Fielder's heroics propel Brewers to win
First baseman drills RBI single to plate winning run in ninth
MILWAUKEE -- Brewers starter Dave Bush and Pirates starter Paul Maholm treated Milwaukee fans to a pitchers' duel Saturday, allowing just two runs between them.But that didn't stop Prince Fielder from stealing the show. Despite Maholm's brilliant outing, Fielder was able to capitalize against the Pittsburgh bullpen, giving the Brewers a 2-1 walk-off win at Miller Park. Rickie Weeks walked to lead off the bottom of the ninth inning, J.J. Hardy sacrificed him to second and -- after the Pirates intentionally walked Ryan Braun -- Fielder laced the game-winning hit into the gap in left field, scoring Weeks from second and giving the club a victory. "[In that situation] I'm just trying to see the ball and hit it," Fielder said. "And, hopefully, you get a hit and score the run. I didn't really think about it too much, just tried to go up there and do my job, that's about it." "P [Fielder] thrives on those situations, game-winners," Brewers manager Ned Yost said. "There wasn't any doubt in my mind that he was going to get a hit somewhere." Instead of bringing in a left-hander to face Fielder, Pirates manager John Russell opted to stick with righty Tyler Yates. "[Yates] is throwing the ball great," Russell said. "He's the best chance for a double play. ... If you start running three or four bullpen guys in one inning and try to get out of it, it's going to hurt us." Bush had one of his best starts of the season, working quickly through eight solid innings. He allowed just one run on four hits while striking out a season-high seven batters and walking none. Bush was lifted for a pinch-hitter in the bottom of the eighth inning on his way to a no-decision, as he left the game with the score tied at 1 after having thrown 100 pitches. Holding his baby daughter, Avery, Bush answered questions with a smile after the game, happy with his performance even though he didn't notch a win. "I was able to throw my fastball for strikes, and I could use my off-speed pitches both in and out of the zone," Bush said. "For me, that is always a good combination." "You can't [ask for more], that was as good as he gets right there," Yost said. "He kept the ball down, kept the ball on the outer part of the plate, changed speeds well, and threw all of his pitches for strikes. "Bushy was on top of his game, big time." Matching Bush pitch-for-pitch was Maholm. The lefty threw eight one-run innings of his own, allowing just four hits while striking out six and walking one. The Brewers got on the board first when Mike Cameron hit a solo home run in the second inning. Bush retired nine straight batters in the middle innings, but the Pirates tagged him for one run with back-to-back doubles to begin the fifth inning. But after that, neither team scored until the Brewers pushed across the game-winning run in the bottom of the ninth. Eric Gagne (2-2) took the win after working a scoreless ninth inning to set up the Brewers' offense for the win. Yates (3-2) took the loss due to Fielder's ninth-inning heroics. Gagne -- who was making just his second appearance since returning from the disabled list -- has made a strong case to slot himself right in front of closer Salomon Torres as the Brewers' primary eighth-inning setup man. "When you sit out for a month, it takes time to get everything going again and get your rhythm back," Yost said. "But he's had two very good appearances. The thing about him is that he's done it, he's been in those situations before. "He can handle those situations, and he's been throwing the ball very well since he has been back." Hardy, who was 0-for-3 in the game when he stepped up to the plate in the ninth inning, had his 16-game hitting streak come to an end when he laid down a sacrifice bunt to move Weeks into scoring position. Hardy did what he was asked to do, his team benefited and that's all that mattered to him after the game. "You've got to do whatever you can do for the team," Hardy said. "That comes first. To be honest, I'm kind of happy [the streak] is over because it's stressful going through stuff like that." "We got the win and that's all that matters, J.J. will tell you that," Yost said.
Dave Fultz is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.