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Brewers bats awake in rout of Pirates

The SportsXchange

MILWAUKEE -- Big innings have not been a problem this season for the Milwaukee Brewers. Sustaining offensive production over the course of nine innings, however, has been another story.

Milwaukee overcame that issue Monday, at least for one night, tying a season high for runs scored and hitting five home runs in a 10-4 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates at Miller Park.

Brewers batters hit back-to-back homers twice and tripled three times, part of a 13-hit attack that came a day after Milwaukee was shut out by Los Angeles Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw.

"We've been good in the first inning this year," Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said. "We got a little bit of everything -- the home run ... the walks, just putting the ball in play. But the entire game, we had really good offense."

Jean Segura led the way, going 3-for-5 with a home run, missing a second by just inches before finishing the game a double shy of a triple. Ryan Braun, Carlos Gomez, Yuniesky Betancourt and Martin Maldonado also recorded two hits each for Milwaukee, which has won 11 of the last 14.

All of that offense made things easier for Brewers starter Yovani Gallardo, who recovered from a rocky start to pitch seven innings and earn his third consecutive victory. Gallardo (3-1) allowed two runs -- one earned -- on three hits and two walks while striking out five.

Gallardo retired 13 batters in order to close out his longest outing of the season.

"It's slowly getting there," Gallardo said of his rhythm, which has been problematic this season. "The last start in San Diego, I struggled a little bit and had to fight for it. First few innings today was the same scenario, but I was able to make an adjustment, and as the game went on, I felt a lot better.

Gallardo also contributed on offense, belting his second home run of the season with one out in the fourth inning, extending the Brewers' lead to 6-2. He now has 12 for his career, the most in franchise history by a pitcher.

"It's exciting to see the guys swing the bats," Gallardo said, "but it's always fun when we (pitchers) get an opportunity to go out there and swing our bats."

While Gallardo was holding the Pirates at bay, Pittsburgh starter Wandy Rodriguez (2-1) saw his season-opening hot streak come to an abrupt halt. Rodriguez had allowed just four runs in 21 2/3 innings in six starts this season, but he gave up seven runs in 3 2/3 innings Monday.

Rodriguez was tagged for five runs in the first, due in large part to four walks.

After Norichika Aoki drew a leadoff walk, Segura drove a 1-0 fastball to center for his second home run of the season, staking the Brewers to a 2-1 lead. Braun followed with a double to right, and Rodriguez issued his second walk of the inning, putting Jonathan Lucroy at first. Lucroy was quickly picked off, but Rodriguez then walked the struggling Rickie Weeks and followed with a walk to Gomez, loading the bases for Betancourt.

Betancourt grounded out to short, but Braun scored on the play. Maldonado drove in two more with a single to right before Gallardo struck out to end the inning.

"I had bad location tonight," Rodriguez said. "I started too many batters behind, so they knew a fastball was coming. You're going to have games like this."

The left-hander cruised through the next two innings, and the Pirates cut the deficit to 5-2 in the third on Gaby Sanchez's RBI double.

Rodriguez ran into trouble again in the fourth. Gallardo's one-out home run restored the four-run lead, and Aoki followed with his third home run of the season.

"When you don't make good pitches, the ball's going to fly here," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. "They always have good hitters here."

Gomez and Betancourt both homered in the fifth off Jonathan Sanchez.

Despite the loss, Pittsburgh remained a half-game ahead of the St. Louis Cardinals and Cincinnati Reds for the NL Central lead.

NOTES: Milwaukee has dominated Pittsburgh, posting a 70-24 record against the Pirates since the 2007 season -- the best record by one team against another in all of baseball. The Brewers are 45-7 against the Pirates in Milwaukee during that stretch. ... Brewers relievers are 3-1 with a 1.88 ERA and 6-for-7 in save opportunities in the past 16 games. ... Pittsburgh CF Andrew McCutchen hit .455 (15-for-33) with two doubles, four home runs, 10 RBI and had a .939 slugging percentage at Miller Park last season. He went 1-for-4 Monday and has now hit safely in his last nine games in Milwaukee.
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