Originally written on Raise the Jolly Roger!  |  Last updated 6/2/12

The Pirates were able to keep on rolling on Friday night, despite the dreaded visit to the place that has haunted them for years. The Bucs and Brewers did indeed look like very different teams from the ones we’re used to seeing when they match up, and for Pirate fans, that was a beautiful sight.

The game started out like a typical Milwaukee mess, though. Jose Tabata drew a leadoff walk and stole second off the Brewers’ gimpy catcher that couldn’t throw. But of course, Clint Hurdle ordered up a bunt and Josh Harrison put down a terrible one, enabling the Brewers to cut down Jose at third. After another SB and a walk, the Pirates came up empty (some questionable strike calls didn’t help either). Two walks, two stolen bases, no runs.

Then it got worse in the bottom of the first. Nyjer Morgan, the wack-job that baseball fans (especially Pirate fans nowadays) love to hate, has been struggling mightily so far this year. He recently set an MLB record for the most consecutive plate appearances to start a season without an RBI, and still didn’t have one entering tonight. He also had just one extra base hit coming into the game. Well, of course, Kevin Correia served up a homer to T-Plush. Awful. It looked like it was going to be a long night for Kevin, but he settled down after that.

The Pirates missed another chance in the second after two singles, but more than made up for it in the third. I’m nominating this inning as the best one of the entire season, and it will take one heck of an effort to knock it out of that spot. Harrison led off with a triple to the RF corner (good thing he bunted first time up…) and Andrew McCutchen followed with a triple of his own. 1-1. Pedro struck out, but Neil Walker blooped a single to give the Pirates the lead. Matt Hague and Rod Barajas followed with singles of their own, adding another run. Jordy Mercer walked and Correia hit into a force out, bringing up the slumping Tabata with 2 outs and the bases loaded. Jose whacked one to center, but it was right at Nyjer. But…Nyjer was his typical silly self and misplayed the ball badly, allowing it to sail over his head for a bases clearing double. Never change, T-Plush. All of a sudden, the Pirates were up big: 6-1.

Correia pitched well with the lead. He allowed another solo shot (to Corey Hart) and didn’t quite make it out of the sixth, but it was an OK outing by his standards. I certainly was happy with it after he looked terrible in the first inning.

The game was kind of a drag after that, but every minute of a lead in Milwaukee is enjoyable. The Pirate bullpen was far from dominant and was downright sloppy at times, but didn’t allow a run despite some long innings. McCutchen cleared any doubt about the game possibly being within reach with a 2-run double in the eighth.

The Brewers really aren’t very good, but knocking them off at Miller is still an important hump for this team to get over. The Pirates now have a great shot to take this series with two strong starters going on Saturday and Sunday, and they shouldn’t feel spooked by this stupid stadium any more.

Pirates 8, Brewers 2 / Box / 2012 Record: 26-25 / Next: Saturday, at Brewers, 7:10

MVP: Tabata (+.187) / LVP: Alvarez (-.104) / Key play: Tabata’s double to Morgan

©2012 Raise the Jolly Roger. All Rights Reserved.

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