Brewers keep winning, keep pace in Wild Card chaseWisconsin Sports
-- Marco Estrada pitched seven shutout innings last night, as the Milwaukee Brewers kept pace in the playoff chase with a 3-1 victory at Pittsburgh.
PITTSBURGH - Marco Estrada pitched seven shutout innings last night, as the Milwaukee Brewers kept pace in the playoff chase with a 3-1 victory at Pittsburgh.
Estrada gave up three hits and a walk. And he struck out four, as he won his second straight decision and improved to 4-6 on the year. The Brewers have won four straight overall. They remain two-and-a-half games behind Saint Louis for the final National League Wild Card spot, after the Cardinals blanked Houston 5-0. The Brewers also moved to within a half-game of second-place Los Angeles. The Dodgers are two games back after splitting a double-header at Washington.
The Brewers won despite hitting into four double plays. Norichika Aoki hit a lead-off homer – the 185th blast for Milwaukee this year, which leads the National League. Estrada made it 2-nothing with an R-B-I single in the fifth. Jean Segura scored Milwaukee’s final run in the seventh after he tripled and scored on an error by Pittsburgh second baseman Brock Holt. John Axford pitched the ninth and earned his 30th save. He gave up the Brewers’ first run since last Saturday night, when Andrew McCutcheon hit a solo homer. Kyle McPherson lost his first career start for the Pirates, giving up two runs in four-and-a-third innings.
Pittsburgh has now lost 14-of-its-last-18. The Pirates dropped to .500, and are now four-and-a-half games out of the Wild Card race. The Brewers will try to sweep their three-game series at PNC Park this afternoon. Rookie right-hander Mike Fiers starts against Pirates’ southpaw Wandy Rodriguez.
The Brewers could become the first National League team since 1996 to lead the league in both home runs and stolen bases. Milwaukee has pounded 185 homers, the most in the NL and the fourth-most in the Majors. And the Brewers top the Majors in stolen bases with 143, after they stole seven on Tuesday and Carlos Gomez stole one last evening at Pittsburgh. Gomez now has 34 steals this year. Norichika Aoki and Ryan Braun both have 27. They’re the first trio of Milwaukee players to steal at least 25 bases in the same season since 1992 – when Paul Molitor, Darryl Hamilton, and Pat Listach did it. Braun says many people perceive Milwaukee as a team that relies on the big homer to win – but it’s not really true. Braun says the Brewers are good at running the bases and quote, “If you rely on the homer, you really get yourself in trouble. So you try to find a way to manufacture runs sometimes, too.”