PITTSBURGH (AP) — Shaun Marcum was satisfied with the way he pitched in his first start after more than two months on the disabled list.
His manager was, too.
Marcum did not allow an earned run in five innings but two errors aided a four-run Pittsburgh fifth and the Pirates beat the Milwaukee Brewers 4-0 on Saturday.
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The win was Pittsburgh’s first in five games and snapped the Brewers’ four-game winning streak.
“Got a little tired there in the fifth inning, but other than that I felt pretty good,” Marcum said. “Felt like I was locating from the get-go. In that fifth inning, I made a couple mistakes … but other than that, for the most part I ended up with close to 90 pitches and I felt like I located the majority of them.”
Marcum (5-4) allowed two base runners over his first four innings, but six of the final eight batters he faced reached (albeit two via errors). He threw 88 pitches, two fewer than manager Ron Roenicke said was his pitch limit.
On Friday, Roenicke discussed the possibility that Marcum could be traded if he pitched well in his first two outings off the DL. Marcum is a free agent at the end of the season, the Brewers are out of contention and playoff rosters for contending teams are set Aug. 31.
“I was real happy with the way he threw the ball,” Roenicke said. “The first four innings were outstanding. And really, that inning … we totally dropped the ball for him. So I was real happy with him.”
Jeff Karstens pitched seven stellar innings before leaving with an injury in his right hip and groin area. Karstens (5-3) gave up seven hits, did not walk a batter and struck out four for his first win in nine career starts against Milwaukee.
“We didn’t do much against him,” Roenicke said.
“He mixes up pitches well, he keeps the ball down, he’s got good movement on the fastball. Right-handers had trouble with the sinker/runner in on them… He pitched a good game.”
“Jeff, tonight, gave us the start that we did need,” Pittsburgh manager Clint Hurdle said. “Exactly.”
Karstens also had an RBI single and scored during Pittsburgh’s four-run fifth inning. He left after the first two Brewers singled in the eighth, but Tony Watson came on and got Norichika Aoki to ground into a forceout, and Jason Grilli struck out Rickie Weeks and got Ryan Braun to bounce out.
Closer Joel Hanrahan worked the ninth in a non-save situation, loading the bases before striking out Nyjer Morgan to close out the Pirates’ seventh shutout.
Aramis Ramirez had three hits for the Brewers, who had won four in a row.
Karstens felt pain on a pitch to Morgan that resulted in an infield single that put runners on first and second with no outs in the eighth. Karstens threw one pitch to Aoki before leaving the game.
After the game, Karstens said he thought the problem was more located in his hip than groin. But he said he did not think he was seriously injured.
Earlier this season, Karstens spent more than two months on the disabled list due to hip and shoulder issues. He had a setback in coming back from that when he injured his groin in a minor-league rehabilitation start but said “this one’s nowhere near as bad. I don’t see myself missing any time.”
Karstens improved to 5-2 with a 3.29 ERA in 11 starts since he came off the DL. No Brewers base runner advanced past second base while he was in the game.
Pedro Alvarez had two hits for the Pirates, who are one game behind St. Louis for the second wild-card spot.
Pittsburgh broke loose in the fifth after errors by center fielder Carlos Gomez and shortstop Jeff Bianchi, who was recalled from Triple-A earlier in the day.
Michael McKenry had an RBI double and scored on Karstens single. Jose Tabata followed with an RBI double and scored when Travis Snider singled.
NOTES: Tabata left the game before the sixth with discomfort in his left groin sustained while running the bases. He will be evaluated Sunday. … The Brewers were held scoreless for the 10th time this season. … Pittsburgh scored a game’s first run for only the fourth time in 23 August games. … The crowd of 37,460 was the 15th sellout of the season at PNC Park. The ballpark record is 19 in its 2001 inaugural season. … Bianchi singled in the eighth and ninth innings for his first two major league hits. The Brewers outrighted RHP Mike McClendon to Triple-A late Friday night. … LHP Erik Bedard will start for the Pirates on Sunday. He allowed five runs in 3 2-3 innings of a June 2 outing against Milwaukee. He is tied for the most losses in the majors (13). The Brewers’ RHP Mike Rogers earned his first major league win in his most recent start Monday.