Parra, Fiers lead Brewers past Pirates, 4-1
MILWAUKEE (AP) Mike Fiers rode his fastball to victory.
Fiers scattered three hits over seven solid innings, Gerardo Parra had two hits and the Milwaukee Brewers beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 4-1 on Friday night.
Brewers manager Craig Counsell noticed Fiers' fastball had something going for it.
''His fastball had that life on it, that little bit of extra life on it,'' Counsell said. ''You could see that in the strikeouts. It's the whole package with him. Everything was working pretty well, but he had a really good fastball.''
Fiers allowed Jung Ho Kang's homer in the seventh, walked one and struck out seven. He threw 60 of his 89 pitches for strikes.
''Not really a secret, just being aggressive,'' Fiers said. ''Command's big. Not walking guys. Making them earn their way on. Just being aggressive, going after them and trusting in my stuff.''
Fiers is 2-0 with a 2.18 ERA in his last five starts. He's walked 12 and struck out 24 in that span.
Pirates manager Clint Hurdle rattled off what made the 6-foot-2 Fiers so effective.
''The downhill angle, the fastball was tough,'' Hurdle said. ''He located his pitches, curveball, the changeup.
Will Smith pitched the eighth and Francisco Rodriguez closed it out with his 20th save in 20 chances.
Parra raised his batting average two points to .311 and is the only Brewer over .300.
Parra doubled in the first off Charlie Morton (6-3) and scored on a groundout. His double in the fifth scored Scooter Gennett, who had been hit by a pitch and advanced on a sacrifice by Fiers (5-7).
''He's been a really important piece of our offense,'' Counsell said of Parra. ''He's been one of the best hitters in the league really. He's definitely set the tone for our offense. Two big hits tonight.''
After Fiers had hit the first Pittsburgh batter in the second and fifth innings, Morton plunked Gennett, the leadoff batter in the bottom of the fifth, prompting plate umpire Dale Scott to warn both managers. Gennett took second on Fiers' sacrifice and scored on Parra's double.
The Pirates had won 11 of their last 13 games leading up to the All-Star break. Pittsburgh came in with a major league-best 10-2 record in July, scoring 53 runs so far, which was second to the Brewers' 66 in the NL.
''We didn't meet the overall demands of the game,'' Hurdle said. ''I don't think it needs any more explanation than that. We weren't able to do a lot on offense.''
Pirates: 1B/OF Corey Hart, who has been on the 15-day DL (shoulder impingement) since June 24, retroactive to June 22, traveled with the team. He began a rehab assignment with Triple-A Indianapolis on June 30, but now has soreness in his knee.
Brewers: RHP Wily Peralta pitched Thursday night in his first rehab start with Double-A Biloxi and is expected to make his next one in five days. ''He threw 58 pitches, so he's got another step still to take,'' Counsell said. Peralta has been the 15-day DL (strained left oblique) since May 25, retroactive to May 23.
Starling Marte swiped the 100th stolen base of his career in the second off Fiers.
The Pirates recalled outfielder Jaff Decker from Triple-A Indianapolis. He takes the roster place of pitcher Wilfredo Boscan, who was optioned to Indianapolis on Monday. The 25-year-old outfielder appeared in five games with the Pirates last season. He hit .275 with nine doubles, one triple, three home runs, 24 RBIs and 11 stolen bases in 54 games at Indianapolis.
Bill Schroeder was enshrined in the Brewers Wall of Fame in a pregame ceremony. In his 21st year as the team's television commentator, he also caught for Milwaukee from 1983-88.
Pirates: LHP Francisco Liriano (5-6) went 0-1 last season in two starts at Miller Park, but is 6-5 in 14 career games, including 13 starts, against the Brewers.
Brewers: RHP Jimmy Nelson (6-9) is 2-1 with a 1.00 ERA in three career starts this season against the Pirates.
This story has been corrected to show that Parra had two hits instead of three.