Jordy Mercer hits grand slam, Pirates hold off Brewers 5-3
MILWAUKEE (AP) Jordy Mercer's first career grand slam capped a five-run sixth inning that started with two errors by Milwaukee third baseman Jonathan Villar, and the Pittsburgh Pirates held on for a 5-3 win on Friday night over the Brewers.
Villar bobbled a bouncer by Andrew McCutchen to open the sixth, then threw wildly to second after making a diving stab on Gregory Polanco's hard shot.
Starling Marte followed with an RBI double off starter Matt Garza (4-6) to break a scoreless tie. Three batters later, Mercer cleared the bases with his homer to left-center.
The Brewers rallied in the bottom of the sixth behind a three-run shot from rookie shortstop Orlando Arcia, his first in the big leagues.
Pittsburgh's problematic bullpen barely held on from there to back starter Ryan Vogelsong (3-3). Domingo Santana popped out to end the game with the potential tying run at second.
Tony Watson escaped the jam for his ninth save. He had allowed a two-out single to Ryan Braun and a walk to Chris Carter, and they pulled off a double steal.
A pair of veteran right-handers, Vogelsong and Garza, kept the bats quiet over the first five innings.
The hitters got busy in the sixth.
The Pirates got help from Villar, the Brewers' starting shortstop until a few weeks ago when top prospect Arcia was called up from the minors.
Villar, who has 50 steals, is still working on the glove at third. Arcia, known for his defensive prowess, got a huge confidence boost at the plate. He was hitting .182 coming into the night.
Vogelsong won for the second time in three outings, allowing four hits in 5 2-3 innings while striking out six and walking four. He has a 2.48 ERA in five August starts.
Garza had a season-high nine strikeouts but stomped off the mound after Mercer's two-out blast.
Pirates: RHP Tyler Glasnow (shoulder) was scheduled to make his next rehab start on Saturday for Triple-A Indianapolis.
Brewers: RHP Junior Guerra (elbow) was scheduled to make on rehab start before returning to the team, likely when rosters expand on Sept. 1. Manager Craig Counsell said the team will likely move to a six-man rotation when Guerra returns. ... 3B Will Middlebrooks (right leg) will start a rehab assignment at Double-A Biloxi this week.
Pirates: RHP Jameson Taillon (3-3) has a 2.25 ERA over his last eight starts, going at least six innings in each game.
Brewers: RHP Jimmy Nelson (7-13) is 5-2 in seven career starts against the Pirates with a 2.55 ERA.
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