PITTSBURGH -- The Pittsburgh Pirates finally found their offense and were rewarded with a rare win.
Andy LaRoche, Garrett Jones and Ronny Cedeno homered and the Pirates won for only the second time in their past 14 games, 9-5 over the Milwaukee Brewers on Monday night.The Pirates scored a total of four runs during a four-game losing streak and did not homer in their just-completed five-game trip. But eight of nine starters had hits Monday, seven scored and seven had at least one RBI."It takes a lot of pressure off everybody," Pittsburgh manager John Russell said. "The guys realize we haven't scored runs ... and when they've gotten a chance with guys on base, they want to be the guy who comes through. Nobody's really been relaxing, so getting some hits today seemed to relax everybody."Mike Cameron and Prince Fielder homered for the Brewers, who failed to get back to .500 and fell seven games behind the Colorado Rockies in the NL wild card.Kevin Hart (4-2) earned his first win as a Pirate in three starts since being acquired in a trade with the Chicago Cubs on July 30. He allowed four runs and nine hits in six innings, striking out four."I think it helps when you go out there and get a five-run lead to take a deep breath," Hart said."We'll take the win right now, take it as something for us to build on," he said.The Pirates entered the game having lost 17 of their previous 20 and on an eight-game home losing streak. They fell behind 1-0 when Felipe Lopez tripled to lead off the game -- extending his hitting streak to 12 games -- and Craig Counsell followed with an RBI single.Pittsburgh homered in the next two innings. LaRoche hit his sixth, a solo shot with one out off Carlos Villanueva (2-10).Jones' homer -- on the first pitch he saw in the third after Young had singled -- was his 13th but only second with a runner on and first in eight games. Jones was promoted to the majors on June 30 but leads all rookies in home runs."It was definitely good to be able to swing the bats the way we did," Jones said. "We drove the ball real well in the gaps with men on base. Running around the bases like that was a lot of fun."The Pirates sent 10 men to the plate in that inning, adding three runs on RBI singles by Lastings Milledge and Hart and a double by Andrew McCutchen."It was a tough inning," Villanueva said. "They hit a couple balls good, but at the same time there were a couple hits here and there that dropped in that weren't hit that hard. I just couldn't keep a crooked number off the board there. If I limited the damage that inning, we have a chance to win the game."Cedeno's third homer gave Pittsburgh a 9-5 lead in the seventh after Milwaukee had come back within two runs.The Brewers trailed 6-1 heading into the fourth but Fielder lined the second pitch of the inning into the elevated seats in right field, his 31st homer.With two outs and Ryan Braun on second in the sixth, Cameron hit his 17th homer -- only his second since July 29.Delwyn Young's RBI single in the bottom of the inning pushed the Pirates' lead back to three runs before Fielder added an RBI single in the seventh."It's always good -- regardless of what kind of road trip we had -- just to able to go out there and put up a five-spot in an inning, you get a little more comfortable when the game's not so close," McCutchen said. "The way things have been going, we haven't been able to hold onto one-run leads, so it's good to be able to get a few runs and go from there."In four innings, Villanueva allowed six runs and 11 hits. He fell to 0-3 since being inserted into the rotation on July 28 and has lost his last seven decisions.The Brewers have scored at lest five runs in each of their past seven games (7.2 per contest) but have won only three of them."You've got to compliment the position players," Brewers manager Ken Macha said. "They've been doing well, they've been fighting back and they're scrapping regardless of what the score is. They'll continue to battle. Hopefully we'll get them some good starts here."
The Pirates set their rotation after being rained out Sunday. Right-hander Ross Ohlendorf will pitch Tuesday against the Brewers, followed by left-hander Paul Maholm on Wednesday. ... Cameron and Fielder have nine-game hitting streaks. ... Pittsburgh's only other victory since Aug. 1 -- a 7-3 win over Colorado on Aug. 11 -- had been the only time since then the team had scored at least seven runs.