Brewers hold off Pirates, secure eighth consecutive win
MILWAUKEE — Jim Henderson got the big out, and made the big play.
Henderson pitched a scoreless inning of relief, getting Andrew McCutchen to pop out and applying the tag on a runner cut down at home in the eighth, as Milwaukee ran its winning streak to eight with a 3-2 victory against Pittsburgh on Saturday night.
With runners on first and third and one out, McCutchen hit a towering popup behind home plate. Lucroy made the catch and Travis Snider attempted to tag up from first, but Lucroy alertly threw to shortstop Jean Segura covering the bag. As Snider retreated toward first, Starling Marte broke for home but was tagged out by Henderson (1-0) covering the plate to end the inning.
"My focus was just to get my glove out in front of the plate. I actually really didn’t know where I was positioned on the plate," Henderson said.
"I’m glad I covered home in the first place. Some pitchers just hang out by the mound."
After making the tag and recording an extremely rare 2-6-1 double play, Henderson spiked the ball to the ground as he left the field.
"It was in the moment and McCutchen is always a tough out for me," Henderson said.
Lucroy said he broke to cover the plate but backed off when he saw Henderson was already there.
"That was a really weird play but it’s got to be the top play. It was awesome," Lucroy said.
Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said Snider breaking from first base planned.
"It’s a play that we have in place that we work on all spring that won us a ball game last year. We tag at first, draw the throw to second and then send the runner from third. Marte breaks on the throw, they had to make a baseball play. We tried to steal a run," Hurdle said.
Carlos Gomez hit a leadoff homer and Lucroy drove in the tiebreaking run with an eighth-inning single.
Gomez got Milwaukee started with a 432-foot drive to center field off Edinson Volquez, and Khris Davis scored on a wild pitch to make it 2-0 in the second.
Pittsburgh tied it in the third on Starling Marte’s groundout and Travis Snider’s single, snapping Yovani Gallardo’s scoreless streak to start the season at 14 2-3 innings. Gallardo struck out Pedro Alvarez to end the inning with two runners in scoring position. The right-hander then held the Pirates scoreless over the next three innings, striking out the side in the fifth.
Lucroy singled to right in the eighth to drive in Ryan Braun, who slid in ahead of the throw to the plate.
Francisco Rodriguez got his fourth save in four attempts.
Gallardo went six innings, giving up two runs and six hits. He struck out six and walked one. He is 11-4 in his career against the Pirates.
Volquez, making his second start of the season along with one relief appearance, gave up two runs and four hits in 6 1-3 innings. He struck out four and walked two.
The Pirates threatened in the sixth when Andrew McCutchen doubled with one out and moved to third on a groundout. Gallardo struck out Russell Martin looking to end the inning.
The Brewers (9-2) put runners on second and third with one out in the seventh against Volquez. Tony Watson retired the next two batters to keep the score tied.
The Brewers broke through in the eighth. One-out singles by Braun and Aramis Ramirez off reliever Mark Melancon (0-1) put runners on first and second for Lucroy.
Gomez’s home run was the lone extra-base hit for the Brewers. Doubles by McCutchen and Travis Ishikawa accounted for the Pirates’ only extra-base hits.
NOTES: McCutchen was back in the lineup after being lifted in the eighth inning of Friday night’s game with a sore ankle. … Gomez received his 2013 Gold Glove before the game. He was the first Brewers player to win a Gold Glove since shortstop Robin Yount in 1982. … It was Gomez’s second leadoff homer of the season. … Milwaukee RHP Kyle Lohse (1-1) faces RHP Charlie Morton (0-0) in the series finale Sunday.