PITTSBURGH (AP) — Charlie Morton was left trying to figure out how a promising outing unraveled so quickly. The Pittsburgh Pirates are seemingly always searching for answers in how to beat Kyle Lohse.
Morton allowed five runs between the fourth and sixth innings and Lohse ran his winning streak against the Pirates to six in the Milwaukee Brewers' 5-3 victory Friday night.
Lohse (3-1) allowed one earned run in 6 1-3 innings to beat Pittsburgh for the second time in six days and improved to 11-2 against the Pirates in his career.
Lohse was charged with three runs — two unearned — and four hits with three walks with five strikeouts. He fell one out shy of a complete game Sunday at Miller Park — beating Morton in both outings.
Morton (0-2) allowed five runs and eight hits in six innings.
"Some those pitches (Friday) are just, I'd throw these pitches and be like, 'Where the heck did that come from?'" Morton said. "Those are just total misfires out of nowhere.
"Even some of the strikes I was throwing (were) just misses."
Carlos Gomez homered deep to center to lead off the fifth and added an RBI single an inning later as the Brewers rallied from an early two-run deficit.
Russell Martin had two hits and two RBIs for the Pirates, who have lost six of eight.
Four Brewers errors came during the first, third and seventh — and the Pirates scored a run during each of those innings. But Pittsburgh left 11 men on base, including the bases loaded twice.
"We just weren't able to get that at bat when we needed it tonight," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. "Repeatedly."
Four Milwaukee relievers combined to allow five baserunners in 2 2-3 innings but did not allow any runs while stranding six. Francisco Rodriguez worked the ninth for his fifth save in five opportunities.
Lohse's fifth pitch of the game was put in play by Starling Marte — seemingly for a routine pop-up near the pitcher's mound. But third baseman Aramis Ramirez and first baseman Mark Reynolds collided. It was originally inexplicably ruled a single until later changed by official scorer Evan Pattak to an error on Reynolds.
That wasn't even close to the most memorable wacky play of the game. That came in the sixth inning, when Maldonado literally hit the cover off the ball in what will be one of the more peculiar plays of the season.
Maldonado grounded to third, where Alvarez fielded a ball that's cover had partially ripped off. Alvarez threw the flapping, awkwardly floating ball toward first, but it fell well short of the bag, giving Maldonado an infield single.
"I said to Hurdle, 'You see something new every day, huh?," Lohse said. "He kind of chuckled."
Asked if he'd seen it before, Hurdle said flatly, "Never. Never. Ever."
"It was just one of those games," Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said. "Goofy stuff happened early — then goofy stuff happened when Maldy hit the cover off the ball. I've never seen that before. We got a run because of it. I don't know. Just a strange game. Hard to explain."
After not getting a runner past first base in their first three innings against Morton, the Brewers got a two-run double from Scooter Gennett and an RBI single from Maldonado in thr fourth to take a lead they didn't relinquish.
A day after scoring nine runs in the seventh and eighth innings, the Pirates pulled to 5-3 in the seventh on Andrew McCutchen's RBI double, but Will Smith came on and struck out cleanup hitter Pedro Alvarez with runners on second and third to end the inning.
The Pirates loaded the bases in the eighth, but Jim Henderson got Starling Marte to pop out to end the threat.
NOTES: Pittsburgh SS Jordy Mercer was removed from the game with what the team called "discomfort" in his right ankle after Maldonado collided with him at second base during the third inning. Mercer stayed in the game the remainder of the inning. ... Less than 15 minutes before first pitch, the Pirates announced they acquired 1B Ike Davis from the New York Mets in exchange for minor-league RHP Zack Thornton and a player to be named. ... Playing each other seven times in a 10-day span, the Pirates and Brewers play the eighth of those meetings Saturday when Pittsburgh LHP Wandy Rodriguez (0-2, 7.31) faces Milwaukee RHP Matt Garza (0-2, 3.43).