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Jordy Mercer's first career grand slam paces Pirates' 5-3 win

Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Jordy Mercer's sixth-inning grand slam keyed a 5-3 Pirates win against the Brewers Friday.

Ryan Vogelsong went 5.1 innings and got the job done, trading zeroes with Matt Garza in an impromptu tribute to the year 2011. In the sixth, Garza (and his defense) finally fell apart. Andrew McCutchen reached on an error by Jonathan Villar, and Gregory Polanco reached as Villar made an error for the second consecutive play. Starling Marte brought a run home with a double to left.

After Francisco Cervelli intentionally walked two batters later, Mercer came to the plate and reached for an 0-2 slider, crushing it to left field before circling both the bases and a visibly aggravated Garza.

What a shame to see Garza so upset. It was Mercer's first career grand slam, and it catapulted the Pirates to a huge 5-0 lead.

The Pirates' pitching finally gave way in the bottom of the inning. Vogelsong walked Chris Carter, then allowed a ground-rule double to former Pirate Keon Broxton, whose breakout 2016 season continues. Jared Hughes, who continues to get opportunities for some reason, entered and promptly elevated a fastball for Brewers rookie Orlando Arcia's first career homer, a three-run shot. For the season, Hughes has inherited 35 runners, and 23 have scored. In this case, it was 5-0, and if there's ever a time to use him, I guess that was it. But there might not ever be a time to use him at this point.

Fortunately for the Bucs, that's where the scoring would stop. Antonio Bastardo, Felipe Rivero, Neftali Feliz and Tony Watson took over from there. With the victory, the 65-61 Pirates stayed within 2.5 games of the Cardinals and one of the Marlins in the Wild Card chase, as both teams also won today.