Aramis Ramirez has endured a tough season, with two trips to the disabled list and numbers that are nowhere near what he is accustomed to putting up. But on Tuesday night, Ramirez had one of his best games of his injury-plagued year with four hits and four RBI as the Milwaukee Brewers won a wild 7-6 decision over the Pittsburgh Pirates at PNC Park.
Ramirez homered, doubled and had a pair of singles while going 4-for-5. His fourth-inning homer off Pittsburgh starter Jeff Locke was just his eighth of the season, but was the 350th of his career. Earlier this season, Ramirez notched his 2,000th career hit.
The Crew didn’t make it easy on themselves Tuesday night, squandering 5-0 and 6-5 leads.
Starter Kyle Lohse deserved better than he got. He was cruising along in the fifth inning with a 5-0 lead and had two outs with a runner at first when Pittsburgh manager Clint Hurdle sent pinch-hitter Felix Pie to the plate to bat for the pitcher.
Pie lofted a fly ball into right-center field that right fielder Norichika Aoki got to. But he seemed to shy away, as if he were avoiding a collision with something that wasn’t there, and the ball glanced off the end of his glove for what was ruled an RBI double.
Lohse was visibly shaken by the play. Jose Tabata followed with an infield single, with Scooter Gennett knocking the ball down behind second base to prevent Pie from scoring … at least for a moment.
But Lohse served up a long home run to Neil Walker that cleared the seats in right field, landing on the sidewalk behind the stands to cut the Brewer lead to 5-4.
The next three hitters scalded the ball. Andrew McCutchen laced a single to right field and Pedro Alvarez followed with a drive to left-center field that hopped the wall for a ground-rule double, preventing McCutchen from scoring. That turned out to be big after Russell Martin lined hard to Khris Davis in left to end the inning.
But Lohse surrendered the lead in the sixth on an RBI single by Pie. Lohse got a no-decision, surrendering a career-high 13 hits in 5.2 innings.
Milwaukee got to Locke, who was an All-Star this season, early without hitting a ball out of the infield. Aoki led off the game with an infield single, Jean Segura followed with a bunt for a hit and Jonathan Lucroy walked. Ramirez grounded into a double play that allowed Aoki to score and the Crew snapped a string of 27 consecutive games without a first-inning run, tied for the third-longest such streak in baseball since 1920.
Ramirez made it 2-0 in the fourth with a home run to the deepest part of the ballpark, a no-doubter to left-center. The Crew piled on in the fifth. Lucroy singled home Gennett, who had led off with a single and went to second on a Lohse sacrifice, and Ramirez then doubled off Tabata’s glove in left field to chase home Aoki, who had walked, along with Lucroy to make it 5-0. That chased Locke, who hasn’t won in his last seven starts and has an ERA of 8.10 in his last six starts.
Milwaukee took the lead back in the seventh on another RBI by Ramirez, one made possible by some nifty baserunning by Lucroy. Segura was at first after a fielder’s choice and broke for second. Lucroy dribbled a ball toward Walker at second base and Segura dashed for third. Walker’s throw just beat him for what appeared to be a rally-killing second out. But Lucroy stole second, getting into scoring position for the red-hot Ramirez.
Pedro Alvarez tied it back up in the bottom of the seventh, homering off the right field foul pole. It was the first homer surrendered by Rob Wooten (3-0) since he was brought up to the majors in July.
Milwaukee finally took the lead for good in the eighth. Yuniesky Betancourt belted a one-out double into the left-field corner and moved to third on a terrific bunt single by Gennett. Pinch-hitter Caleb Gindl lofted a sacrifice fly to right to score Betancourt.
Brandon Kintzler worked a perfect eighth for the Crew and Jim Henderson made things exciting in the ninth, allowing a one-out double to McCutchen that was just off the glove of a diving Ramirez at third and walking Alvarez before getting the final two outs.
Bryan Morris (5-7) took the loss for Pittsburgh after surrendering the go-ahead run in the eighth.
The win snapped a streak of six consecutive losses for the Crew at PNC Park and the Brewers are now 5-9 against their division rivals this season.
Davis took an 0-for-5, snapping his hitting streak at 11 games. The series continues Wednesday night, with Tom Gorzelanny (3-5) facing his former team. Charlie Morton (5-3) will start for the Pirates. Game time is 6:05 p.m. Central Time and the game will be carried regionally on Fox Sports Wisconsin.
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