MILWAUKEE (AP) – Chris Carter hit his 37th home run, matching his career high, and Scooter Gennett sliced an opposite-field, two run homer to help the Milwaukee Brewers avoid another sweep at Miller Park by the Pittsburgh Pirates with a 3-1 win Thursday night.

Pittsburgh entered 3 1/2 games back of New York, St. Louis and San Francisco, all tied for the NL wild-card lead.

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Chase Anderson (9-11) allowed four hits in 5 2/3 innings, including a fifth-inning home run by Francisco Cervelli, his first since last Sept. 30. He improved to 3-1 in five starts this season against the Pirates, who had won their prior six games at Milwaukee.

Tyler Thornburg pitched the ninth for his 12th save in 17 chances.

Gennett homered to left field in the first against Ryan Vogelsong (3-6), who gave up two hits in four innings, struck out seven and walked two. He had won his previous four starts against the Brewers.

Carter homered in the seventh off Trevor Williams and matched his home run and RBIs (88) totals with Houston two years ago. He also struck out twice, raising his NL-leading total to 196.

Pittsburgh’s Starling Marte grabbed his lower back after fouling off a pitch in the third and left the game with what the team called back tightness. He had singled in the first inning after missing 16 consecutive games because of low back discomfort.

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INF/OF Hernan Perez made his first start in center field this season for Milwaukee and has played at every position except catcher and pitcher. “”It gives us flexibility in lineup construction and injury and just rest,” manager Craig Counsell said. “We’re a little banged up right now, but I think that’s ultimately what a versatile player does is give you a lot of coverage.”


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Pittsburgh acquired left-hander Phil Coke from the New York Yankees for $1. The 34-year-old reliever made three appearances in the middle of May before the Yankees designated him for assignment on May 17. He then went 5-3 with a 2.96 ERA in 20 regular-season appearances for Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, including 11 starts.

“In the last two weeks, he’s started two times,” manager Clint Hurdle said. “There’s volume there. There’s experience out of the bullpen.”

Coke, who is expected to join the team in Pittsburgh on Friday, gives Hurdle a healthy arm in the bullpen.

“(A.J.) Schugel is down, (Neftali) Perez is down and (Jeff) Locke just returned to pitch Wednesday,” Hurdle said. “He (Coke) might have an inning in him to get him initially involved.”


Pirates: SS Jody Mercer wasn’t in the starting lineup due to right forearm discomfort but pinch hit for Vogelsong in the fifth and grounded out.

Brewers: OF Kirk Nieuwenhuis, who strained his abdomen Friday, remains day-to-day.” He has to be able to get on the field and run and swing a bat in batting practice,” Counsell said.


Pirates: RHP Jameson Taillon (4-4) is to starts Friday’s opener of a three-game series against visiting Washington, his first outing against the Nationals.

Brewers: RHP Zach Davies (11-7) starts the final home series Friday night when he faces Cincinnati for the fifth time in his career. He is 1-1 with a 3.57 ERA in three starts against the Reds this season.

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