Hoffman earns 599th save, Brewers sweep Pirates
The all-time saves leader entered the game with one out in the ninth and two runners on base, and retired both batters he faced to convert his eighth save in 13 chances this year. The right-hander lost his closer's job to John Axford earlier in the season, but manager Ken Macha in recent weeks has allowed him to close games with leads of three runs or more in an effort to get him to 600 saves.
The Brewers roughed up Pittsburgh starter Charlie Morton for eight runs in just 3 1-3 innings on a day where, for the first time, the retractable roof at Miller Park was positioned in an effort to diminish the shadows on the field.
The team said it consulted with umpiring crew chief Mike Reilly, then left two of the panels hanging over right field so the batter and pitcher were both in the shadows from the first pitch of the game. Hitters have complained for years that the shadows were particularly tough at Miller Park during day games.
With the loss, Morton (1-10) becomes the fifth Pittsburgh pitcher with at least 10 losses — the first time since 1954 the Pirates have had at least five hurlers with double-digit losses. The right-hander was making his first major league appearance in three months. He saw his ERA climb to 10.03 in 11 starts by giving up eight runs, seven earned, on nine hits and a walk with one strikeout.
Neil Walker, Ryan Doumit and Delwyn Young each homered off Milwaukee starter Dave Bush (7-11), but the right-hander only gave up four runs, three earned, and two walks with four strikeouts in seven innings to earn the win.
The Pirates have lost 13 consecutive road games.
Walker's two-run homer, his seventh homer this year, gave Pittsburgh a 2-0 lead in the first.
Milwaukee took the lead for good, 3-2, in the bottom half of the inning. With the bases loaded, Chris Dickerson hit a liner to right for a single, scoring Joe Inglett and Braun to tie the score. Morton, called up from the minors to start when Ross Ohlendorf was placed on the disabled list with a shoulder injury, then threw wildly to first in a pickoff attempt, allowing Casey McGehee to score from third for the tiebreaking run.
The Brewers made it 6-2 in the third on an RBI groundout by Dickerson, and RBI singles by Alcides Escobar and George Kottaras.
Doumit's 11th homer brought Pittsburgh to 6-3 in the fourth.
Braun's 19th homer, a two-run shot, gave Milwaukee an 8-3 lead in the bottom of the inning and chased Morton from the game.
Young hit his sixth homer of the year in the seventh.
The other Pirates pitchers with double-digit losses are Zach Duke (6-12), Paul Maholm (7-12), Ohlendorf (1-11) and Jeff Karstens (2-10).
Notes: Pirates RHP Evan Meek was hit on the right hand by a hard liner from Braun in the eighth inning and left the game with trainers gingerly holding his right arm. ... Morton opened the season in the rotation and made 10 starts before being placed on the DL in late May with shoulder fatigue. When he recovered, he was optioned to Triple-A Indianapolis. ... The 1954 pitchers who lost double-digit games were Max Surkont (9-18), Vern Law (9-13), Bob Friend (7-12), Dick Littlefield (10-11) and Paul LaPalme (4-10). That team went 53-101.
Last updated: 2:36 pm Thursday, December 13, 2012