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Bucs bullpen blows it against Brewers

Bucs bullpen blows it against Brewers
The Pirates' 16-game run of futility against the Milwaukee Brewers has included a near no-hitter, shutouts and blowouts. But none of the previous losses was quite as hard to stomach as Monday's 7-4 nightmare.

"Everything was going our way until the eighth inning," starter Paul Maholm said. "I don't know if things started creeping into guys' heads or what, but that's when we've got to drop the hammer, and we didn't."

Lefty reliever John Grabow blew a two-run lead in the eighth. Closer Matt Capps coughed up a 4-3 lead in the ninth ? getting his first blown save via J.J. Hardy's sacrifice fly and Rickie Weeks' three-run homer.

"A tough one to put down," said Capps (0-2), who yielded three hits and a walk in the ninth.

It's the sixth loss in seven games for the Pirates (12-13). They slipped under .500 for the first time since April 9, when they were 4-5.

The Pirates have not beaten the Brewers since May 22, 2008. Milwaukee's winning streak against the Pirates is the longest in the majors since Arizona beat Cincinnati 16 consecutive times from May 8, 2001 to Aug. 13, 2003.

"I can't explain it," Pirates outfielder Brandon Moss said. "After J.J. hit that double, I thought we had 'em."

Moss referred to Jason Jaramillo's RBI double with two outs in the eighth, which gave the Pirates a 4-3 edge.

But the Brewers began the ninth with back-to-back singles by Jason Kendall and pinch-hitter Craig Counsell. Capps walked Corey Hart, loading the bases and drawing an uneasy groan from the crowd of 8,482.

Hardy's sacrifice fly tied the game, 4-4. Weeks ripped a full-count fastball into the left field bleachers for his sixth homer.

"It wasn't a good pitch," Capps said. "The 2-2 one was. I should never have been in the situation where I had to throw him the 3-2 pitch."

Capps is 5 for 6 in save chances this season. But over his past two outings, the right-hander has allowed six runs on eight hits.

The bullpen's implosion wasted a solid outing by Maholm, who allowed two runs on six hits in 7.1 innings. He struck out seven and walked one.

"Paul did his job," manager John Russell said. "He pitched a great game."

Maholm got the first out of the eighth, then left the game after issuing his first walk of the game to Hardy.

"I felt good," Maholm said. "I could've kept going. But it was a tight game, and we have a great bullpen. Games like that happen."

With two outs, Grabow came in to face lefty-hitting Prince Fielder, who singled to center. Mike Cameron walked, loading the bases.

Ryan Braun ? who was not in the starting lineup because he had an MRI exam on his sore back earlier in the day in Milwaukee ? pinch-hit for Chris Duffy. On an 0-2 pitch, Braun blooped a game-tying double into right field.

It's the fourth outing in a row in which Grabow has allowed at least one run.

"He'll be all right," Russell said. "It's just one of those things."

The Pirates built a 3-1 lead against righty Yovani Gallardo. Brandon Moss hit an RBI triple and Andy LaRoche smacked his first homer.

After the Brewers tied it, 3-3, in the eighth, the Pirates regained the lead in the bottom of the inning.

With two outs, Ramon Vazquez lined a single to right field against reliever Mark DiFelice (3-0). Jaramillo followed with a deep blast to right. Corey Hart couldn't make what would have been a tricky catch, and Jaramillo wound up with an RBI double.

How they scored

Brewers first inning (Paul Maholm pitching): Corey Hart singled to second base. J.J. Hardy singled to left field, Hart to second. Rickie Weeks flied out to right, Hart to third. Prince Fielder grounded to first base, fielder's choice, Hart scored, Hardy out at second. Brewers 1, Pirates 0

Pirates second (Yovanni Gallardo pitching): Adam LaRoche walked. Brandon Moss tripled to center, LaRoche scored. Pirates 1, Brewers 1

Pirates fourth: Andy LaRoche hit a solo home run (No. 1) to left on a 1-0 pitch. Pirates 2, Brewers 1

Pirates fifth: With one out, Freddy Sanchez doubled to right. Nate McLouth singled to center, Sanchez scored. Pirates 3, Brewers 1

Brewers eighth: With one out, J.J. Hardy walked. (John Grabow pitching) With two outs, Fielder singled to center, Hardy to second. Mike Cameron walked, loading the bases. Ryan Braun (pinch-hitting for Chris Duffy) doubled to right, Hardy and Fielder scored. Pirates 3, Brewers 3

Pirates eighth (Mark DiFelice pitching): With two outs, Ramon Vazquez singled to right. Jason Jaramillo doubled to right, Vazquez scored. Pirates 4, Brewers 3

Brewers ninth (Matt Capps pitching): Jason Kendall singled to center. Craig Counsell (pinch-hitting for DiFelice) singled to center, Kendall to second. Hart walked, loading the bases. Hardy flied out to center, Kendall scored, Counsell to third. Weeks hit a three-run homer (No. 6) to left on a 3-2 pitch. Brewers 7, Pirates 4

Author:Fox Sports
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Added: May 6, 2009

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