittedly felt nervous, especially after playing in only five games in PNC Park for his hometown team before injuring his back on a fielding play April 14. He was expected to be out as long as two months, but returned only a couple of days past the six-week mark.

“It felt great, because you feel helpless sitting,” Casey said. “It was good to contribute, and good to contribute to a win.”

Bay’s streak of consecutive games with a homer ended at six as he was the only Pirates starter to not drive in a run, going 1-for-5. He was two games shy of the major league record first set 50 years ago this week by the Pirates’ Dale Long and later tied by Don Mattingly and Ken Griffey Jr.

“The only at-bat I didn’t try to hit a home run was when I singled,” Bay said. “It was the first time during this (streak) I tried to do too much. Maybe now I can get back to normal.”

This wasn’t normal for the Pirates—catcher Ronny Paulino was the only starter who didn’t get any of their 18 hits off four pitchers, a day after they couldn’t hold a four-run lead in the ninth inning of a 5-4, 10-inning loss to Houston.

Maybe it’s because the Pirates are so accustomed to losing after dropping 34 of 51, but there didn’t seem to be any carry-over effect from that hard-to-take loss. Duke (3-6) gave up two runs in the first, but the Pirates immediately came back with five runs in their half of the inning.

“We had offense up and down the lineup,” Pittsburgh manager Jim Tracy said. “That was a very tough game to have to lose, and the important thing to is to leave it behind you. The good ones are able to put it behind them.”

Casey drove in the first run with a single to center. Craig Wilson and Duke had run-scoring singles, Doug Davis (3-4) issued a bases loaded walk to Paulino, and second baseman Rickie Weeks committed his 15th error of the season to allow another run to score.

“It’s not a major deal if we can settle in and hold them right there, but we couldn’t do it,” Brewers manager Ned Yost said.

Casey added a two-run double in the fourth to chase Davis, then singled and walked his next two times up before being lifted in the eighth. Bay, who has started every game the last two seasons, also was pulled after grounding out to end the seventh.

“I felt sluggish out there, throwing around 40 pitches in the first, and it was hard to execute some pitches,” said Davis, who gave up 11 hits and seven earned runs in three-plus innings. “I made a lot of mistakes.”

Duke ended a four-game losing streak during which he allowed 29 hits and 16 runs in 25 innings. The only other run off Duke came on Prince Fielder’s long home run to right leading off the sixth, a drive estimated at 471 feet—the third longest in PNC Park’s six seasons. Fielder also had an RBI double in the first.

Duke gave up 10 hits in 7 2-3 innings, but struck out five and walked one for his first victory since shutting out the Cubs 9-0 on May 2.

Jose Bautista also homered in the sixth off Jeremi Gonzalez during a three-hit night for the Pirates. All four of Bautista’s career homers have been since May 13. Jose Castillo hit his sixth of the season in the eighth, off Chris Mabeus in the right-hander’s first major league appearance.

Notes

The Pirates have lost seven of 11, but their offense is picking up— they’ve scored 45 runs in five games. … Mabeus had a rough debut, allowing four runs and four hits and throwing three wild pitches in 1 2-3 innings. … Brewers 3B Jeff Cirillo singled in the seventh, his 5,000th career at-bat. … Fielder’s homer bounced into the Allegheny River, the 18th homer to reach the water. Daryle Ward’s homer in 2002 was the only one to reach the river on the fly. … The Brewers are one of the few opposing teams that doesn’t do well in PNC Park, going 15-31 there. … Casey is a .371 career hitter (49-of-132) at PNC Park, playing there the previous five seasons with the Reds.

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