Shaun Marcum (2-1) looked dominant during seven shutout innings in the Brewers 6-0 victory over the Pirates. The Pirates’ lineup was completely overmatched, as Marcum allowed only four hits while striking out four and walking one.
Marcum has settled down after an unremarkable first outing in Cincinnati, where he allowed four runs (three earned) over 4 2/3 innings while walking five. On August 7 in Milwaukee, he struck out four Braves batters and allowed two runs over six innings.
Tonight, Marcum never lost control of the game. Lyle Overbay broke up a no-hitter with a lead-off single in the fifth inning. Marcum then allowed another single to Matt Diaz before striking out Pedro Alvarez and inducing easy outs from Ryan Doumit and Ronny Cedeno. It would be the closest the Pirates would come to scoring until the bottom of the seventh, when Marcum allowed singles to both Diaz and Alvarez before inducing an inning-ending double play ball from Ryan Doumit.
Zach Braddock, Kameron Loe, and Mitch Stetter combined to pitch two scoreless innings, and the Brewers tossed a four-pitcher shutout.
Prince Fielder continued his hot hitting with a three-run home run in the sixth. The bottom of the order also contributed, with Yuniesky Betancourt and Marcum knocking in the final two runs in the seventh. Jonathan Lucroy also had a hit in his first game back following a DL stint with a broken finger.
Much to the consternation of many Brewers fans, Mark Kotsay got the start in right field and went hitless before Nyjer Morgan replaced him as a pinch runner in the seventh. Morgan would score on Betancourt double, barely beating a throw from the outfield and bowling over Pirates catcher Ryan Doumit in the process. Morgan’s no-holds-barred style at home plate is sure fun to watch, but the Brewers were up by four runs at the time so it wasn’t exactly necessary.
In any event, the Brewers won handily and are now 6-5 on the season, with one more game against the Pirates before heading to Washington for a three-game weekend series. This stretch of games is critical for the Brewers, who should be able to win both series. Doing so would put them in a great position when they face the dominant Phillies on April 18, 19, and 20.