Out of all of the Pirates it was Casey (McGehee) at the bat when it mattered and he came through against his former team hitting a solo home run that allowed the Pirates defeat the Milwaukee Brewers 6-4.
This game started much like its predecessor, as it was the Brewers that opened the scoring in the top of the second inning. Corey Hart’s triple off Pirates starter Kevin Correia plated Aramis Ramirez and the next batter Rickie Weeks batted in Hart to take a 2-0 lead.
The Pirates got those runs back the next half inning with one swing of the bat from Andrew McCutchen. His 20th homer of the season was a two run shot to tie things up. McCutchen who didn’t his first homerun of the season until early May now has 20 in the first 87 games of the season. The last Pirates to do that was Jason Bay in 2006 when he connected on 20 big flies in the team’s first 70 games.
The Brewers got these runs back immediately however on Pedro Alvarez’s 14th error of the season and a Hart sacrifice fly.
The score remained 4-2 Brewers until the sixth inning when a McGehee RBI single was able to score Neil Walker and trim the deficit in half.
The Pirates were down 4-3 at this point and after an Alvarez strikeout Manager Ron Roenicke took starter Marco Estrada out of the game. Despite an 0-3 record and mediocre ERA, Estrada found success against the Pirates striking out 11 batters. It was only the second time Estrada achieved double digit strikeouts.
In the top of the seventh Kameron Loe who replaced Estrada remained in the game and was not faring well. He did not help his cause when pinch hitter Josh Harrison grounded out and Loe made a throwing error. Barmes who had advanced to third on the play was able to score and tied things at four.
Things got worse for Loe as a passed ball four walked McCutchen. While Walker advanced to second, Harrison managed to score and give the Pirates a 5-4 lead. While Walker was caught stealing, the damage had already been done.
Chris Resop allowed a hit and walk in the seventh inning in relief, but was able to escape with no runners crossing the plate.
McGehee added his solo shot in the eighth inning against Tyler Thornburg to pad the lead to two runs.
Jason Grilli came in to pitch the bottom of the eighth, and walked a batter and allowed a Hart single. With two outs though, Andrew McCutchen made a sliding grab to preserve the lead.
Joel Hanrahan came in for the save in the bottom of the ninth inning and despite a walk to Nyjer Morgan, faced no problems in saving his 24th game of the season. His strikeout of Travis Ishikawa ended the game and put the Pirates at 49-38 on the season. This ties them with the Cincinnati Reds for first place in the NL Central.
Winning Pitcher: Kevin Correia 6-6
Losing Pitcher: Kameron Loe 4-3
Save: Joel Hanrahan 24
MVP: Casey McGehee 3-5 HR (7) 2 RBI (30, 31)
LVP: Drew Sutton 0-4 (3 K’s)
Play of the Game: Andrew McCutchen’s sliding grab in the bottom of the eighth inning with two runners on to preserve the two run lead.
Home Runs: Pirates- McCutchen (19), McGehee (7) Brewers- None
Up Next: at Milwaukee, Sunday, July 15 at 2:10 p.m. EDT
Probable Starters: A.J. Burnett (10-2 3.68 ERA) vs. Yovani Gallardo (7-6 3.74 ERA)
Of note: Neil Walker now has a 14 game hitting streak… The Pirates are 13-2 in Saturday games.