Brewers rough up reeling Pirates

Brewers rough up reeling Pirates

PITTSBURGH -- The Brewers locked the Pirates into a stranglehold early on Saturday night and didn't let go, beating the home team, 11-3, at PNC Park.

Milwaukee's 16-hit attack was in stark contrast to its win on Friday, a game in which the Brewers opened up with a three-run lead in the first and escaped with a 3-1 victory.

"We never sit on a lead," manager Ned Yost said. "It's not like all of a sudden we decided to score a bunch of runs tonight. That's not how it works."

The Brewers backed up their manager's words on Saturday. Six different players recorded multi-hit games, and starter Jeff Suppan weaved his way through seven quality innings to help Milwaukee gain a 5 1/2-game lead on the Cardinals in the National League Wild Card standings.

Milwaukee did what very few teams are capable of doing at PNC Park -- they made the left-center-field gap its friend on Saturday, drilling one extra-base after another to the deepest part of stadium.

Corey Hart began the fireworks with a second-inning home run to the bullpens near to the 410-foot sign, followed by J.J. Hardy's RBI triple that hit near the same wall.

Pirates starter Paul Maholm tried his best to keep the Brewers' offense at bay the next two innings, but Mike Cameron blasted a three-run shot to left-center in the sixth to put the Brewers up by five.

"It's one of those nights," said Hart, who finished with three hits and three runs scored. "It definitely plays big over there [in left-center], but we swung the bats well tonight. And if you square them up as much as we have lately, you tend to get a few of those."

Bill Hall nearly made it a six-run lead after Cameron's homer, but his line drive fell inches short of a home run. Hall would score on Jason Kendall's double to left-center, and Rickie Weeks followed two batters later with another RBI double in the same spot as Kendall's.

Six of the Brewers' first seven runs came off Maholm, who has been a thorn in their side all season long. The lefty held Milwaukee to only three runs in two previous starts this season.

"It seems like we see him every time we play them," Yost said. "He's very, very tough on us. He keeps the score down. And when Cameron hit the three-run homer, I felt good because he's hard to score off of."

The Pirates bullpen would relieve Maholm in the sixth, but the Brewers continued their attack. Cameron, who also made several fine plays in the field, scored Prince Fielder on a sacrifice fly in the seventh.

Milwaukee would add three insurance runs in the ninth, highlighted by Kendall's second run-scoring double.

Suppan took care of the rest, striking out two and giving up only three hits. The right-hander was able to keep the Pirates' predominately left-handed lineup quiet. His only mistake was to left fielder Brandon Moss, who brought in Pittsburgh's first two runs with a home run in the sixth.

"He's throwing the ball really, really well," Yost said of Suppan, who finished August with a perfect 5-0 record in six starts. "[He's] changing speeds, spotting his ball well on the attack."

"You always want to contribute," Suppan said of his August streak. "Regardless of if you win or lose, going out there and throwing some quality innings up there just to give the team a chance is being effective."

With his home run in the second, Hart became the first player in Brewers history to have two seasons with at least 20 homes runs and 20 steals. Hart became the fifth member of the Brewers' 20-20 club last season.

"Anytime that you're part of something that's first [is special]," Hart said. "It's an honor to have that title. It's nice to do something for the organization that brought you in."

Todd Krise is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.