Bucs drop ninth straight in loss to Crew

Pirates drop ninth straight

PITTSBURGH -- The Pirates' best starter, lefty Paul Maholm, was unable to stop the team's long losing streak, as the Brewers posted an 11-3 victory in front of 21,931 fans at PNC Park on Saturday night.

The loss was a season-worst ninth in a row for the Pirates, who have dropped 13 of their past 15 games. The Brewers are now 10-1 against the Bucs this season.

"They're a good team and they're riding the wave right now," Pirates manager John Russell said. "They are really hot and taking advantage of things."

"It was a bad outing," Maholm offered. "We needed a good start and we needed a win and I didn't get it for us."

Maholm(8-8) lasted 5 1/3 innings, marking the first time in 21 starts that he was unable to last at least six innings. He allowed six runs on seven hits.

"Maholm has done a phenomenal job for us all year," Russell stated. "There's going to be that one bump in the road, and unfortunately tonight was the night.

"I didn't think he made bad pitches. It's a good-hitting team and they went down and got a couple of pitches -- not great pitches -- but he gets outs on those occasionally. But he's facing a hot team and it was one of those nights. It's unfortunate that he didn't pitch like he's been pitching."

Maholm didn't pull any punches in reviewing his performance.

"When you throw the ball done the middle, it's not going to get Major League hitters out," Maholm explained. "For the first few innings, every time I tried to go inside it wound up right down the middle. And [Mike] Cameron's home run [in the sixth inning] was right down the middle. Sure, they're a good-hitting team, but when you throw pathetic pitches it really doesn't work."

It was Maholm's shortest stint in a start since May 3, but he didn't take any solace in how well he has pitched in previous outings.

"No, winning is more important than saying, 'Quality start'," Maholm said. "The winning is more important than that. You have bad outings, and I understand that, but to throw it down the middle and have that happen -- I'm going to look forward to my next outing just so I can get back on track."

Milwaukee got a solid start from right-hander Jeff Suppan, who hurled seven frames and gave up two runs on three hits. Suppan notched the win, upping his record to 10-7.

"I thought that we were patient against Suppan," Russell observed. "He just seemed to continue to make his pitch. I thought we worked the count and took the balls that were his pitch, but he didn't seem to make too many mistakes. He did a good job."

The Brewers jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the top of the second inning. Corey Hart blasted a Maholm offering into the center-field bullpen.

The Brewers got to Maholm again in the sixth inning. Cameron launched a three-run homer with one out. Bill Hall doubled ending, Maholm's outing. Jason Kendall greeted reliever Jesse Chavez with a run scoring-double, and Rickie Weeks also stroked an RBI double, increasing the Milwaukee lead to 7-0.

Pittsburgh got on the board in the bottom of the sixth, as Brandon Moss lashed a two-run home run, cutting the Milwaukee lead to 7-2. It was the fifth home run for Moss since he joined the Pirates on July 31.

The Brewers tacked on a run in the seventh off Chavez, and touched up Pirates closer Matt Capps for three more runs in the ninth inning.

Pittsburgh scratched out a run off Brewers reliever Seth McClung in the bottom of the ninth inning to make it 11-3.

"It's been tough to score," Russell offered. "We haven't been able to score too many runs. It's frustrating."

George Von Benko is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.