Andrew McCutchen figured big in the Pirates' sporadic bursts of offense, driving in all three runs as the Bucs beat the Brewers, 3-2, in 10 innings Thursday night in Milwaukee.
McCutchen drove a fastball to left for a first-inning solo home run off the not-very-good Wily Peralta, putting the Pirates up early.
In the third, Starling Marte singled ahead of McCutchen, and stole second. Then Cutch sprayed one just to the right of second base, allowing Marte to score for a 2-0 Pirates lead.
The Pirates should have gotten more off of Peralta, who allowed five hits and three walks, but struck out five in five innings. The Bucs' failure to add on would have produced a much stronger sense of dread if we weren't already expecting the worst in Miller Park.
Sure enough, the lead, and Chad Kuhl's clean outing, ended promptly as Chris Carter socked a double and Kirk Nieuwenhuis drilled a homer to tie it at 2 in the seventh. Kuhl was efficient -- he only had 82 pitches when an Orlando Arcia double led to his being pulled -- and he finished with five strikeouts, two walks and five hits allowed in 6 1-3 innings.
Felipe Rivero cleaned up Kuhl's mess in the seventh, followed by scoreless innings from Neftali Feliz and Antonio Bastardo.
John Jaso led off the 10th with a pinch-hit single, and Josh Harrison bunted him to second. Marte grounded out, sending Jaso to third, but with two outs, then McCutchen send the first pitch he saw from Carlos Torres to right for a go-ahead single. Tony Watson set down the Brewers in order in the bottom of the inning, ending the Pirates' nine-game losing streak at Miller Park.
McCutchen went 3-for-5 with the three RBIs. Josh Bell continued to impress with his batting eye, drawing three walks.
The Cardinals and Marlins both lost at home, so the Pirates pulled within 2 1/2 games of St. Louis for the second wild-card spot and just one behind Miami, turning what looked to be a pretty disappointing night into quite a good one.