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Fielder nabs first career 3-homer game

Prince Fielder, Milwaukee Brewers
Prince Fielder's three homers leave him with 38 this season.
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MILWAUKEE (AP)

Prince Fielder hit three home runs in a game for the first time in his career, including a two-run shot in the seventh inning that lifted the Milwaukee Brewers to a 6-4 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates on Tuesday night.

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Fielder's final homer was the least impressive of the three, barely sailing over the wall in right field after he hit monster shots in the third and fifth innings. But it was the last one that made the biggest difference, breaking a 4-4 tie.

With the win, the Brewers crept closer to securing home-field advantage in the first round of the playoffs. Milwaukee came into Tuesday's game with a one-game advantage over Arizona for the No. 2 seed in the NL.

Milwaukee star Ryan Braun went 1 for 2 with a pair of walks, and remains locked in a tight race with the New York Mets' Jose Reyes for the NL batting title going into the final game of the season.

Rickie Weeks also homered for Milwaukee, his first since returning from an ankle injury. John Axford pitched a 1-2-3 ninth for his 46th save.

LaTroy Hawkins (3-1) took the win, and Jared Hughes (0-1) was charged with the loss.

Fielder's big night was the third three-homer performance for the Brewers this season and left him with 38 on the year. Corey Hart and Casey McGehee had three-homer games earlier in the season.

Fielder and Weeks hit back-to-back homers in the third. Weeks, who sprained his left ankle July 27 and returned Sept. 8, now has 20 homers this season.

Pittsburgh's Ross Ohlendorf scattered five hits in five innings - but three of those hits went a very long way, thanks to Fielder and Weeks.

Brewers starter Randy Wolf struggled, throwing 111 pitches in 5 2-3 innings. He gave up nine hits and four runs, including a bases-loaded walk that turned out to be his final batter.

After beating the Brewers on Monday, Pittsburgh got off to a fast start. Neil Walker led off the second with a ground-rule double, then scored when a looping line drive by Matt Pagnozzi fell in front of right fielder Hart.

With two outs in the third, Fielder drove a 1-0 pitch from Ohlendorf to the second deck in right field, tying it at 1. Weeks then hammered a ball to left, rattling the window panes of a restaurant in the third deck.

The Pirates used some deception to take the lead in the fifth. After a ground-rule double by Ronny Cedeno, Ohlendorf came to the plate and faked a bunt to draw the defense in - then swung away and made solid contact, sending a single through the largely vacant middle of the infield. Cedeno scored on the play to tie at 2.

Ohlendorf later scored on a single by Josh Harrison that glanced off the glove of diving shortstop Yuniesky Betancourt, giving the Pirates a 3-2 lead.

But the Brewers came right back in the bottom half of the fifth. Braun walked with two outs, and Fielder hit a huge home run to center.

The Pirates loaded the bases with two outs in the sixth, and Wolf walked in a run.

But Fielder wasn't finished. After Braun walked, Fielder hit his third - then came out of the dugout for a curtain call.

Notes: Making a rare start in center field, Jerry Hairston Jr. showed his range by running down several fly balls. Brewers manager Ron Roenicke rested Nyjer Morgan after he fouled a pair of balls off his leg Monday night, but Morgan appeared as a pinch hitter in the eighth. ... It was the seventh time the Brewers have hit back-to-back home runs this season. ... Zack Greinke (15-6, 3.86 ERA) faces Pittsburgh's Jeff Locke (2-2, 4.97 ERA) in the regular-season finale.

Tagged: Brewers, Pirates, Rickie Weeks, Prince Fielder, Ross Ohlendorf, Ryan Braun

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