Pirates thump Brewers, 15-5

Justin K. Aller

On the heels of a successful West Coast road trip that noticeably changed the tone (and perhaps renewed the hope) of Pirates fans, the Bucs returned home and clobbered the first-place Brewers, 15-5.

Through the first six innings, the Pirates' offense wreaked havoc on Brewers pitchers Kyle Lohse and Tyler Thornburg, scoring 13 runs on 12 hits and five walks. Andrew McCutchen, Russell Martin and Jordy Mercer led the attack, going a collective 7-for-13 with seven runs scored and nine RBI.

"It's always good to see your guys get in there, hold ground, and hit what they see," Clint Hurdle said. "If they like what they see they get after it. We were able to do that throughout the evening."

The scoring barrage started early, as Josh Harrison opened the game with a single, advanced to second on a wild pitch, and scored on a McCutchen double. A batter later, Martin singled home McCutchen, giving the Bucs a 2-0 lead.

In the third, McCutchen hit a two-out solo home run.

The Brewers tightened things up in the fourth, getting three straight hits off Brandon Cumpton and scoring two runs by the end of the inning.

Cumpton settled back-in and retired the top of the Brewers lineup in order in the fifth, maintaining a 3-2 Pirates lead.

In the bottom of the fifth and sixth innings, the Pirates blew the game wide open, scoring 10 runs on eight hits and five walks.

Mercer opened the scoring in the fifth with a home run. Cumpton then walked, and advanced to second on Harrison's ground out to the pitcher. Neil Walker followed with a soft liner to center, scoring Cumpton.

After the Brewers scored a run in the top of the sixth and chased Cumpton from the game, the Pirates put their first seven batters on base in the bottom half, with four straight singles then three straight walks. The major damage of the inning was supplied by Martin who hit a two-out, bases-loaded double that cleared the bases and put the Pirates up 12-3.

"It's fun," Mercer said of the a night in which everyone contributed to the offense. "When people in front of you are getting hits and having fun, you want to join the party."

"Anytime in a season where your able to feed off each other like that, it's going to be a fun time," Martin said, echoing Mercer's sentiments. "If you can beat up on a good team it definitely builds a little confidence and gets you feeling good, but I think we all understand it's one game and we have to get ready for tomorrow."

The only negative from tonight's game was Brandon Cumpton continuation of an all-too-familiar pattern from Pirates starting pitchers lately, as he made it through only 5.1 innings, allowing three runs and eight hits. However, afterwards Hurdle seemed encouraged that Cumpton showed the ability to bounce back from last week's rough outing against the Dodgers.

"I think he gave us what we needed tonight," Hurdle said of Cumpton's start. "He did some things much better ... the aggressive nature was back."

Notes

  • Not only is Jordy Mercer on a tear offensively (11 hits in last 22 at bats, with eight runs scored and six RBIs), but he made two stellar defensive plays tonight. If he stabilizes at shortshop, the Bucs will have one less question mark to worry about.
  • The last time the Pirates scored 15 or more runs in a game was July 21, 2010 against the Brewers. Zach Duke started that game for the Bucs, and Delwyn Young supplied five RBIs.
  • The first jersey that Babe Ruth wore as a New York Yankee was in Hurdle's office after the game. Russell Martin offered a few reporters the "scoop" by showing a picture of the jersey on his phone. Thomas Tull, part-owner of the Steelers and baseball memorabilia collector brought the item to the park today.
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