The Brewers hit four home runs, including a grand slam and a three-run shot, on Sunday afternoon. All they really needed was Domingo Santana's first solo homer, as the Pirates couldn't muster much offense and fell in ugly fashion, 10-0, getting swept by Milwaukee and losing their sixth in a row.
The Cardinals beat Cincinnati, 5-2, on Sunday, leaving the Pirates 3 1/2 games back of the second wild-card spot going into St. Louis' three-game visit to Pittsburgh this week.
Santana crushed a Steven Brault fastball over the center-field wall to put Milwaukee up, 1-0, in the second. That score remained until Juan Nicasio relieved Brault for the sixth.
Nicasio quickly got into trouble, giving up a double to Chris Carter and a single to Santana, but rebounded with two quick outs. He walked Jake Elmore to load the bases, though. It seemed the Brewers may have been doing the Pirates a favor by, instead of sending up the scary Ryan Braun, using the merely very good Jonathan Villar as a pinch hitter. But Villar sliced one all the way over the left-field wall for a grand slam.
Kelvin Marte pitched two competent innings, then was left out to dry in the ninth, allowing a Carter three-run shot immediately followed by Santana's second solo homer of the game.
The Pirates got exactly one hit each inning for the first six innings, most of which still tied or down just one. They didn't get a hit after that, as the ballpark steadily emptied, those remaining arguing to prove just how little they were worried about reserving playoff tickets, periodically waving their hands dismissively. For the second time in three games, the Bucs' bats seemed helpless against a string of mediocre Milwaukee pitchers.
Brault allowed a few baserunners -- four hits and three walks in five innings -- but wasn't too bad, striking out five and surrendering just the one run in that time.
The Mets and Marlins, sitting either between the Pirates and the wild card or even with them, both play later Sunday.