MILWAUKEE (AP) — Chris Stewart quickly has become familiar with the repertoire of tough Milwaukee closer Francisco Rodriguez. It paid off for the backup catcher Wednesday night.
One night after grounding out in a nine-pitch at-bat against Rodriguez, Stewart's single keyed a three-run burst in the ninth inning and sent the Pirates past Milwaukee 4-1, ending the Brewers' three-game winning streak.
"I saw quite a few pitches from him (Tuesday) night, so I think that helped going into the at-bat," Stewart said. "He stayed away from me (Tuesday) night, so it gave me a read on what he was going to try and do in that situation."
Rodriguez (1-1) threw two quick strikes to Stewart, but left a changeup high on the outside corner of the plate on his third pitch and the Pirates catcher belted it to center, allowing pinch-runner Clint Barmes to score from second with the go-ahead run.
"It was a big swing of the bat for us," Pittsburgh manager Clint Hurdle said.
Rodriguez had given up only one run in 21 innings in his first 21 games. But the Pirates tagged the Milwaukee closer for four consecutive hits to beat the Brewers for only the second time in nine games.
Rodriguez said he was having a trouble with all his pitches and left both his fastball and changeup high in the strike zone against the Pirates.
"Unfortunately, it wasn't my day," he said. "I didn't perform at the level I was expecting or everyone else was expecting. You just have to turn the page quick and be ready for the next day."
Milwaukee managed only six hits and went 0 for 7 with runners in scoring position minus Carlos Gomez. The star center fielder dropped his appeal Wednesday and began a three-game suspension for his part in a bench-clearing fracas at Pittsburgh on Easter Sunday.
"We didn't swing the bat that well," Milwaukee manager Ron Roenicke said.
Ike Davis singled past diving first baseman Mark Reynolds in the Pittsburgh ninth and Jordy Mercer singled sharply to center.