MILWAUKEE (AP) — Jonathan Lucroy tried to absorb some of the blame for another rough outing from Jim Henderson.
"I'm with him, man," the Milwaukee Brewers catcher said. "I'm there behind the plate. I see it. I called those pitches that got hit out. I share the blame myself."
Henderson gave up pinch-hitter Travis Snider's home run in the ninth inning that lifted Pittsburgh to a 4-3 win over the Brewers on Tuesday night — a victory that clinched the Pirates' first non-losing record in 21 seasons.
Henderson's last appearance ended poorly, too. He took the loss and a blown save Friday in a 6-5 loss to the Los Angeles Angels, grooving a pitch that Hank Conger drilled for a two-run homer in the ninth inning.
Tuesday night against the Pirates, Snider drove a 2-2 pitch from Henderson (3-5) over the wall in center for his second pinch-hit homer of the season. His first came against the Chicago Cubs on May 21.
"He (Snider) had fouled that fastball off pretty good right before that (home run) pitch," said Lucroy. "I was thinking, 'Let's throw a slider right here and keep it down. He'll probably swing at it if it's down.'"
"He just hung it right into his swing," Lucroy said.
Jean Segura had two hits and Lucroy drove in two runs for Milwaukee, which has lost five in a row.
It was victory No. 81 for Pittsburgh, ensuring it will not finish with a losing record for the first time since going 96-66 in 1992. More importantly, it boosted the Pirates' lead in the NL Central to two games over St. Louis.
"It was on our to-do list," Hurdle said. "We'll move on from here. Our plans are continue to play and compete and go further."
Mark Melancon pitched the ninth for his 11th save, striking out Khris Davis with a runner on second to make it four straight wins for Pittsburgh at Miller Park for the first time since 2002. The Pirates lost 44 of 51 games in Milwaukee from 2007-2012.
"The one family I'm happy for is the Clemente family," Hurdle said of the Pirates great. "They told me earlier in the season that we can't have 21 losing seasons, that we've got to find a way to not have Roberto's number tied to that. I told them we'd find a way to take care of that. It's been taken care of."
Pittsburgh went ahead 3-2 in the eighth. Andrew McCutchen walked with one out and raced around to third when newly-acquired Justin Morneau followed with a perfectly executed hit-and-run single into left field. Marlon Byrd then hit an RBI double off Brandon Kintzler into the left-field corner.