Fielder knocks in winning run as Brewers top PiratesJul 6, 2008 - 2:48 AM By J.R. Radcliffe PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer
MILWAUKEE (Ticker) -- Prince Fielder rocketed a game-winning single to left center in the ninth inning, sending the Milwaukee Brewers to a 2-1 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates on Saturday.
Rickie Weeks drew a walk against reliever Tyler Yates (3-2) leading off the ninth and J.J. Hardy - despite losing a 16-game hitting streak in the process - sacrificed the runner to second base. The Pirates then walked Ryan Braun to reach Fielder, who singled on a 1-2 pitch to win the game.
Milwaukee improved to 19-8 in one-run games.
"I really didn't think about it too much, I just try to go up and do my job," said Fielder, when asked if he was surprised the Pirates elected to stay with the right-handed Yates with the game on the line. "I didn't see (a lefthander) warming up, so I figured they weren't going to bring anybody in. I don't really think about stuff like that, so it didn't affect me either way."
Dave Bush, whose ERA entering the outing was nearly four runs higher on the road than at home, again pitched beautifully at Miller Park. He retired nine straight batters prior to allowing the first Pittsburgh run, then retired the final 11 he faced before departing for a pinch hitter.
Through eight innings, Bush allowed one run on four hits, with no walks and seven strikeouts.
It was Bush's first home appearance since taking a no-hitter into the eighth inning against Toronto on June 19 and marked the fourth time in his last seven appearances that he had permitted one run over seven innings or more.
"It was similar that I was throwing my fastball for strikes, and I was able to use my offspeed pitches," Bush said, comparing Saturday's outing to the flirtation with a no-hitter. "The biggest thing was in the fifth inning, when they had a double and then a double with nobody out. In my mind, that was the toughest part of the game."
Adam LaRoche and Jose Bautista conspired on those back-to-back doubles leading off the fifth to tie the score at 1-1, though the Pirates could have had another after Bautista scampered to third on a throwing error with nobody out.
Bush struck out pitcher Paul Maholm and got Jack Wilson to ground out softly before Nate McLouth flew out to end the threat.
"We had the one opportunity, but you have to give Bush a lot of credit," Pirates manager John Russell said. "To see two guys work the lower half of the zone like Maholm and Bush did, it was a pitcher's duel. We would have liked to have gotten a run there, but you have to give a lot of credit."
Just like his counterpart, Maholm retired the last 11 batters he saw in order and did not allow a hit after the fourth in eight dazzling innings of his own. It was the lefthander's fourth straight quality start, during which he has a 2.57 ERA - a sequence that has dropped his season mark from 4.55 to 4.05.
"I've figured (my preparation routine) out where it makes me more comfortable going into games," Maholm said. "Pretty much every side session, I'm not trying to overhaul my mechanics or anything. It's pretty consistent. Consistency makes you comfortable."
Maholm allowed one run on four hits with six strikeouts in his eight frames.
Hardy, who brought his 16-game hitting streak into the contest on the heels of consecutive four-hit outings, finished 0-for-3. He became only the fourth player in franchise history to record back-to-back games of four hits or more, and the first since Jim Gantner accomplished the feat in 1983, but he was hitless one day later.
"I'm kind of happy it's over, because it's kind of stressful going through stuff like that," Hardy admitted.
"The guy has been on fire lately, but he's a team player," Weeks said of Hardy. "In certain situations, you have to do something like (sacrifice a runner over)."
Eric Gagne (2-2) worked his second scoreless inning since returning from a stint on the disabled list and earned the victory.
"Right now, I'm just trying to have fun on the mound," Gagne said. "That's something I haven't experienced the last two months on the mound. For me, it was just a matter of going out and putting up a couple good outings in a row. I know what I can do; I don't think it was a confidence problem. It was a matter of going out and executing."
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
- - - - - - - - - - - -
PITTSBURGH 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 1 5 0
MILWAUKEE 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 2 5 1 (FINAL)
BATTERIES: PIT - PAUL MAHOLM, TYLER YATES (9TH) AND RYAN DOUMIT
MIL - DAVE BUSH, ERIC GAGNE (9TH) AND JASON KENDALL
HOME RUNS: PIT - NONE
MIL - MIKE CAMERON (14) OFF PAUL MAH
Jul 5 9:21 PM
AT MILWAUKEE - SCORING UPDATE
SINGLE BY PRINCE FIELDER SCORED RICKIE WEEKS.
FINAL SCORE: MILWAUKEE 2, PITTSBURGH 1
Pirates 1, Brewers 2 Bot 9, 0 OutsJul 5 9:21 PM
AT MILWAUKEE - SCORING UPDATE
DOUBLE BY JOSE BAUTISTA SCORED ADAM LAROCHE.
SITUATION: 1 RUN IN, J BAUTISTA ON THIRD, 0 OUT
CURRENT SCORE: PITTSBURGH 1
MILWAUKEE 1 TOP, 5TH
DUE UP FOR PITTSBURGH: P MAHOLM (.156, 0-FOR-1)
Pirates 1, Brewers 1 Top 5, 0 OutsJul 5 8:12 PM
AT MILWAUKEE - SCORING UPDATE
SOLO HOME RUN BY MIKE CAMERON (14) TO RIGHT CENTER WITH 2
OUT IN THE 2ND OFF PAUL MAHOLM.
CURRENT SCORE: PITTSBURGH 0, MILWAUKEE 1
DUE UP FOR MILWAUKEE: B HALL (.217, 11 HR, 31 RBI)
Pirates 0, Brewers 1 Bot 2, 0 OutsJul 5 7:35 PM
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