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Brewers win 'strange game' in Pittsburgh

The SportsXchange

PITTSBURGH -- Milwaukee Brewers outfielder Carlos Gomez was having a bad day.

Not long before the Brewers took batting practice Friday night, the center fielder received a call from his wife back in Milwaukee informing him that their young son might need surgery to repair a congenital hip problem. He then struck out in his first two at-bats, breaking his bat over his knee after making the first out of the game.

However, it all turned out well for Gomez, as he hit a long home run in the fifth inning for what proved to be the winning run in a 5-3 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates while catcher Martin Maldonado went 3-for-3 and literally knocked the cover off the ball and right-hander Kyle Lohse pitched 6 1/3 solid innings.

Gomez found out after the game that his son will avoid surgery.

"My mind really wasn't on the game tonight," Gomez admitted. "It was hard to concentrate."

Maldonado provided a memorable moment in the top of the sixth with the Brewers leading 4-2 following Gomez's drive to dead center field -- his fifth homer of the season -- an inning earlier. The baseball's cover came loose when Maldonado connected on a pitch from right-hander Charlie Morton.

Third baseman Pedro Alvarez fielded the ball and made a throw to first base. The ball fluttered and fell short of its intended target.

"I've never seen that before," Brewers manager Ron Roenicke.

Two batters later, Gomez singled in a run to make it 5-2. He had two hits and two RBIs for the National League Central-leading Brewers (12-5).

"It was just one of those games," Roenicke said. "Goofy stuff happened, like when Maldy hit the cover off the ball. We got a run because of it. Just a strange game. Hard to explain."

Lohse (3-1) allowed three runs, though only one was earned, four hits and three walks while striking out five. He improved to 11-2 against the Pirates in his career, including 6-1 at PNC Park.

"I thought Lohse was great again," Roenicke said. "I thought he got a little tired, which is why I took him out. Before that, he was really on his game."

Maldonado reached base in all four plate appearances as he also walked. First baseman Mark Reynolds added two hits for the Brewers, who won despite making the errors.

Closer Francisco Rodriguez pitched a scoreless ninth to stay perfect in save opportunities at 5-for-5.

"It was a good team win," Lohse said. "We got contributions from a lot of people."

Catcher Russell Martin had two hits and two RBIs for the Pirates (8-9), who dropped below .500 while leaving 11 runners on base.

"We just weren't able to get that at bat when we needed it tonight, repeatedly," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said.

Morton (0-2) took the loss to fall to 2-6 lifetime against the Brewers. He gave up five runs and eight hits in six innings with two walks and three strikeouts.

The Pirates got within 5-3 on center fielder Andrew McCutchen's two-out RBI double in the seventh, but Alvarez struck out with runners on second and third to end the inning.

Pittsburgh missed another chance in the eighth when left fielder Starling Marte hit an inning-ending pop out with the bases loaded.

The Brewers overcame a 2-0 deficit with a three-run fourth. Second baseman Scooter Gennett hit a two-run double and scored on a single by Maldonado.

"That fourth inning was the difference," Morton said. "I've got to be able to execute pitches, especially with the lead."

Martin drove in two runs to put the Pirates ahead 2-0 with a first-inning groundout and a third-inning single.

NOTES: The Pirates acquired 1B Ike Davis from the New York Mets for minor league RHP Zack Thornton and a player to be named in a trade consummated just minutes before the start of the game. ... Pirates SS Jordy Mercer left the game at the end of the third inning with discomfort in his right ankle after being spiked in the top of the inning by sliding C Martin Maldonado, who was trying to break up a double play. INF Clint Barmes replaced Mercer. ... Brewers C Jonathan Lucroy did not start for just the third time in 17 games this season and Maldonado took his place. ... Brewers RHP Matt Garza (0-2, 3.43 ERA) is scheduled to pitch Saturday night against Pirates LHP Wandy Rodriguez (0-2, 7.31).
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