Pittsburgh Pirates third baseman Jung Ho Kang (27) can't handle the throw from catcher Francisco Cervelli as Milwaukee Brewers' Jonathan Villar, left, steals third in the sixth inning of a baseball game in Pittsburgh, Wednesday, July 20, 2016. (AP Photo/G
Gene J. Puskar
July 20, 2016

PITTSBURGH (AP) Milwaukee manager Craig Counsell makes no apologies for the length of his team's games, which can sometimes drag on as the Brewers work counts, steal bases and try to find ways to generate something out of nothing.

Counsell calls is ''slowing the game down.'' And when it works -as it did in a 9-5 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates on Wednesday night - the result makes up for the extra time it takes to get there.

The Brewers tied a season-high with five stolen bases, worked nine walks and pulled away late to overcome another sluggish start from Chase Anderson even as it took close to four hours to get through nine innings.

''It wasn't a great pace,'' Counsell said with a chuckle.

Not that it mattered. Jonathan Lucroy drove in three runs, including a two-run single in the sixth inning, as the Brewers bounced back from consecutive walk-off losses by keeping steady traffic on the bases against five pitchers. The top three batters in the lineup - Jonathan Villar, Hernan Perez and Ryan Braun - had two hits each for Milwaukee while Chris Carter and Scooter Gennett drove in two runs apiece.

''Those top three guys had good ABs all night,'' Lucroy said. ''I came up with a runner on third with less than two outs three times. When you do that as a four-hole guy, it's fun.''

Milwaukee led 5-4 in the sixth when the Brewers loaded the bases off reliever A.J. Schugel. Lucroy fell behind in the count but recovered to lace a single to left that scored Villar and Perez to give the Brewer bullpen all the cushion it would need.

''I think we just made an adjustment as a lineup, trying to make better swings at better pitches,'' Lucroy said.

Carlos Torres (2-1) won in relief of Anderson, who struggled once again but was bailed out by an offense that took it to Jeff Locke (8-6), who gave up five runs in three-plus innings.

Jordy Mercer went 2 for 3 with two RBIs for the Pirates. David Freese doubled twice and Starling Marte added a pair of hits but Pittsburgh couldn't catch up following another shaky outing by Locke. The left-hander's ERA this month ballooned to 8.16 in four appearances after he was pulled with the bases loaded and no outs in the fourth.

''I just had a really hard time getting ahead of people and then putting somebody away,'' said Locke, who walked five. ''It seemed everybody we started with a strike to, we followed up with a ball or two balls or three balls. Just unable to put anybody away.''

Pittsburgh manager Clint Hurdle was ejected three batters into the game for arguing with home plate umpire Sam Holbrook, who ruled a chopper that appeared to hit Braun as he exited the batters' box a foul ball. Bench coach Dave Jauss took over.

Anderson remained winless since June 8 despite being staked to leads of 2-0 and 5-3, exiting after needing 86 pitches to get through four innings.

''My thing this year is I get two runs and I give up three and it's gosh,'' Anderson said. ''But the guys did a good job. They've picked me up this year. It was a good win tonight.''


Brewers: Reliever Michael Blazek pitched 2 1/3 scoreless innings in relief for Triple-A Colorado Springs on Tuesday night, but there remains no timetable for any possible return to the majors. The team optioned Blazek to the minors earlier this month after he struggled following his return from a stay on the disabled list with a right-elbow impingement in June.

Pirates: Rookie RHP Jameson Taillon remained under the MLB concussion protocol on Wednesday but trainer Todd Tomczyk said Taillon is ''checking out very well'' and is showing no ill effects of the line drive he took to the back of the head on Tuesday night. Taillon lay on the ground for several minutes after getting hit by a shot off Perez's bat in the second inning but was allowed to remain in the game after getting cleared by Tomczyk and team doctor Edward Snell.

''I was looking for reasons (to take him out),'' Tomczyk said. ''But he continued to show that there was no serious risk there.''

The 24-year-old will continue to be monitored but barring a setback will make his next scheduled start on Sunday against Philadelphia.


Brewers: Matt Garza will try to snap a three-game losing streak when he makes his seventh start of the season in the series finale.

Pirates: Francisco Liriano looks to rediscover his dominance at PNC Park on Thursday. Liriano is 0-3 with a 6.08 ERA in his last five home starts.

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