PITTSBURGH (AP)—Major league players occasionally lose fly balls in the sun. On Tuesday, the Milwaukee Brewers lost ground balls, too, as an uncommon starting time made for a game-long defensive adventure at PNC Park.
At least it did for the visiting team.
Shane Youman earned his first major league win by limiting division-leading Milwaukee to two runs over six innings, and the Brewers’ sloppy defense committed a season-high four errors during the Pittsburgh Pirates’ 6-2 victory.
Milwaukee manager Ned Yost said it could have been worse.
“We haven’t had one like that all year,” he said. “There were other balls we misplayed that weren’t given errors. We didn’t play well defensively.”
Even if the Brewers felt there should be an asterisk next to this one.
The game started at 4 p.m.—a midweek rarity in the majors except for Wrigley Field—because of a postgame concert and fireworks show. The Brewers didn’t want to make excuses, but they said the sun made it difficult on defense.
“I couldn’t see anything,” said left fielder Kevin Mench, who allowed Jack Wilson’s RBI triple to sail over his head during a three-run sixth because he didn’t see it come off the bat. “Balls that were hit, you just hoped they weren’t line drives. You were hoping they’d go high enough where you could get a chance to read it. That’s the first time it’s ever been that way.”
He might want to get used to it. The teams play at the same time on Independence Day, which could have All-Star Prince Fielder punching a water cooler in frustration like he did while going 0-for-4 Tuesday.
“That wasn’t a very pretty game,” Yost said.
It was for the Pirates, who didn’t commit an error while winning for the first time in three games. Ronny Paulino drove in two runs without getting a hit as the Pirates bounced back from a 10-3 loss to Milwaukee on Monday night.
Youman (1-0), recalled from Triple-A Indianapolis to replace the injured Zach Duke (elbow), twice allowed extra base hits to start an inning but otherwise was effective in his first start this season. He was 0-2 late last season.
“He pitched well enough in September to have a win, so it was good to see him get it,” manager Jim Tracy said. “He battled like crazy … and got outs when he needed them. He has poise, great poise.”
The left-hander gave up eight hits but stranded eight runners in the fourth career start by a one-time 43rd round draft pick who was never given much chance to reach the majors. Corey Hart doubled and scored on Ryan Braun’s single in the first and Mench led off the fourth with his fourth homer.
“It’s been a long time coming,” said Youman, who played for LSU’s 2000 College World Series champions. “You start the year in Triple-A and you never know when or if you’ll get the call. To be able to do it in my first game up is real huge.”
The Brewers were 6-1 against the Pirates this season, but returned to familiar ways in PNC Park after their one-sided victory Monday. Milwaukee is 19-38 in Pittsburgh since 2001.
This was a messy loss with miscues all around. After Rajai Davis doubled to start the Pirates’ third against starter Chris Capuano, consecutive errors on ground balls by shortstop Craig Counsell and third baseman Braun led to Jason Bay’s RBI grounder. Counsell started because All-Star shortstop J.J. Hardy returned to the hotel with flu-like symptoms.
“He didn’t see it out of the crowd,” Yost explained of Counsell’s error. “He caught a glimpse of something going by and that was it. That happens. When the sun’s shining sometimes it comes out of the crowd and you can’t see it.”
The Brewers committed two more errors in the fifth. Center fielder Bill Hall misplayed Xavier Nady’s double to the right-center gap, allowing Nady to reach third, and pitcher Yovani Gallardo threw wildly on Youman’s sacrifice bunt. Paulino’s sacrifice fly put the Pirates up 3-2.
The Pirates added three runs in the sixth with the help of Adam LaRoche’s double and Wilson’s triple.
Capuano made his first start since being sidelined by a groin injury on June 8, but didn’t figure in the decision after allowing two runs, one earned, in 3 1-3 innings. Gallardo (1-1), who was 1-0 with a 2.79 ERA in three starts with Capuano out, took the loss by giving up three runs, two earned, in 2 2-3 innings in his first career relief appearance.
Bay went 0-for-4 and is 13-for-99 (.131) in his last 26 games. … Capuano has won only one of seven starts in PNC Park. … Milwaukee 2B Rickie Weeks, rested Monday while in an 0-for-13 slump, singled his first time up. … The Brewers have homered in 12 consecutive games. … Damaso Marte, Shawn Chacon and Matt Capps followed Youman with a scoreless inning each.