Brewers return the favor to shut out Pirates
PITTSBURGH (AP) -- Mark Rogers was frustrated with himself. He derided his lack of consistency and command. Remarked after the game how he "missed my fair share" of pitches, too.
All he did was toss five shutout innings.
Carlos Gomez and Aramis Ramirez homered off Erik Bedard, leading Rogers and the Milwaukee Brewers over the wobbling Pittsburgh Pirates 7-0 on Sunday.
Rogers was inefficient, throwing 101 pitches. But he allowed only three hits and three walks in helping the Brewers win for the fifth time in six games.
"To pitch like that and still throw up all the zeros he did, that's good," Milwaukee manager Ron Roenicke said. "It's hard to do, get people on the bases and you keep them there. It does say a lot for him being able to make pitches when he needed to."
Bedard (7-14) lasted only 4 2-3 innings and leads the majors in losses.
The Pirates have lost five of six. They trail St. Louis by two games for the second NL wild-card spot, with the Cardinals coming to PNC Park for a three-game series starting Monday night.
Milwaukee entered this series having gone 1-14 on the road since the All-Star break but took two of three.
Rogers (2-1) won six days after picking up his first victory in the majors. He struck out five, not allowing a baserunner to reach third base during his outing. The fifth overall pick of the 2004 draft, he was making his eighth career start and sixth this season.
"I was a little frustrated with myself," Rogers said. "Today was a battle, and I was able to get through it unscathed, fortunately. I was able to execute pitches when I needed to, and I think that can make a big difference in the game."
Manny Parra pitched the sixth and seventh, Jose Veras struck out three around a walk in the eighth and Kameron Loe closed out the Brewers' sixth shutout.
Jonathan Lucroy added three hits for the Brewers. Josh Harrison had two hits for Pittsburgh, which was shut out for the 11th time.
Bedard did not allow a hit through 3 2-3 innings, but six of the final nine batters he faced did have a hit and each scored.
"I made some good pitches, and then they starting hitting the ball around and scored runs," Bedard said.
Two-out singles by Corey Hart and Lucroy in the fourth preceded Gomez's 13th home run.
Rogers led off the next inning with a double and scored on Rickie Weeks' one-out single. Two batters later, Ramirez hit his 18th homer.
"Sometimes, it's like that," Gomez said. "One thing happens in a game and everybody gets excited and wants to swing the bats better. It's just somebody has to start it."
Formerly with Pittsburgh, Ramirez went 6 for 12 in the series with an extra-base hit in each game. His 62 extra-base hits lead the National League.
The Pirates have lost 12 of 17, falling from 2 games back in the NL Central to eight behind.
"I would not say we're not focused," manager Clint Hurdle said. "I wouldn't say that's an accurate statement. We're just not playing well.
"We've got to play better to win. And they know that. There's nobody who knows it better than them."
NOTES: Before the game, the Pirates activated LHP Hisanori Takahashi to the active roster and placed RHP Chad Qualls on the disabled list with irritation of his left big toe. Claimed off waivers from the Los Angeles Angels on Friday, Takahashi pitched a perfect eighth. ... A day after leaving a game with groin discomfort, Pirates OF Jose Tabata pinch hit. Hurdle said Tabata was available to play the field if needed, too. ... The crowd of 36,626 was the 16th sellout of the season at PNC Park. The stadium record is 19. ... Looking for their first winning season or playoff berth since 1992, the Pirates open what is arguably their biggest series in two decades Monday against the Cardinals. Aces start it out: Pittsburgh's A.J. Burnett (15-4, 3.63 ERA) and Kyle Lohse (13-2, 2.61) of St. Louis. ... The Brewers embark on a four-game series in Chicago. Milwaukee swept the Cubs at home prior to arriving in Pittsburgh.