Pittsburgh slams Hoffman in ninth to end 22-game skid at Miller Park
Ryan Doumit hit a grand slam, and Ronny Cedeno had a solo homer off Trevor Hoffman in a five-run ninth inning to help the Pirates snap a 22-game losing streak in Milwaukee with a 7-3 victory over the Brewers on Tuesday night.
Pirates manger John Russell couldn’t have been happier with the huge win.
“That’s how you break a streak, against one of the best closers in the league,” Russell said after the Pirates won at Miller Park for the first time since May 3, 2007. “We battled and found a way to win it. That’s important for these guys right now.”
The Pirates held a 30-minute team meeting after Monday night’s 17-3 drubbing by the Brewers. That was the team’s 22nd straight
defeat at Miller Park.
The Brewers’ home winning streak against Pittsburgh was the longest by one team over another since the Indians beat the St. Louis Browns/Baltimore Orioles 27 consecutive times from 1952-54.
Cedeno’s home run was the catalyst that also snapped a seven-game losing streak for Pittsburgh.
He crushed the second pitch from Hoffman (1-2) over the wall in left to tie the game.
After Andrew McCutchen struck out, Andy Laroche singled for the fourth time and Lastings Millege doubled. Garrett Jones was walked intentionally before Doumit drove a 2-0 pitch into the second-tier of the bleachers for his second career grand slam.
Doumit said that the team just didn’t quit, especially after Prince Fielder greeted reliever Javier Lopez with a homer to deep center in the bottom of the eighth to give the Brewers a 3-2 lead.
“You can get actually boat raced one day and come back the next day and put a hurtin’ on the same team,” Doumit said. “This one feels good. We haven’t won here in Milwaukee in three years.”
Hoffman took full responsibility for this ugly loss.
“I got it handed to me pretty good,” he said. “Prior to that, Randy Wolf pitched a great game. He laid everything out there on the line with 100-plus pitches. The team kept us in the ballgame, which was tight. Prince put us up over the top at the end and into a position to win. I wasnt able to hold it.”
Home runs have been Hoffman’s downfall in all three blown saves. He’s now given up five of them with the win on the line. His ERA skied from 9.00 to 13.50.
“As a whole we lost the ball game and there’s really nobody you can point a finger to other than myself,” Hoffman said.
Brendan Donnelly (2-0) picked up the win when he relieved Lopez with runners at first and second and two outs. Donnelly retired pinch-hitter Jody Gerut to end the threat.
Randy Wolf pitched an effective eight innings when he scattered 10 hits and stranded nine Pirates. He surrendered a run in the second on a double by Doumit and sacrifice fly by Akinori Iwamura and Jeff Clement’s third home run of the season, a solo shot in the fourth. Wolf struck out four and walked one.
Pirate starter Jeff Karstens, a non-roster invitee to spring training, continued his comeback with a solid first start of the season.
The 27-year-old right-hander was called up earlier in the day from Triple-A Indianapolis. He was 3-4 with a 5.16 ERA in 13 starts last season before the Pirates removed him from the 40-man roster Nov. 20.
Karstens went 6 2/3 innings, walked four and struck out four.
Asked if Karstens will get a start on Sunday in Los Angeles, Russell said, “I don’t see any reason why not. The kid deserves to.”
The Brewers had outscored the Pirates 53-4 in their first four games against each other.