The Pittsburgh Pirates (67-58) showed a lot of fight tonight, rallying for a two-run ninth inning to cut the Brewers lead to 6-5, but the Pirates rally came up short as Gaby Sanchez struck out with runners at first and second to end the game. The Pirates losing streak has now reached four games and the growing concern for the Pirates is that they're now 8-14 in their last 22 games, showing signs of another late season collapse and panic is starting to hit the fan base for good reasons.
Wandy Rodriguez (8-13, 4.01 ERA) went 6 2/3 innings, allowing 6 hits and 3 earned runs and everything went wrong for the Pirates in the seventh inning when Rodriguez exited the game with two outs and a runner at first, handing the ball off to reliever Jared Hughes who was a nightmare.
Hughes hit Rickie Weeks on his first pitch and then walked Ryan Braun on four straight balls, setting up the bases loaded and Aramis Ramirez hit a bases clearing double to give the Brewers a commanding 5-2 lead. Hughes then allowed an RBI single to Corey Hart capping off a disaster of a seventh inning as the Brewers took a 6-3 lead after seven.
"He was put through the blender tonight, " manager Clint Hurdle said of Hughes via Chris Adamski. "We've all been put through the blender at one point or another over the last two weeks."
The Pirates trail the Cincinnati Reds (76-51) by 8 games for the division which is a lost cause and are starting to lose some ground in the race for the final wildcard spot, now trailing the St. Louis Cardinals (69-56) by 2 games, and tied with the Los Angeles Dodgers (67-58) who are in the midst of making another blockbuster move for Adrian Gonzalez, Josh Beckett and Carl Crawford, while a very average team in the Arizona Diamondbacks (64-61) are creeping closer in the wildcard race.
Tidbits -- The Pirates claimed an older Chad Qualls today in 37 year old reliever Hisanori Takahashi who went 0-3 with a 4.93 ERA in 42 relief appearances in 2012 with the Anaheim Angels.....The Pirates recalled Jeff Clement this afternoon and Clement struck out in a pinch hit opportunity in the ninth inning with the Pirates trailing 6-4....