Brewers 6, Pirates 4
Fielder homered twice and scored the go-ahead run in the Milwaukee Brewers’ 6-4 win over Pittsburgh.
“Obviously, Prince Fielder was very involved today,” Pirates manager Jim Tracy said. “He basically accounted for three of the four runs they got in the early stages of the game. And, he also took a terrific at-bat against John Grabow.”
The Brewers, a major league-best 21-10, are 11 games over .500 for the first time since 1992. They have won three straight and seven of eight.
Fielder led off the eighth inning with a single to right off Grabow (0-1) and advanced to second on Johnny Estrada’s sacrifice, the fifth of his career and first this season. Matt Capps came in and got pinch-hitter Tony Graffanino to fly out before pinch-hitter Bill Hall drove in Fielder with a single to put Milwaukee ahead 5-4.
“They came up with obviously a very, very big two-out, two-strike base hit,” Tracy said about Hall’s hit.
Fielder just eluded catcher Ryan Doumit’s tag as the throw home was up the third-base line. After he slid across the plate, Fielder popped up and repeatedly punched his fists toward the Pirates’ bench, prompting plate umpire Tim Timmons to step in front of him and point him toward the Brewers’ dugout.
“You just want to go out there and win,” Fielder said. “Whenever you’re upset, just handle it on the field. Anytime you think something isn’t right, just handle it on the field. It’s always better to win and handle it that way.”
Fielder’s animated response wasn’t lost on Tracy.
“Obviously, he wasn’t very pleased with getting hit last night, but can you blame him?” Tracy said.
Doumit wasn’t as diplomatic.
“It was a nice slide,” he said. “My hat is off to him, but I think that’s pretty bush league what he did afterwards.”
On Saturday, Capps hit Fielder on the right shoulder and was ejected by plate umpire Alfonso Marquez after Hardy homered in the seventh during the Brewers’ 6-3 victory. Instead of charging the mound, Fielder just lay on the ground and glared at Capps before trotting off to first.
“You could woof all you want, but to stand up and make it count like he did, that’s pretty special,” Milwaukee manager Ned Yost said of Fielder’s performance Sunday.
Hall scored on Tony Gwynn Jr.’s single for the Brewers’ final run.
“There is no better way to pay somebody back than to get some game-winning hits,” Hall said. “We retaliated in the right way.”
The Pirates spoiled Ben Sheets’ bid to win consecutive starts for the first time since August 2005, a span of 23 starts and three stints on the injured list.
Pittsburgh scored four runs in the seventh to tie it.
Chris Duffy ended Sheets’ seventh start with a one-out, two-run homer. Matt Wise took over and walked Jack Wilson before Freddy Sanchez singled. One out later, Brian Shouse relieved Wise and gave up consecutive RBI singles to Adam LaRoche and Doumit. Brewers manager Ned Yost pulled Shouse and brought in Villanueva, who got Xavier Nady to ground out to end the inning.
“Duff hit the home run, and it got our batteries going a little bit,” Tracy said.
Sheets allowed two runs and six hits in 6 1-3 innings. He struck out five and walked two.
Fielder, who turns 23 on May 9, led off the second with a drive over the Pirates’ bullpen in right. It was his eighth homer and seventh in his last 16 games.
Fielder lined his second of the game into the seats in right after J.J. Hardy led off the fourth with a single that extended his career-high hitting streak to 17 games. It was Fielder’s fifth career multihomer game and second of the season. The first was April 23 at Chicago.
“I am just here to play baseball, and do the talking on the field,” Fielder said.
Tony Armas allowed three earned runs and six hits in five innings for the Pirates. He struck out six and walked two.
With right-hander Armas starting, Brewers LF Geoff Jenkins and 3B Craig Counsell, both left-handed hitters, were in the starting lineup for the first time in the four-game series. … Duffy snapped an 0-for-17 slump with his second homer of the season. … The Pirates have lost three straight and five of their last six.