Fielder homers in ninth to lift Brewers

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MILWAUKEE (AP)—Prince Fielder has no idea what pitch he hit. He’s a lot more certain of its importance.

Fielder homered with two outs in the bottom of the ninth and the Milwaukee Brewers rallied twice to beat Pittsburgh 7-5 on Tuesday night, keeping pace with the New York Mets in the NL wild-card race.

“These last five games or so, we really need to win as many as possible, so for me to do that was pretty awesome,” said Fielder, who is hitting .412 with six homers and 17 RBIs during his 13-game hitting streak. “The better part about it was just seeing my teammates. That was pretty cool.”

Fielder homered off reliever T.J. Beam (2-2) following Ryan Braun’s two-out single to keep Milwaukee one game behind the Mets with five to go. New York beat Chicago 6-2 on Tuesday.

It was Milwaukee’s 10th game-ending hit this season and its 10th straight win over Pittsburgh this year.

Fielder knew from the moment he made contact that he had hit his 34th homer and picked up RBIs No. 99 and 100.

He had been 0-4 with two strikeouts.

“Dale just said: ‘No matter how you start the game, you always can win it in the ninth,”’ Fielder said, referring to interim manager Dale Sveum. “Before I had two chances but I struck out.”

Fielder untucked his shirt rounding first base and was mobbed by teammates at home plate as the Brewers got a much needed win with two more games against Pittsburgh and a three-game series with the Cubs to finish the season.

“Whether you do good or bad, usually whenever you just let your talent show, sometimes you might get them, sometimes you don’t, but at least after the game you can sleep at night, knowing you’ve been aggressive,” Fielder said.

Milwaukee, which hasn’t been to the postseason since 1982 and came into September with a 5 1/2 -game lead for the wild card, is desperately trying to avoid a second collapse after squandering a big lead last year.

“The morale of the team is as high as it’s been all year right now,” Sveum said. “We stayed one game back, obviously with five games left to be two games back you’re talking about pretty much winning all five games. There’s not much breathing room, but it’s a weight off those guys in that locker room’s shoulders that we’re not two games back with five to play.”

Until the seventh, it looked like the Brewers’ miserable month would continue after they failed to drive in a runner in scoring position in their first eight chances and trailed 3-2. Milwaukee is 6-15 in September and coming off a 2-8 road trip that saw manager Ned Yost fired and replaced with Sveum.

“The last road trip, we can’t do anything about it. We can’t undo what’s already happened. We get a clean slate tomorrow, try to come out tomorrow and have another one-game winning streak,” said Mike Cameron, who doubled in two runs to give Milwaukee a 4-3 lead in the seventh.

But reliever Guillermo Mota, like Cameron a former Met, gave it right back when Steve Pearce hit a two-run homer in the eighth to put Pittsburgh up 5-4.

“We did a nice job, we just didn’t close it out,” Pirates manager John Russell said. “They’re going to be tough outs late in games. They’ve got a lot riding on it.”

Jason Kendall answered with a two-out, RBI double off John Grabow in the bottom of the inning, and reliever Salomon Torres (7-5) worked out of a two-on jam in the ninth to set up the dramatic finish.

“We’re playing for something every day that we’re trying to achieve,” Cameron said. “Sometimes you hope fate falls in your favor. Baseball’s a funny game. It builds character. It’ll bring you joy. It’ll bring you a lot, a lot of anger sometimes.”

Milwaukee’s CC Sabathia takes the mound on three days’ rest on Wednesday for the second straight time.

And Sveum, in his first home game since replacing Yost, said he doesn’t have a starter lined up for Thursday, Friday or Saturday, saying only that Sabathia could be used again, if needed, in Sunday’s regular season finale.

Notes

The Brewers activated RHP Yovani Gallardo, who last pitched May 1 before knee surgery, but RHP Ben Sheets is nursing a sore elbow and is out until the weekend. … The Brewers took a 2-0 lead in the first on errors by left fielder Nyjer Morgan and All-Star center fielder Nate McLouth, his first this season in 363 chances, but the Pirates made it 3-2 in the second with a two-out rally. … Brewers RHP David Riske underwent surgery Tuesday to remove a bone spur from his elbow. … Pirates OF Brandon Moss will get a second opinion in Vail, Colo. on Thursday on whether he needs knee surgery that could cause him to miss some or all of spring training in rehab.

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