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Pirates 2, Brewers 1, 14 innings

The SportsXchange

PITTSBURGH -- For two decades, the Pittsburgh Pirates always seemed to find a way to lose. This season, they keep finding ways to win.

Russell Martin's pinch-hit single in the 14th inning gave the Pirates a 2-1 victory over the Milwaukee Brewers on Sunday, extending their winning streak to nine games. The Pirates have the best record in the major leagues at 51-30.

Gaby Sanchez led off the 13th with a single and stole second. After a fly out by Michael McKenry and a walk to Jordy Mercer, Martin grounded a single up the middle off Francisco Rodriguez (1-1) to score Sanchez and send the Brewers to their fifth straight loss.

The Pirates tied the game at 1-1 in the eighth against deposed closer Jim Henderson. Starling Marte hit an infield single with one out, moved to second on Neil Walker's grounder and scored on Andrew McCutchen's single to center.

Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said before the game that Francisco Rodriguez would now serve as the closer while Henderson would be the set-up man.

Tony Watson (2-0) pitched three scoreless innings to get the win. Five Pirates relievers combined for 12 scoreless innings.

The Pirates loaded the bases in the ninth and 13th innings but failed to score. Brandon Inge struck out to end the ninth and Pedro Alvarez bounced into an inning-ending double play in the 13th.

After the game was delayed by rain in the bottom of the second inning for two hours and 20 minutes with Milwaukee leading 1-0, the Brewers' Tyler Thornburg and Pittsburgh's Vin Mazzaro each pitched five scoreless innings of long relief.

Thornburg, who relieved Kyle Lohse, allowed two hits and walked one while striking out four.

Thornburg was recalled from Triple-A Nashville to add some reinforcement to a weary bullpen after going 0-9 with a 5.59 ERA in 15 starts for the Sounds. Yet he has yet allow a run in nine major-league innings this season as he made two other relief appearances for the Brewers earlier in the year.

Mazzaro was perfect in his five-inning stint, needing just 44 pitches to get 15 outs as he struck out one after replacing Charlie Morton.

The Brewers scored the game's first run, which was unearned, in the second inning off Morton. Yuniesky Betancourt reached first on shortstop Clint Barmes' fielding error, took third on Martin Maldonado's hit-and-run single and scored on a squeeze bunt by Logan Schafer.

Schafer also saved a run when he reached above the short fence in left field to rob Sanchez of a solo home run in the seventh and preserve Milwaukee's 1-0 lead.

Maldonado had three of the Brewers' four hits.

Lohse retired five of the six batters he faced, allowing only a walk, while Morton gave up one unearned run and two hits in two innings.

NOTES: Pittsburgh LHP Wandy Rodriguez is scheduled to receive a platelet-rich plasma injection an attempt to speed up the healing in his strained left forearm. Rodriguez has been on the disabled list since June 6 and felt pain June 28 during a throwing session. ... Milwaukee LF Ryan Braun, who has been out since June 10 with a bruised left thumb, does not a timetable for when he will be able to return but admitted it would almost certainly be sometime after the All-Star break. ... Brewers RHP John Axford made his 22nd consecutive scoreless relief appearance by striking out Barmes in the seventh, the only batter he faced. ... The Brewers open a four-game series at Washington on Monday with RHP Yovani Gallardo (6-7, 4.20) facing Nationals RHP Jordan Zimmermann (11-3, 2.28) ... The Pirates are off Monday then open three-game home series with Philadelphia on Tuesday night with LHP Jeff Locke (7-1, 2.06) facing Philadelphia RHP Jonathan Pettibone.
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