The Pirates stubbornly continued to refuse to excuse themselves from the NL Wild Card race Tuesday, opening a series at Miller Park with a 6-3 win over the Brewers.
The Bucs started the game with a bang, as Adam Frazier singled, Josh Bell walked, and Andrew McCutchen brought them both home with a double to left. As has so often been the case since they came up, Frazier and Bell were both catalysts for the Pirates' offense -- Frazier went 3-for-4 and now has an .894 OPS, while Bell had a key hit later in the game and is at .878.
Domingo Santana knocked in a run with a double off Steven Brault in the third, and the two teams traded runs in the fourth. Brault helped his cause by singling to start the fifth, and was followed by Frazier, who doubled, and Bell, who brought home both with a single up the middle.
Brault had run up a fairly high pitch count and allowed the first two batters of the inning to reach base when the Pirates replaced him with Jared Hughes in the fifth, which -- uh-oh. But Chris Carter hit a liner toward third on Hughes' first pitch, and Jung Ho Kang helped turn it into a double play that limited the Brewers' scoring to one run.
The Pirates tacked on a run in the sixth on singles by Francisco Cervelli, Sean Rodriguez and Jordy Mercer, and the Bucs held on from there. Wade LeBlanc avoided getting into too much trouble in the sixth, and Juan Nicasio, Antonio Bastardo and Tony Watson held down the late innings.
With the win, the Pirates returned to .500, at 75-75. They're 4.5 games back in the Wild Card chase.