Henderson, Brewers lose 4-3 to Pirates
Jonathan Lucroy tried to absorb some of the blame for another rough outing from Jim Henderson.
"I'm with him, man," the Milwaukee Brewers catcher said. "I'm there behind the plate. I see it. I called those pitches that got hit out. I share the blame myself."
Henderson gave up pinch-hitter Travis Snider's home run in the ninth inning that lifted Pittsburgh to a 4-3 win over the Brewers on Tuesday night - a victory that clinched the Pirates' first non-losing record in 21 seasons.
Henderson's last appearance ended poorly, too. He took the loss and a blown save Friday in a 6-5 loss to the Los Angeles Angels, grooving a pitch that Hank Conger drilled for a two-run homer in the ninth inning.
Tuesday night against the Pirates, Snider drove a 2-2 pitch from Henderson (3-5) over the wall in center for his second pinch-hit homer of the season. His first came against the Chicago Cubs on May 21.
"He (Snider) had fouled that fastball off pretty good right before that (home run) pitch," said Lucroy. "I was thinking, `Let's throw a slider right here and keep it down. He'll probably swing at it if it's down.'"
"He just hung it right into his swing," Lucroy said.
Jean Segura had two hits and Lucroy drove in two runs for Milwaukee, which has lost five in a row.
It was victory No. 81 for Pittsburgh, ensuring it will not finish with a losing record for the first time since going 96-66 in 1992. More importantly, it boosted the Pirates' lead in the NL Central to two games over St. Louis.
"It was on our to-do list," Hurdle said. "We'll move on from here. Our plans are continue to play and compete and go further."
Mark Melancon pitched the ninth for his 11th save, striking out Khris Davis with a runner on second to make it four straight wins for Pittsburgh at Miller Park for the first time since 2002. The Pirates lost 44 of 51 games in Milwaukee from 2007-2012.
"The one family I'm happy for is the Clemente family," Hurdle said of the Pirates great. "They told me earlier in the season that we can't have 21 losing seasons, that we've got to find a way to not have Roberto's number tied to that. I told them we'd find a way to take care of that. It's been taken care of."
Pittsburgh went ahead 3-2 in the eighth. Andrew McCutchen walked with one out and raced around to third when newly-acquired Justin Morneau followed with a perfectly executed hit-and-run single into left field. Marlon Byrd then hit an RBI double off Brandon Kintzler into the left-field corner.
Pinch-hitter Pedro Alvarez was intentionally walked to load the bases with two outs, and Kintzler got pinch-hitter Gaby Sanchez to fly out to end the threat.
Morneau, who was acquired in a trade with Minnesota on Saturday, had three hits. Byrd, who came over in last week's deal with the New York Mets, went 2 for 3 with two RBIs and has hit safely in six of his first seven games with Pittsburgh.
Snider said that the addition of Morneau and Byrd has been a big boost.
"I think all of us are fortunate and blessed to have those guys on this team," he said. "To help us as a squad, the city of Pittsburgh and the fans that have been grinding for the last 20 years, give them something to be excited about and make a push on this thing."
The Brewers rallied in the bottom of the eighth against Mazzaro. Pinch-hitter Caleb Gindl walked, advanced on a groundout and scored on Segura's base hit.
Yovani Gallardo pitched seven solid innings for Milwaukee, allowing two runs and five hits. The right-hander, who threw seven shutout innings at Pittsburgh in his previous start, is 11-4 with a 2.59 ERA in 20 career appearances against the Pirates.
McCutchen went deep with two out in the first for his 18th homer of the season and No. 100 for his career. But Milwaukee responded with two runs against Gerrit Cole in the bottom half on Lucroy's two-run single to right.
Cole gave up two runs and five hits over six innings. He struck out five and walked one.
NOTES: The Brewers have lost six straight games at home since August 21. ... The Brewers have surrendered 156 home runs, the most in the NL. ... Lucroy's two RBIs gives him 71, the most by a catcher in the majors this season. ... Pittsburgh activated closer Jason Grilli from the disabled list. The 36-year-old right-hander had been on the DL since straining the right flexor tendon in his pitching arm during a 6-5 victory over Washington on July 22. He had been on a rehab assignment in the minors before being recalled. Manager Clint Hurdle said Grilli will make a couple of relief appearances in non-save situations before resuming his role as the closer. He made the All-Star team for the first time this season and was second in the NL with 30 saves at the time of his injury. ... The Brewers recalled 1B/OF Sean Halton and RHP Johnny Hellweg and selected the contract of RHP Jimmy Nelson from Triple-A Nashville.