Milwaukee 5, Pittsburgh 3
When: 7:10 PM ET, Saturday, July 30, 2016
Where: Miller Park, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Marty Foster, 1B -
Mike Winters, 2B -
Mark Wegner, 3B -
MILWAUKEE -- Once again, the Milwaukee Brewers had to play short-handed and once again, Hernan Perez came up big in a clutch opportunity.
Perez had three hits, including a two-run home run in the first inning, to lead the Brewers to a 5-3 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates at Miller Park.
"I feel good right now, getting good pitches to swing at," said Perez, who slid into the No. 3 spot in the lineup when Ryan Braun was scratched after batting practice with tightness in his side. "I think I'm putting good swings on the ball and making something happen."
Perez had hits in four of his last five games and two home runs in the last three. Since the All-Star break, he has posted a .360 average with three doubles, three home runs and 14 RBI -- while playing all over the field for manager Craig Counsell.
"He's certainly helping us," Counsell said. "Being able to slip into that spot and still produce, that says something for sure."
Aside from Braun, the Brewers also played without All-Star catcher Jonathan Lucroy, who was held out of the lineup Saturday as trade discussions ramped up in advance of Monday's non-waiver trade deadline.
"Everybody knows what's going on right now," Perez said. "He's a great player, a great catcher. Somebody's going to need him."
Perez's three hits were part of a 12-hit day for the Milwaukee offense which collected six of them at the expense of Pittsburgh starter Jameson Taillon.
Facing Milwaukee for the second time this season, Taillon only allowed two runs and didn't walk a batter while striking out six.
"I felt pretty good," Taillon said." My stuff was all right. Obviuosly, giving up two early in the game put us in a hole. It wasn't ideal, but being able to scratch out six was solid."
Jonathan Villar singled off him to open the game, then advanced to second on his MLB-leading 38th stolen base of the season. Taillon got Scooter Gennett to ground out but missed his mark with a 2-2 fastball to Perez, who sent it to left for his seventh of the season.
"It was a two-seamer that was supposed to run in on his hands," Taillon said. "It didn't do too much."
The Pirates didn't do themselves any favors, squandering their few early chances with some baserunning blunders. Starling Marte led off the second with a double but ended the inning getting caught trying to steal third.
An RBI single by Jung Ho Kang made it 2-1 in the fourth, but Marte got caught in a rundown and Kang was tagged out at the plate trying to score from second.
Scooter Gennett and Perez added insurance runs with back-to-back RBI singles in the seventh. Gregory Polanco got one of those runs back in the eighth with a two-out solo home run off Will Smith, but Kirk Nieuwenhuis followed with his fifth blast of the homestand in the bottom of the inning.
Jeremy Jeffress gave up a two-out RBI single to Jody Mercer in the ninth before earning his 26th save.
Chase Anderson (6-10) earned the victory after allowing just an unearned run on four hits and a pair of walks while tying his career-high with seven strikeouts over five innings of work.
"It was a step forward again today," Anderson said. "I am just trying to be consistent and continue to give the team a chance to win. Last two times I've done that."
NOTES: The Pirates traded RHP Mark Melancon to Washington on Saturday in exchange for LHPs Felipe Rivero and Taylor Hearn. Melancon spent four years with Pittsburgh, going 10-10 with a 1.80 ERA and 130 saves. Rivero, 25, is 0-3 with a 4.53 ERA and one save in 47 appearances for the Nationals this season. Hearn, 21, is a combined 1-0 with a 2.79 ERA for Washington's Rookie level Gulf Coast League and Single-A affiliates. ... Milwaukee C Jonathan Lucroy, the subject of multiple trade rumors as the Monday non-waiver deadline approaches, was held out of the starting lineup, though manager Craig Counsell said there was no deal in place but that talks were "progressing" for GM David Stearns. ... The Brewers have dominated the Pirates in the last decade, posting a 102-56 record -- including a 63-17 mark at Miller Park -- since the start of the 2007 season, giving them the second-highest winning percentage by one team against a division opponent during that stretch.
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