Marlon Byrd hit a three-run homer and earned a curtain call in his Pirates debut as the Bucs rolled to a 7-1 victory over the Brewers Wednesday night.
Charlie Morton went 6.2 innings and allowed one unearned run, striking out two and walking three but getting his usual complement of ground ball outs. As much of the rest of the Pirates' rotation remains uncertain, Morton has quietly emerged as a reliable option, and his $2 million deal for 2013 -- which many of us, myself included, questioned at the time -- now looks at a bargain, even before considering that the Pirates control Morton's rights for next season as well.
The Bucs got one run in the first and another in the fourth. Then they picked up two in the fifth on a leadoff triple by Jose Tabata, a Josh Harrison single and a Jordy Mercer double.
The Brewers got their only run in the seventh when Russell Martin made a totally unnecessary pickoff throw that clearly surprised Gaby Sanchez, and Scooter Gennett came home from third.
In the bottom of the inning, though, Harrison and Mercer (who each also made good defensive plays and were key parts of the Pirates' win tonight) singled, and Byrd blasted a Burke Badenhop pitcher to deep center. Pirates fans erupted, grateful to have the reinforcements.
It was a great moment for a Pirates team whose fanbase is waiting to see whether they can continue to play credible baseball down the stretch. They haven't played well recently, but every time the collapse rears its ugly head, the Bucs seem to come with a win like this. Hopefully, Byrd's addition will help ensure that the wins keep coming.