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Pride still matters: Bucs win set over Crew

Pride still matters: Bucs win set over Crew

MILWAUKEE -- After all that -- the 22-game losing streak at Miller Park, the Brewers' unbelievable season dominance over the Pirates and a roller coaster of a ride on Wednesday -- Pittsburgh boarded a flight to Los Angeles with a series win in Milwaukee.

Yes, that's right -- a series win in Milwaukee.

The Pirates stunned the Brewers for the second time in less than 24 hours with yet another comeback win, this one a 6-5 victory in 14 innings.

And don't think the Pirates slid this win into their back pocket. No, it meant something. Players made it clear afterward that the local Milwaukee newspaper's "Not in Pittsburgh Anymore" headline from Monday wasn't taken well, nor were the 20-0 and 17-3 defeats to the Brewers in the past week.

This series was about pride.

"This is great," said Ryan Doumit, who was in the middle of a comeback win for the second consecutive day. "I think we earned back a little bit of respect in the Brewers' eyes. We've been a doormat against these guys. When you're winning by 17 or 20 runs a game, you tend not to take the other team too serious. After these last two games, I would like to think they know we're not going to give up. They're going to be in for a dogfight from here on out."

Before the four-hour, 39-minute affair was over, there were six lead changes or ties. Twelve pitchers took a turn on the mound. Six home runs were hit. Two veteran closers blew saves. Two Pittsburgh players -- Ryan Church and Andy LaRoche -- were ejected for arguing called third strikes.

And it wouldn't end until Garrett Jones laced a two-out RBI double into the right-field corner that scored Akinori Iwamura in the 14th.

"We did a lot of things really well," manager John Russell said. "It seemed like everybody contributed, offensively and defensively."

The intrigue was at its highest from the ninth inning on.

The Pirates entered the ninth down by one, but they were hardly intimidated by seeing Trevor Hoffman trot in from the bullpen. They had, of course, scored five times off the future Hall of Famer on Tuesday.

Doumit had been responsible for four of those runs, and he was the first hitter Hoffman saw on Wednesday. Coming off the bench to pinch-hit, Doumit reached down for a 2-1 changeup -- Hoffman's signature pitch -- and poked it just over the right-field wall. The home run tied the game at 4.

"His changeup was filthy today," Doumit said. "I just looked for one of those."

"It was exactly where we wanted it to be," Brewers catcher Gregg Zaun said of the pitch. "Every once in a while, Major League hitters do some pretty good things against good pitching."

The blown save was Hoffman's fourth already this season, all of which have come at home.

"We got him two days in a row," Russell said. "That's quite an accomplishment."

An inning later, the Pirates reclaimed the lead for the first time since the first. Andrew McCutchen's solo homer set the stage for Octavio Dotel to close it in the 10th. But like Hoffman, Dotel couldn't.

For the sixth straight appearance, Dotel allowed a run. This time, it was Ryan Braun, who doubled and scored on Casey McGehee's single up the middle to even the game again.

From there, the two bullpens traded zeroes, though it wasn't without some missed offensive opportunities on both sides.

In the 12th, McCutchen and Jones reached to start the inning. Lastings Milledge was asked to sacrifice them up 90 feet, but his bunt ended up as a short popup to the catcher. Zaun made the catch and started a double play.

"Games like that, it seems like it's very difficult to score one run," Russell said.

An inning later, it was the Brewers who squandered the chance to win it. After walking and stealing second, Jim Edmonds was thrown out trying to score on Alcides Escobar's single to left. Doumit took Milledge's throw from the outfield, blocked the plate and then reached behind to tag out Edmonds.

"That was a great play," Russell said. "It was a great throw by Milledge and Ryan stayed in there."

Edmonds said afterward that he hurt his back stealing second, which limited him from lowering his shoulder. That bum back also came into play in the 14th. It was Edmonds who had to chase down Jones' hit in the right-field corner, and his throw back to the infield was way off target.

With the lead in hand, D.J. Carrasco then made quick work of the Brewers in the bottom of the 14th to seal the win. He gave the Pirates three scoreless innings in all.

"It shows a lot of character for us to come in here after we got beat down," Carrasco said. "With what we went through, it's easy to give up at any point. But we stayed in the game and just battled."

Early on, it looked like Pittsburgh might run Milwaukee's reliever-turned-starter, Chris Naverson, off the mound in a hurry. Back-to-back homers by LaRoche and McCutchen in the first gave the Pirates a 3-0 lead before the team's cleanup hitter stepped to the plate.

But Paul Maholm couldn't even hold the three-run advantage for an inning. After Milwaukee plated three off Maholm in the first, Corey Hart took him deep to give the Brewers a 4-3 lead.

"You've got a three-run lead and you have to be better than that," said Maholm, who was able to go seven innings deep. "But to go the next six and only give up one, that definitely helped the bullpen. It kept us in the game. Overall, I just battled."

For the Pirates, the win was their fifth in the final at-bat this season. And the club is now 5-1 in one-run games.

Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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