MILWAUKEE (AP)—Given the way the Milwaukee Brewers have bashed the Pittsburgh Pirates around at Miller Park in recent years, Kevin Correia acknowledged that there were times when even a big early lead might not have felt very safe.
But a six-run third inning off Randy Wolf proved to be plenty Friday night, and the Pirates pounded the Brewers 8-2.
“I think it has a lot to do with how the games have gone here in the past,” Correia said. “A five-run lead doesn’t feel like much here. We’ve given up a lot of runs in this stadium. With that kind of offense, they could easily come back on you.”
Ryan Braun left the game after the seventh inning after he aggravated lingering tightness in his right Achilles tendon and strained his right hip. Braun sat out Thursday’s game in Los Angeles because his Achilles was sore.
“The danger in trying to play through an injury constantly, is it’s easy to re-irritate it,” Braun said. “Your body also compensates so it’s easy to hurt something else. I don’t think it’s too bad, but it doesn’t feel too good right now.”
Correia (2-5) gave up two runs and five hits in 5 2-3 innings for the Pirates, who have won six of their last seven games.
The Pirates came into Friday’s game with a 4-38 record at Miller Park since the start of the 2007 season.
“It matters to a certain extent,” Correia said. “Obviously, it’s there. We know about it. I don’t think it affects the way we approach the game or the way we’re going to play. But it makes it a lot nicer when we do get wins here.”
Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said it was a nice result for Correia, who has pitched better this season than his record indicated.
“We all need some of that. It’s easy to say, `Well, the ERA’s good, and he’s competing, and keeping us in games.’ Those are all true. But you compete for a reason.”
Nyjer Morgan hit a solo home run in the first inning for Milwaukee, snapping his Major League record of 138 straight plate appearances without an RBI to start the season. But Morgan’s misplayed ball in the outfield played a critical role in the Pirates’ big inning.
Corey Hart hit a solo home run, his 11th this season.
The Brewers were coming off a four-game road sweep of the Los Angeles Dodgers—the team’s longest winning streak this season—but didn’t land back in Milwaukee until early Friday morning.
“I don’t think we had too much wind after landing at 7 in the morning,” Braun said. “You just turn the page and remember the fact that we played really well the last four days and hopefully tomorrow we get back on track.”
Wolf (2-5) went six innings, giving up the six runs and eight hits, with four walks and five strikeouts.
Morgan homered off Correia in the first, giving Milwaukee a 1-0 lead and snapping his RBI drought. The previous record was 125, by Herb Adams of the Chicago White Sox in 1950.
Matt Hague singled, then Rod Barajas singled to drive in Walker—and Barajas took second base on the throw home from Braun. Wolf walked Jody Mercer to load the bases, and Correia hit a soft grounder that allowed third baseman Aramis Ramirez to throw out Hague at the plate.
With the bases still loaded, Jose Tabata lined a ball to center. Morgan initially broke in, then realized he was headed the wrong direction and made an awkward attempt at a leaping catch. The ball sailed over his head for a double and three runs scored, giving the Pirates a 6-1 lead.
It was another example of an offense that seems to be coming around.
“I don’t think there needs to be a scientific reason for everything,” Hurdle said. “We were due to get some hits.”
Wolf finally got Harrison to fly out to end the inning.
“To be able to get out in front of them definitely helps me, enables me to put a little pressure on them—rather than the other way around,” Correia said.
Hart homered in the sixth, cutting the lead to 6-2.
Braun’s nagging Achilles injury was tested in the sixth, when he legged out an infield hit and stole second base, sending him limping back to the dugout during a pitching change. But Braun stayed in the game until the top of the eighth, when he was replaced.
McCutchen’s two-run double gave the Pirates an 8-2 lead in the eighth.
Notes: Former Brewer Casey McGehee received a round of applause when he went to bat in the eighth. … Brewers 2B Rickie Weeks was a last-minute lineup scratch because of an illness. … The Pirates placed right-handed starter Charlie Morton on the 15-day disabled list with right elbow inflammation. Right-hander Juan Cruz was activated from the restricted list. … Friday’s attendance was 33,055.