MLB: BREWERS 10, PIRATES 4 -- Milwaukee batters Rodriguez
MILWAUKEE — Pittsburgh Pirates starting pitcher Wandy Rodriguez lost control right away against the Milwaukee Brewers on Monday night.
Rodriquez entered the game having walked just three batters in his first four starts of the season. He issued four walks in the first inning against the Brewers, who scored five runs in the frame on their way to a 10-4 victory.
Milwaukee pounded out five home runs and three triples along the way. Three of the home runs were hit off Rodriguez, whose season earned-run average ballooned to 3.91 from 1.66.
“I had bad location. A lot of hitters I started behind in the count,” Rodriguez said. “For the hitter, it’s easy when they know what’s coming. When you’re behind you throw a fastball for a strike and they know a fastball is coming and they hit it.”
Rodriguez (2-1) lasted 3 2-3 innings, giving up six hits and seven runs. He walked four, struck out two and gave up three homers.
“His fastball command wasn’t what he wanted,” Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. “We weren’t able to spot the ball, get the ball where we wanted. The breaking ball didn’t come into play until it was way too late. The change-up really wasn’t a factor.
“So you’re going out there without the three weapons you normally take. You’re leaving balls in the middle of the plate and you get bad results.”
Milwaukee matched a season high for runs, a day after getting shut out 2-0 by the Los Angeles Dodgers.
“We came out really aggressive. Today, everyone was swinging good,” said Brewers outfielder Carlos Gomez, who homered in the fifth. “One through nine, even the pitchers, we can drive the ball.”
Brewers pitcher Yovani Gallardo and Norichika Aoki hit consecutive homers in the fourth before Gomez and Yuniesky Betancourt repeated the feat in the fifth.
Milwaukee hit back-to-back homers twice in a game for the first time since 2005.
“We turned the page today,” said Jean Segura, whose first-inning home run put the Brewers in front 2-1. “I feel great at the plate right now, I’m relaxed and having fun.”
Gallardo (3-1) struggled with his command early but managed to settle down, tossing three-hit ball over seven innings and retiring his final 13 batters while improving to 10-2 against Pittsburgh.
“The last start in San Diego I struggled a little bit. I had to fight for it. Today, in the first few innings, it was the same scenario but the difference today is that I was able to make an adjustment. As the game went on I was able to find that rhythm,” Gallardo said.
He gave up two runs, one earned. He struck out five and walked two.
“I thought he struggled with his command early. Then he got the rhythm and started throwing strikes and finished outstanding,” Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said.
Milwaukee is 45-7 against the Pirates at Miller Park since 2007, the best record by any team against a division opponent during that stretch.
“They play well here. You’ve got to do some things different than we did tonight to slow down the offense. We didn’t,” Hurdle said. “We weren’t able to execute any part of our game plan. Zero.”
The Pirates jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the first, but Milwaukee went ahead in the bottom half on Segura’s two-run shot. The Brewers added three more runs in the inning as Rodriguez struggled to command his pitches.
The Pirates added a run in the third inning as they benefited from a double error by Milwaukee first baseman Martin Maldonado, who misplayed a grounder and then made an errant throw, allowing Garrett Jones to reach second base. Jones scored on Gaby Sanchez’s double.
Solo home runs accounted for the next four Brewers runs as they extended the lead to 9-2 after five innings. Milwaukee added a run in the seventh when Betancourt singled to drive in Gomez, who led off with a triple.
Jones hit a two-run homer in the eighth for the Pirates.
NOTES: Brewers first baseman Corey Hart, who hasn’t played this season, returned to Milwaukee to continue his rehabilitation from January knee surgery. Hart had been working out at the Brewers’ complex in Phoenix. ... The Brewers hit at least three triples in a game for the eighth time in franchise history. ... Marquette men’s basketball coach Buzz Williams threw out the first pitch.