MILWAUKEE (AP) — If it was the last start of the season for Milwaukee rookie Mark Rogers the right-hander went out on a strong note.
Corey Hart and Aramis Ramirez both went 3 for 4 with a homer, and Pittsburgh starter Jeff Karstens left for the second consecutive time with an injury as the Brewers beat the Pirates 9-3 on Friday night.
Rogers (3-1) gave up one run in 5 1-3 innings to win his third consecutive start in what could be his last outing of the year.
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“I feel great about the season,” he said. “I feel like I’ve come a long way this year. I’ve battled my way back from injuries before so it’s pretty gratifying to be here right now and be a part of this ballclub.”
Brewers owner Mark Attanasio said on the team’s television broadcast that Rogers would be shut down, but manager Ron Roenicke refused to confirm it after the game, saying he had not talked to Rogers.
“I don’t want to say one way or another whether it is or not,” Roenicke said.
The fifth pick in the 2004 draft, Rogers has been beset by injuries and had only pitched in four major league games before joining the Brewers in July. Last year, he underwent carpal tunnel surgery on both wrists and then was suspended 25 games for taking a banned supplement.
He struggled early this season at Triple-A Nashville, but improved and joined the Brewers’ rotation in July.
“It’s been a whirlwind, getting back from the surgery and everything else that was going on,” Rogers said. “It was nice to get my feet wet early on in the season at Triple-A and get back into pitching shape and build from there.”
He threw 134 1-3 innings combined at Triple-A Nashville and with the Brewers, up from 44 1-3 a year ago in the minor leagues. Previously, the most he had thrown in a season was 126 innings in 2010.
“I’ve been hurt,” Rogers said. “I’ve gone down that road before so the last thing I want to do is get hurt,” he said.
“I’m going to be brutally honest with them and right now I feel great,” he said. “I want to be taking the ball every five days.”
Ramirez had four RBIs and Nyjer Morgan had three hits, a stolen base and a walk for the Brewers.
Karstens (5-4) allowed four runs in the first inning and was forced to leave for the second consecutive start with a lower body injury. The right-hander allowed five of six batters to reach base before exiting with discomfort in his right hip flexor.
In his last start on Aug. 25 in Pittsburgh, he was removed after throwing seven innings in a 4-0 victory over Milwaukee due to a left groin strain. This time, he was charged with four runs in one-third of an inning, giving up five hits while striking out one.
Karstens said he had no inkling he would get hurt again.
“I don’t want to put my team in a situation like that,” Karstens said. “To kind of do that, one, it is upsetting to me and two, it is just disappointing because I felt like I let the team down. It is kind of deflating for myself.”
Pittsburgh remained one-half game behind St. Louis for the final NL wild-card spot when the Cardinals lost 10-0 to Washington on Friday night.
With Pittsburgh star Andrew McCutchen getting a day off, Rogers allowed a solo home run to Garrett Jones in the fourth. He gave up five hits and two walks while striking out five.
Morgan, a late addition to the lineup when Norichika Aoki complained of neck pain before the game, led off the bottom of the first with a double and moved to third on Rickie Week’s sharp single to right.
Karstens struck out Ryan Braun, but Ramirez laced a two-run single to left for a 2-0 lead. Hart hit his 25th home run for a 4-0 lead.
After Jonathan Lucroy singled, trainers went to the mound, talked to Karstens and he left the game.
He was replaced by Kyle McPherson, who was recalled from Triple-A Indianapolis earlier in the day.
Jones’ homer in the fourth was his 22nd.
Ramirez hit his 21st homer, a two-run shot, off Hisanori Takahashi in the eighth to make it 7-2.
NOTES: Before the game, the Brewers dedicated a 7-foot tall bronze statue of longtime broadcaster Bob Uecker at Miller Park. … The Pirates recalled Presley from Indianapolis. To make room on the roster, INF Chase d’Arnaud was optioned to Single-A Bradenton and 1B Jeff Clement was outrighted to Bradenton. … Brewers INF Cody Ransom was claimed off waivers from Arizona. … Aoki suffered a neck injury during a collision with Morgan on Thursday in Chicago. He is day-to-day. … After the game, the Brewers recalled INF Eric Farris from Triple-A Nashville.