Braun, Bush lift Brewers past Bucs
Right-hander allows just one run in 6 2/3 innings
PITTSBURGH -- The Brewers earned very few style points in their 3-1 win over the Pirates at PNC Park on Friday night.
Milwaukee was out-hit, 8-6, and committed twice as many errors as Pittsburgh.
But the Brewers managed to do all the other little things to pick up their 78th win of the year, and they now have a 4 1/2-game lead in the National League Wild Card standings after the Cardinals' loss at Houston on Friday.
"We kind of scored just enough to win," said starter Dave Bush, who threw 6 2/3 quality innings to gain his ninth win of the season.
The Brewers, who improved to 9-1 against the Pirates this season, took advantage of a wild Pirates starter Tom Gorzelanny in the first. Rickie Weeks singled and J.J. Hardy walked to begin the ballgame before Braun launched a hanging changeup over the Clemente Wall in right field.
Just like that, the Brewers had a three-run lead.
"Fortunately we got to him early," Braun said
That's because Gorzelanny suddenly changed personalities and began throwing like the dominating left-hander he was in 2007. As it turned out, Milwaukee would get only four hits in Gorzelanny's seven innings, and only two more off Pirates relievers.
"He started banging strikes and keeping the ball down," manager Ned Yost said of Gorzelanny. "We never really had a good opportunity [the rest of the game]. He just settled in. He pitched really, really well from that point."
Luckily for the Brewers, Bush was even more impressive.
The right-hander, who came into the game with a career 14-26 road record, scattered six hits, struck out two and walked two. The outing continues an impressive August run for Bush, who is now 4-0 in five starts this month.
His only mistake came in the fifth when Pirates All-Star Nate McLouth drilled the first pitch he saw to center field for his 23rd home run.
"It's always nice when you score early," Bush said. "It takes a little bit of pressure off knowing one swing is not going to beat you."
In the third, the Brewers got sloppy with two errors. Bush got the first two batters of the inning to fly out, but a walk to McLouth and fielding errors by Weeks and Prince Fielder allowed the Pirates to load the bases. However, Bush settled things by getting Brandon Moss to fly out to center to end the inning.
"The only good thing was they both came with two outs," Bush said of the errors. "When those come early, that makes it more difficult. I ended up making a pitch I needed to make. I was able to throw it in the zone today and [it] helps me put the ball in play."
Bush got into even more trouble in the fourth, when Andy LaRoche doubled with one out. Jack Wilson then sent a dribbler up the middle, but Hardy was able to smother it and prevent LaRoche from scoring. Bush complemented Hardy's effort by getting right fielder Nyjer Morgan to pop out to second to end the threat.
"He got some great plays [on defense]," Yost said. "Defense was stellar. The pitching was very good. You'd like to tack on and make it a little bit easier throughout the game, but Bush and the defense made that hold up."
"I felt like they had the momentum after that first inning," said Braun, who is now 9-for-18 with three home runs against Gorzelanny in his career. "They had quite a few opportunities, quite a few chances. It seemed like we were letting them get into the game by not fielding the ball as cleanly as we should have."
Brian Shouse and Eric Gagne picked up holds by combining for 1 1/3 scoreless innings, and Salomon Torres picked up his 26th save in the ninth.
Gagne's performance stood out because he came late to Friday's game due to the birth of his fourth child earlier in the day. Yost used the right-hander despite him arriving in Pittsburgh only an hour before game time.
Todd Krise is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.