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Pirates get first win of season, beat Brewers 6-2

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Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

Jeff Locke pitched six solid innings and also came through with the bat as the Pirates slugged their way to a 6-2 win over the Brewers Friday, their first victory of the season.

The Bucs got off to an inauspicious start against Mike Fiers as Josh Harrison and Gregory Polanco struck out on six total pitches and Andrew McCutchen took a couple balls before whiffing himself. In the second, though, Neil Walker led off with a double and came home on a single by Pedro Alvarez. Francisco Cervelli then doubled Alvarez to third. Jordy Mercer brought Alvarez home on a sacrifice fly, and then Locke doubled nearly to the wall in center to bring home Cervelli.

In the fourth, Alvarez led off with a homer to center, his second of the season. The Brewers finally got to Locke in the bottom of the inning with a two-run single by Adam Lind, but the Bucs got a run back in the fifth as McCutchen walked, Walker singled and Starling Marte brought home McCutchen on a sacrifice fly.

After six innings from Locke, the Bucs turned to Jared Hughes, who allowed a triple to Jonathan Lucroy but otherwise pitched a good seventh. After Marte homered off Neal Cotts in the eighth and Cervelli and Mercer singled, the Pirates (who, based on the first week, appear pretty committed to having Hughes pitch more than one inning per outing) sent Hughes to the plate. He actually laid down a pretty terrific sacrifice bunt on the first pitch, but Cotts ultimately struck out Polanco to end the threat. (Polanco struck out three times, though he made a nice diving catch in the late innings.)

In the bottom of the inning, Hughes gave up a one-out double and got replaced by Antonio Bastardo, who issued a walk to the only batter he faced. Finally, Arquimedes Caminero entered and ended the inning while looking like a superhero, throwing 101-MPH darts. Caminero struck out Scooter Gennett looking to end the inning, and Gennett slammed his bat in frustration and got tossed, leading to an amusing situation in which the Brewers, who had already used Luis Jimenez and Hector Gomez, has to have Carlos Gomez play second base for an inning. (Nothing ridiculous happened, unfortunately.)

Mark Melancon pitched a clean ninth, ending any worries about another bullpen implosion but likely meaning he'll be absent as the Pirates try to protect one-run leads in the late innings in each of the next six games. Also, Andrew Lambo replaced McCutchen in the ninth for reasons that aren't yet entirely clear. (UPDATE: It's "left knee discomfort," so it sounds like his removal in a 6-2 game could just be precautionary, but we'll see.) But whatever. The Pirates have their first win, and the Brewers are 0-4 and still have to try to sleep at night knowing that they're the Brewers.