Originally posted on Raise the Jolly Roger!  |  Last updated 7/14/12

The Pirates didn’t lose any momentum at the plate over the All-Star break, but struggled on the mound for most of the night in a long and painful 10-7 loss to the Brewers on Friday.

James McDonald was not very good. He struggled to put hitters away early on, ran his pitch count up very quickly, and missed badly far too often. He hung a slider to Ryan Braun that (as you’d predict) quickly ended up in the seats. Then the damage got worse with a walk, single, and double (compounded by a misplay in LF by Drew Sutton) to give the Brewers a quick 3-0 lead. McDonald got into more trouble in the second, but escaped with the bases loaded, possibly giving the Bucs some momentum.

Right on cue, the offense started to make noise against Zack Greinke. They scratched across a run in the third with a Sutton double and a Brewers error, then set up shop again in the fourth. Sutton doubled again to bring home one run, and then Neil Walker (who had a bad three-pitch K in an earlier RBI situation) delivered an impressive 3-run blast. All of a sudden the Pirates were in the lead, and Walker’s numbers keep getting better.

McDonald still couldn’t settle in, though, and allowed a run in the fourth to bring the lead down to one. But, the Pirates got it right back with a MAMMOTH shot by Pedro Alvarez on an inside pitch. Pedro’s 17th made it 6-4.

McDonald got into yet another jam in the fifth, and was removed for Jared Hughes, who allowed one of J-Mac’s runners to score before escaping. Brad Lincoln was next, but wasn’t able to be the shutdown guy he usually has been in the bullpen. Braun took him deep to tie the game.

The Pirates got the first two men on in the seventh but couldn’t do anything with them, and in the eighth they wasted a leadoff walk with a pathetic attempt at some small ball.

For some reason with the game tied in the eighth and no fearsome lefties due up, Clint Hurdle brought in Tony Watson. Watson got into some trouble but also got into a position to escape. With two on and two out, the Bucs opted to walk Rickie Weeks (hitting .200, but better recently) to face Cody Ransom (.214 and had looked bad on the night). Watson fell behind early, then came back to get the count to 2-2, but grooved the fifth pitch (and the fifth fastball) of the AB and paid for it…dearly. Ransom crushed it for his first career grand slam, making it 10-6 and essentially a ballgame.

Again, no clue why Watson was in there. It honestly made no sense to me at all. But it would’ve been moot if he could’ve gotten Cody Ransom out.

Andrew McCutchen homered in the ninth to make it 10-7 (and a 3-for-4 night, although Braun certainly outplayed him in terms of the MVP race) but the Pirates never got the tying run to the plate.

Rough loss. Every pitcher that took the mound struggled, and the game dragged on painfully. Still, the bats looked pretty good again (against a very tough pitcher) so it wasn’t all bad, I guess.

The Reds defeated the Cardinals, so the Pirates moved back into a tied for first place.

Brewers 10, Pirates 7 / Box / 2012 Record: 48-38 / Next: Saturday, at Brewers, 7:10

MVP: Walker (+.290) / LVP: Watson (-.382) / Key play: Ransom’s slam

©2012 Raise the Jolly Roger. All Rights Reserved.

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