Jeff Locke shut down the Brewers after giving up a first-inning run, Starling Marte smacked a home run for the second straight night and drove in a career-high five runs as the Pirates beat Milwaukee, 6-2.
The Pirates trailed just three batters into the game. Ryan Braun and Jean Segura led off with singles and Jonathan Lucroy plated Braun with a sacrifice fly, but the Brewers would get just two more hits off Locke all night. Locke pitched eight innings, finishing with six strikeouts, no walks, four hits and just the one run in his second straight start against Milwaukee.
The Pirates came alive with two three-run innings. They quickly backed Locke with three in the first . Gregory Polanco doubled home Josh Harrison and Marte's single scored two. Marte added a three-run homer in the fifth, pacing a Pirates offense that got six hits and three walks (!!!) in six innings against Brewers starter Kyle Lohse.
Milwaukee reliever Tyler Thornburg hit Andrew McCutchen up around the shoulder with a pitch in the seventh inning, and Arquimedes Caminero countered by hitting Braun in the ninth, drawing warnings to both benches from the home-plate umpire.
HBP wars are silly in my eyes, but silly things are part of life sometimes. This one seemed to be handled as well as possible -- the Pirates protected their star with a quick response that didn't involve firing a projectile at a human being's head. Now we can all move on.
The Pirates scored six runs for the second straight night after being shut out the two games before that. They'll go for their first sweep of the season on Sunday, and suddenly things don't seem nearly as bad as they did a couple days ago. It is April, after all.