Cutch takes Lohse deep, then Bucs score six unearned in ninth
Andrew McCutchen must be a quick healer. A few hours after sitting out Saturday night's game with the sore left knee that forced him out of Friday's series opener, McCutchen drilled a three-run homer in the sixth inning to erase Kyle Lohse's 2-1 lead and spark the Pirates to a 10-2 victory Sunday over the Brewers at Miller Park.
"I'm not the type of person who likes to take days off," said McCutchen, who added a fourth RBI by contributing a run-scoring single to the Bucs' breakout six-run ninth. "So it was good that I was able to do something to help the team out."
The score was not lopsided until the ninth inning, when Brewers left fielderKhris Davis dropped a line drive for an error that led to six unearned runs, three of them scoring on Neil Walker's game-breaking home run.
Lohse, bouncing back from a rough Opening Day start in which he allowed eight runs in 3 1/3 innings to the Rockies, entered the sixth with a three-hitter and the lead on Carlos Gomez's two-run homer in the third off rookie Casey Sadler.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Pirates saddle up Sadler: When the Pirates needed a starting pitcher, the call went out to Sadler, who was recalled from Triple-A Indianapolis to takeFrancisco Liriano's turn when the lefty was placed on the paternity list. Sadler answered impressively. He held the Brewers to four hits and two runs in five innings in his first Major League start, being in total command except for a brief lapse in the third inning: Hector Gomez double, Carlos Gomez homer, Ryan Braun single. Sadler walked one and fanned five, throwing 51 of his 77 pitches for strikes. More >
Shanked: Masters Sunday usually means good things for Lohse, but not this time. In three previous starts on the same day as the tournament's final round, including one just last year against the Pirates, Lohse had pitched at least eight innings and surrendered one or fewer runs. He was on his way to another gem Sunday after allowing only three singles and one run through the first five innings, but ran into a buzzsaw in the span of five pitches to begin the sixth. Three straight Pittsburgh hits, including McCutchen's line-drive, three-run home run to right-center field, erased what had been a 2-1 Brewers lead. More >
Kang has his first souvenir baseball: Doubtless the first of many, as every new step for Jung Ho Kang will be a big step for Korean ballplayers. Playing third base in his second consecutive start, Kang checked off the top entry on his list and has his first keepsake, the ball he sent on a soft line into center field in the seventh inning for his first big league hit. More >
Good and bad for Go-Go: It has been a relatively quiet start to the season for Brewers leadoff man Carlos Gomez, who is bidding to improve his on-base percentage and wins above replacement for a fourth consecutive season. Sunday, it was a case of two steps forward, two steps back. Gomez hit a two-run home run off Sadler in the third inning for a 2-1 Brewers lead, and doubled with two outs in the fifth. But Gomez was picked off for the third out of that inning, then missed a chance for redemption in the seventh when he ended a six-pitch battle with hard-throwing Pirates reliever Arquimedes Caminero by grounding into a forceout. It left two men on base and sent the game to the eighth inning with the Brewers trailing by two runs.
Costly error: Davis was perfectly positioned to catch Tony Sanchez's line drive with one out in the ninth inning, but simply dropped it. Davis had to stand there and watch the Pirates use the opening to score six unearned runs, including RBI singles for Corey Hart, Jordy Mercer and McCutchen, followed by Walker's three-run homer. It was his first of the year. More >
QUOTABLE " I know my 80 percent is pretty good. I can play with that. I can battle through it and not make it a big issue, just go out and help the ballclub out." -- McCutchen, on dealing with left-knee discomfort that he feels will be with him for a while.
"We're pretty good at short-term memory. We're kind of designed for the long ball and not many of them are flying over the fence right now. They come and go, and we'll find our rhythm soon." -- Davis, on whether there's any panic about the Brewers' anemic offense.
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS As a substitute for Liriano, the Pirates' Opening Day pitcher, Sadler was the sixth different starter for the Bucs. The last time they had to use six starters for the season's first six games (2001), the names were Todd Ritchie, Terry Mulholland, Jimmy Anderson, Omar Olivares, Bronson Arroyo and Joe Beimel.
WHAT'S NEXT Pirates: The Bucs wing home for their home opener, at 1:35 p.m. ET in PNC Park against the Detroit Tigers -- their first Interleague inaugural. Gerrit Colewill take the mound against Anibal Sanchez in the house where the Pirates' 101 wins the last two seasons were the second most in the Majors (Cardinals, 105).
Brewers: The Brewers will see another stadium draped with bunting when they hit the road for the first time, beginning Monday. Matt Garza will be on the mound against St. Louis ace Adam Wainwright in the Cardinals' home opener, with Wainwright's first pitch scheduled for 3:15 p.m. CT. Garza will be making his sixth career start at Busch Stadium and is still seeking his first victory.