Pirates 2, Brewers 0

Maybe it was playing a day game after a night game. Perhaps it

was playing a fourth game in three days on the heels of a

doubleheader two nights earlier.

Whatever the reason, the Milwaukee Brewers looked sluggish

Wednesday for the first time in a long time.

Aaron Thompson pitched 4 1-3 scoreless innings in his major

league debut and Jason Grilli won for the first time in nearly two

years as four Pittsburgh Pirates pitchers combined on a five-hitter

in a 2-0 victory over the Brewers.

”We didn’t swing the bats well,” Milwaukee manager Ron

Roenicke said. ”When you don’t swing the bats well, you usually

look sluggish. If we would have scored a couple of runs early in

the game then you probably would have seen us look totally

different.”

Thompson and Grilli kept the Brewers in check, then Jose Veras

and Joel Hanrahan closed out the shutout with one scoreless inning

each, sending Milwaukee to just its fifth loss in 29 games. The

Brewers maintained their 10-game lead in the NL Central over St.

Louis, which lost 9-4 to the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Hanrahan notched his 32nd save in 35 opportunities by striking

out the side to work out of a jam. He had lost in his two previous

appearances, both against Cincinnati.

Ryan Braun, who had two hits, led off the ninth with a single

and Prince Fielder followed with a walk but Hanrahan snuffed the

rally by striking out Casey McGehee, Yuniesky Betancourt and

Jonathan Lucroy in succession.

With the Brewers trailing 2-0 in the fifth, Grilli relieved

Thompson with one out and runners and second and third and escaped

trouble by striking out Corey Hart and getting Jerry Hairston Jr.

to ground out.

”We had a few chance but we couldn’t get the run across and

some of the credit has to go to the Pirates’ bullpen,” Milwaukee

second baseman Josh Wilson said. ”The bullpen shut us down.”

Thompson allowed four hits while walking two and striking out

one. He was on a pitch count after throwing just four innings in

each of his previous two minor-league starts.

Thompson, 24, had his contract purchased from Triple-A

Indianapolis before the game. He was needed to fill in for All-Star

right-hander Kevin Correia, who went on the disabled list Monday

with a strained oblique muscle.

A first-round draft pick of the Florida Marlins in 2004, the

left-handed Thompson was claimed off waivers by the Pirates from

the Washington Nationals last December. He went 1-0 with a 0.77 ERA

in three games, two of them starts, for Indianapolis after spending

most of the season at Double-A Altoona, where he was 4-7 with a

5.16 ERA in 28 games, including 12 starts.

”I was a little nervous but it wasn’t too bad,” Thompson said.

”I got here (Tuesday) so I had a chance to get used to the

clubhouse and the ballpark. I was around most of the guys in spring

training and they reached out and made me feel welcome. So the

nerves weren’t as bad as they might have been.”

Grilli earned his first win since Aug. 27, 2009, when he was

pitching for Texas against the New York Yankees. He missed all last

season after undergoing reconstructive knee surgery in spring

training and pitched this season with Philadelphia’s Triple-A

Lehigh Valley farm club before being granted his release and

signing with the Pirates on July 21.

The Pirates scored both runs on sacrifice flies, one by Andrew

McCutchen in the first inning and the other by Neil Walker in the

fourth. Jose Tabata had two of Pittsburgh’s four hits.

Shaun Marcum (11-4) lost for the first time in eight starts

since the All-Star break, as he gave up two runs and four hits in

six innings. He walked three and struck out four.

”He grinded,” Roenicke said. ”He does a great job when he

doesn’t have his great command and still figures how to get out of

innings.”

Tabata doubled to lead off the first, was bunted to third base

by Josh Harrison and scored on McCutchen’s sacrifice fly. Harrison

hit a leadoff double in the fourth and scored on Walker’s fly ball.

1/4

”For the most part, we made good pitches when we had too and

they only got two sacrifice flies,” Marcum said. ”I made a

mistake pitch to Tabata to start the game but the pitch to Harrison

wasn’t a bad pitch. The sac flies just got us.”

Notes: Milwaukee LHP Chris Narveson, who beat the Pirates on

Monday night, will not start again until Sept. 3 at Houston because

of off days in the schedule Thursday and next Monday. Narveson will

work in relief until then, a role he may assume if Milwaukee

reaches the postseason – it has no left-handers in the bullpen. .

Brewers OF Carlos Gomez, who has been on the disabled list since

July 21 with a broken left clavicle, will be examined by team

doctors Friday. If cleared, Gomez will begin a rehab assignment

with Class A Wisconsin on Saturday and be activated Sept. 1 when

the roster limit expands from 25 to 40. . The Brewers were shut out

for the 11th time this season while the Pirates have pitched 10

shutouts. . Pittsburgh placed LF Ryan Ludwick on the 15-day DL

before the game with back spasms, creating a roster opening for

Thompson. . Milwaukee begins a six-game homestand Friday night with

the opener of a three-game series against the Chicago Cubs.