MILWAUKEE (AP) — Brewers first baseman Corey Hart and his teammates had seen the Milwaukee bullpen give up leads many times this season as they did again Saturday.
But Hart did something about it this time as he led off the ninth inning with his 26th home run of the season to lift the Brewers to a 3-2 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Hart hit the second pitch he saw from Pirates closer Joel Hanrahan (4-1) into the Brewers bullpen in left field. It was his third career game-ending home run.
"You can't get down," Hart said. "We've had a lot of tough luck this year. Our guys are out there battling and we just have to stay in the game and do what we can to win."
And winning is what the Brewers have been doing lately. The victory was the Brewers second straight over the Pirates and the team's 10th win in its last 12 games.
"A lot of people counted us out a long time ago," Hart said. "But we think we have a pretty good club and we're making a nice little run. Other people are starting to notice us all of a sudden."
Hanrahan said he the pitch to Hart was a hanging breaking ball.
"The guys battled their butts off and I come in and throw two pitches and the game is over," he said.
Marco Estrada gave up one run on four hits and struck out 10 in seven innings for Milwaukee. He has given up just one earned run in his last three starts. Estrada got out of a major jam in the sixth inning. With the bases loaded, Estrada struck out Pedro Alvarez looking after Alvarez fouled off four pitches on a 3-2 count.
Estrada said he was thrilled to win the battle with Alvarez, which he called one of the toughest of his career.
"He kept fouling balls off," he said. "It was tough, but I knew I just had to keep the ball down and get him out."
Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said Estrada pitched very well, keeping the Brewers in the game until Hart could win it in the end.
"He really did a nice job tonight," Roenicke said.
John Axford (5-7), who got out of a bases-loaded jam in the top of the ninth inning by striking out Alex Presley, got the win for the Brewers.