Brewers-Pirates Preview

The Milwaukee Brewers restored order against the Pittsburgh

Pirates following a rare loss to their NL Central rivals, tying a

season high with 17 hits while cruising to a seven-run rout.

The series finale could be an even bigger mismatch.

The Pirates will call up rookie Aaron Thompson to make his major

league debut Wednesday afternoon against the Brewers and Shaun

Marcum, who hasn’t lost since the All-Star break and has twice

dominated Pittsburgh this season.

Milwaukee (78-53) lost for the first time in 14 games to the

Pirates in the nightcap of Monday’s doubleheader, letting a

seven-run seventh inning turn a 2-2 tie into a 9-2 Pittsburgh

rout.

There was another seven-run inning at PNC Park on Tuesday, but

this one belonged to the Brewers. Milwaukee pounded out seven of

its 17 hits in the second inning, opening up a 7-0 lead en route to

a 11-4 victory that, combined with St. Louis’ loss, extended its NL

Central lead to 10 games.

“(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.”

The bulk of Tuesday’s damage came against Ross Ohlendorf, who

was making just the third start of his injury-plagued season, but

Wednesday’s starter will be taking a major league mound for the

first time.

With Kevin Correia and Paul Maholm on the disabled list, plus

the need for another starter in Monday’s doubleheader, the Pirates

(60-68) were in a bit of a bind when it came to naming a starter

for the series finale. They decided late Tuesday night to give that

spot to Thompson, who has spent most of the season with Double-A

Altoona.

The 22nd overall pick of the 2005 draft by the Marlins – one

spot before Boston grabbed Jacoby Ellsbury – the left-hander has

made three appearances since joining Triple-A Indianapolis,

including two starts.

He pitched four innings in each of those, and didn’t allow a

run.

“I think regardless of results, I’ve been throwing the ball

well,” Thompson told the Pirates’ official website. “Starting from

spring training, I’ve really been working on getting back to what I

did earlier in my career.”

Even if Thompson can keep Pittsburgh in the game, his team’s

offense should have its hands full. Marcum (11-3, 3.40 ERA) is 4-0

since the All-Star break, and he’s been especially good in his last

two outings.

One of those came with 7 2-3 innings of one-run ball Aug. 14

against the Pirates – he has a 0.61 ERA in two starts versus

Pittsburgh – and he was just as good Friday against the Mets.

Marcum held New York to a run and six hits over seven innings in a

6-1 victory.

“I think at the beginning, I didn’t see the velocity in his

fastball, but he was still spotting it well,” manager Ron Roenicke

told the Brewers’ official website. “Changeup was great, breaking

ball was good, and then his velocity picked up. I thought he looked

really good the last five or six innings.”

Marcum’s looked really good away from Miller Park all season.

After losing his first road start in a Milwaukee uniform, he’s 6-1

with a 2.25 ERA in his last 12 outings.