Conrad ends slump with HR, Brewers top Pirates 5-1
Shawn Marcum (4-3) pitched seven strong innings for Milwaukee, giving up five hits while striking out eight without a walk.
Pirates starter Erik Bedard (3-6) lasted just 3 2-3 innings. He allowed five hits, five runs and three walks in his shortest outing of the season other than a May 9 game against Washington that he left in the second because of back spasms.
Cody Ransom had a two-run single for Milwaukee and Rickie Weeks — hitting just .158 coming in — reached base all four times with two hits and two walks. Weeks also stole two bases as the Brewers bounced back from an ugly 8-2 loss to the Pirates on Friday.
Milwaukee has won five of six. Pittsburgh had won two in a row and six of seven.
Brewers third baseman Aramis Ramirez came out in the seventh inning with a left quadriceps strain and will be re-evaluated by team doctors Sunday.
Milwaukee also was without slugger Ryan Braun, who aggravated his right Achilles tendon injury and strained his right hip sliding into second base Friday. Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said he might also hold Braun out of Sunday's game. The team has a day off Monday.
Those are the latest in a series of injuries that have beset the Brewers, making Conrad's role all the more important. The utility player, starting at first base, delivered Saturday — finally.
He had a sacrifice fly in the second to put Milwaukee up 1-0 after the Brewers loaded the bases with no outs.
Garrett Jones' homer in the fourth tied it at 1.
Milwaukee responded with four runs in the bottom half. Ramirez led off with a single and Weeks doubled. Ransom, hitless in his last 13 at-bats, followed with a two-run single and Conrad smacked an opposite-field homer just over the wall and into the picnic area in right field.
The swing ended a painful streak for Conrad.
The former Atlanta Braves infielder signed a minor league contract with the Brewers in January, with an invitation to spring training. He didn't make the opening-day roster and began the season at Triple-A Nashville. He was hot early, hitting .400 with five homers and 13 RBIs before a May 4 call-up to help replace infielder Mat Gamel after his season-ending knee injury.
After going 0 for 21 with Milwaukee, Conrad was optioned back to Nashville on May 19. He didn't stay down long. He hit five homers with 15 RBIs in six games with the Sounds between May 21 and 26, and the Brewers recalled him Monday.
Both starters were coming off wins. Bedard gave up two hits in six scoreless innings in a victory against the Chicago Cubs on Sunday. Marcum allowed six hits and one run against the Los Angeles Dodges on Monday, striking out nine.
NOTES: Ransom also made a spectacular play in the sixth, diving on a hard-hit grounder by Neil Walker up the middle and then, from his stomach, flipping the ball to Weeks, who barely beat Jones to the bag for the force out. ... It was Cerveceros Day at Miller Park. Both teams wore Spanish-language jerseys, and Brewers RHP Yovani Gallardo took pregame batting practice wearing a large foam sombrero. ... Brewers RHP Mike Fiers makes his second major league start Sunday after winning first one in impressive fashion Tuesday against the Dodgers (seven innings, five hits, one run, no walks, three strikeouts).
Last updated: 8:52 pm Thursday, December 13, 2012