for this game

Pirates edge Brewers on Martin's late HR

Sep 20, 2014 - 5:08 AM Pittsburgh, PA ( - Russell Martin clubbed a three-run homer in the bottom of the eighth inning to lift the Pittsburgh Pirates to a 4-2 victory over the Milwaukee Brewers on Friday night.

The Brewers entered this three-game set looking to gain ground on Pittsburgh in the race for the NL's second wild-card spot and got a gem from Yovani Gallardo, who continued his mastery of the Pirates and dominance at PNC Park.

Unfortunately, Gallardo couldn't pitch beyond the seventh.

Jonathan Broxton (4-3) was tasked with protecting a 2-0 lead and surrendered hits to four of the five batters he faced, including Martin's blast to right- center field.

Mark Melancon tossed a perfect ninth to earn his 31st save and give the Pirates a 4 1/2-game lead over the Brewers.

"Yeah, we're still in it. We need to win these next couple games, though," said Milwaukee manager Ron Roenicke.

Jeff Locke threw seven solid innings for Pittsburgh, allowing two runs on five hits with no walks. The Martin home run enabled John Holdzkom (1-0) to pick up his first major league win. Holdzkom pitched the top of the eighth.

Andrew McCutchen and Travis Snider both had two hits for the Pirates, who extended their winning streak to a season-high five games. They remained 2 1/2 games behind Central-leading St. Louis.

"It's just been good baseball, competitive baseball," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. "It's the time everybody loves to play."

Gallardo scattered five hits, walked one and registered a season-high 11 strikeouts. He lowered his ERA against Pittsburgh to 2.55 in 26 career games. At PNC Park, his ERA is now 1.62 in 12 career outings.

Starling Marte led off the eighth by beating Broxton to first base on a grounder to the right side. The safe call was confirmed by replay.

Neil Walker singled with one out before Martin delivered his go-ahead drive. With two outs, Ike Davis added an RBI single up the middle off Jeremy Jeffress.

Pittsburgh had a series of chances, but Gallardo managed to work out of trouble.

The right-hander pitched around a two-out triple by McCutchen in the first, then received some help from his defense. Ryan Braun chased down Jordy Mercer's drive into the right field corner with one aboard for the final out in the second.

After giving up a pair of singles in the third, Gallardo won a nine-pitch duel with Walker with a strikeout to foil the threat.

In the fourth, Gallardo struck Locke out swinging to strand runners on the corners.

The Brewers had grabbed the lead three batters into the game. Braun ripped a one-out double to the left-center field gap, advanced to third base on a wild pitch and scored on Jonathan Lucroy's single.

Rickie Weeks made it 2-0 with a leadoff home run to center in the fifth.

"We didn't add on. We didn't get any hits for quite awhile at the end. They keep battling and they got big hits," Roenicke said.

Game Notes

The Pirates won their 50th home game of the season, tying a PNC Park record set last year ... Martin ran his hitting streak to 10 games.