Brewers 11, Pirates 4

Making what likely was his final start before being sent back to

the bullpen, Marco Estrada made the best of a big early lead.

Casey McGehee homered during Milwaukee’s seven-run second inning

and the surging Brewers rebounded from a rare recent loss with an

11-4 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates on Tuesday night.

McGehee’s 10th homer of the season came with Ryan Braun aboard

and accounted for the final two runs of a dreadful inning for

Pittsburgh’s Ross Ohlendorf, who was making his first start since

April 8.

Braun had a two-run double earlier in the inning for the NL

Central leaders, giving Estrada (4-8) all the support he would need

in making his third consecutive stellar fill-in start.

”My goal today was to give the team innings, and I gave them

seven,” Estrada said. ”You don’t want to go out there thinking,

hey, we’ve got a 7-0 lead, let these guys hit the ball. But you

also don’t want to throw balls and get behind in the count. … You

have to stay mentally tough and throw strikes.”

Estrada did not walk a batter and was charged with seven hits in

seven innings in improving to 3-2 as a starter this season. He

temporarily moved back into the rotation 11 days ago after

three-plus months in the bullpen. With Chris Narveson healthy and a

doubleheader behind them, the Brewers plan to send Estrada back to

the bullpen.

Estrada beat the Pirates for the second time in 11 days. He

allowed three runs in 17 innings over his three spot starts.

”You don’t really expect, when you have to fill in for

somebody, to have those kind of performances,” Milwaukee manager

Ron Roenicke said. ”Every time we ask him to do it, he does a nice

job.”

Nyjer Morgan finished 4 for 6 with two runs and two RBIs, and

Jonathan Lucroy had three hits for the Brewers, who are on a 24-4

surge. Milwaukee (78-53) surpassed last season’s win total and

topped Pittsburgh for the 14th time in the past 15 meetings.

The teams split a doubleheader Monday, with the Pirates winning

the nightcap.

Josh Harrison hit his first major league homer for Pittsburgh,

which has lost five of seven.

Ohlendorf (0-1) was not sharp in his first start in the majors

since leaving an outing April 8 due to shoulder discomfort. He made

six minor league rehabilitation starts beginning in July and was

optioned to Triple-A Indianapolis after his stint on the disabled

list expired.

He was charged with seven runs (four earned) on 11 hits and two

walks in five innings.

”The second inning was very disappointing, but I was happy with

the way I rebounded and pitched after that,” Ohlendorf said. ”In

the second inning, I was really overthrowing.”

The Pirates broke open a tie game with a seven-run seventh in

the nightcap of Monday’s doubleheader, just their fourth win in

their past 40 against the Brewers.

Milwaukee’s seven-run inning the next day included RBI singles

by Lucroy and Morgan and a throwing error by Pittsburgh catcher

Ryan Doumit that allowed a run to score.

”After (Monday), we just wanted to come back and definitely go

out here and bring that work to them,” Morgan said.

The Pirates scored two in the eighth off LaTroy Hawkins, and

Morgan doubled in one of Milwaukee’s two ninth-inning runs.

”(The Brewers are) playing very good baseball,” Pirates

manager Clint Hurdle said. ”There is confidence everywhere with

that club right now. They’re confident swinging the bat and they

have confidence when they’re pitching.”

NOTES: Brewers 1B Prince Fielder, who is 1 for 11 in the series,

had an RBI double, his NL-leading 100th RBI of the season. …

After the game, the Pirates announced they are purchasing the

contract of LHP Aaron Thompson from Triple-A Indianapolis and that

he will be Wednesday’s starter. INF Pedro Ciriaco, recalled earlier

Tuesday, was optioned back to Triple-A. … Shaun Marcum, scheduled

to start Wednesday for Milwaukee, is 4-0 with a 3.43 ERA in his

past seven outings. He has allowed only one run in 14 2-3 innings

over two victories against the Pirates this season.