By GENARO C. ARMAS
AP Sports Writer
MILWAUKEE (AP) Jonathan Lucroy hit a bases-loaded, two-run single, and the battered Milwaukee Brewers withstood the early exits of star outfielders Carlos Gomez and Ryan Braun to beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 5-2 on Tuesday night.
Gomez scored the second run on Lucroy’s single in the third after getting hit by a changeup from Gerrit Cole (3-3). It was their first meeting since the teams brawled last month in Pittsburgh after Cole and Gomez exchanged words.
No confrontations Tuesday, though Gomez did leave the game with lower back tightness. Manager Ron Roenicke said Gomez woke up Monday with a tight back and tried to play through it.
Braun was activated from the disabled list earlier Tuesday. His departure after the sixth was planned as he gets acclimated in his return from an oblique injury.
Marco Estrada (3-1) struck out eight in six innings. Francisco Rodriguez tossed a hitless ninth for his 16th save.
Jean Segura added two hits, the second after a shot up the middle deflected off the mound and squirted in between first and second to allow Lucroy to score from second for a four-run lead in the seventh.
The Brewers welcomed the fortuitous bounce with three of their top bats out of the lineup. Third baseman Aramis Ramirez was placed on the disabled list with a pulled left hamstring earlier Tuesday.
Neil Walker hit a solo homer that landed on the concourse beyond left-center in the first to extend his hitting streak to five.
It was one of six hits allowed by Estrada, who looked like he was having trouble much off the night locating his off-speed stuff. He needed 112 pitches to get through his outing.
Still, it was more than enough for Milwaukee, and Rodriguez bounced back nicely from his first blown save on Sunday.
Pitching has played a crucial role with Milwaukee racing out to a 25-14 mark and the NL Central lead – all while enduring injuries to key hitters. Braun finished 0 for 2 with a walk, striking out swinging in the fifth with runners on second and third.
Two days after getting hit by a pitch in the left forearm against the Yankees, Gomez was hit on the same arm with an off-speed pitch from Cole. He smiled after reaching first, but left after the fifth with the tight back.
Cole allowed seven hits, three walks and three runs in 5 2-3 innings. The right-hander with a fastball that reached 100 mph struck out six.
Gomez and other players on both teams said they were over the ill feelings left over from their April 20 brawl.
Notes: The Brewers challenged an out call on Lyle Overbay’s grounder that deflected off the mound with one out and a runner on in the seventh. The call stood after a review of roughly 3 1/2 minutes. …… Gomez and Pirates OF Travis Snider, who exchanged shoves during last month’s brawl, ran into each other at a Milwaukee steakhouse during each team’s off day Monday. “We shook hands, he gave me a hug and everything is cool. There (are) no hard feelings,” Gomez said. … Pittsburgh sends Francisco Liriano (0-3) to the mound Wednesday against Milwaukee’s Wily Peralta (4-2).
Follow Genaro Armas at http://twitter.com/GArmasAP
Updated May 14, 2014
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