June 3, 2012; Milwaukee, WI, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates center fielder Andrew McCutchen (22) is congratulated by right fielder Garrett Jones (46) and pitcher James McDonald (53) after hitting a 2-run homer in the fifth inning at Miller Park. At left is Milwaukee Brewers catcher Martin Maldonado (12). Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-US PRESSWIRE
It's probably not often that you have a 6-5 game where the starting pitchers combine to strike out 16 batters, but then again it won't be often that Michael Fiers strikes out eight in five innings, or that Nyjer Morgan, Martin Maldonado and Brooks Conrad all homer on the same day. (It's probably unusual for all three of those guys to homer in batting practice on the same day, although I'm sure Conrad gets his share.) But more importantly, it's not often that the Pirates go to Miller Park and take two out of three, but hey, these are strange times we live in.
The Brewers took a 2-0 lead in the first when Taylor Green hit an opposite-field RBI double and Rickie Weeks brought him home with a line-drive single. The Bucs cut the lead in half in the second on a dying quail RBI single by Clint Barmes.
The Pirates came roaring back in the fifth, though. James McDonald led off with a soft single, and Andrew McCutchen brought him home a few batters later with a two-run homer. Garrett Jones, batting immediately after McCutchen, then hit a solo shot of his own to make it 4-2. Rod Barajas hit yet another homer, also a solo shot in the top of the sixth to make it 5-2.
The Brewers got it within one in the next two innings with the Morgan and Maldonado homers, but the Pirates got some insurance in the top of the ninth when Clint Barmes homered (!!!!!) on a 97-MPH fastball by John Axford. Conrad homered in the bottom of the inning to make it 6-5, but Joel Hanrahan got Norichika Aoki to ground into a double play to end it.
Yay offense! It used to be that the Pirates would get a matchup against someone like Fiers and find some way to blow it spectacularly, but it hasn't felt that way this year.
McDonald struck out eight and allowed three runs, one earned, over six innings.