PITTSBURGH (AP) - The Pittsburgh Pirates lost their fourth consecutive game on Friday and fell further back in the NL playoff race.
They came out of it feeling quite fortunate.
MVP candidate McCutchen was slow to get up and was attended to by a trainer for several minutes after slamming his left knee into the wall while sliding after attempting to make a catch in right-center.
But McCutuchen stayed in the game and scored a run during two-run ninth inning, but the Pirates' rally came up short in a 6-5 loss to the Milwaukee Brewers on Friday.
McCutchen appeared to be injured making a running effort to catch Aramis Ramirez's go-ahead three-run double.
``When you're not playing your best baseball and just give up a big hit, the last thing you want is your best player to go down and get hurt,' catcher Rod Barajas said. ``We were very fortunate it wasn't a bigger deal.'
McCutchen went 1 for 3 with a run and a two-run single, maintaining his NL-leading .349 average and keeping him two points up on the suspended Melky Cabrera in the batting race.
McCutchen was getting treatment and not available after the game, but manager Clint Hurdle did not sound too concerned.
``He's OK, yeah,' Hurdle said. ``I think it was just initially, the pain of it just hitting (the wall). But it actually freed up, and we'll know more tomorrow.'
The Pirates rallied for two runs in the ninth off of closer John Axford, but Kameron Loe struck out pinch hitter Gaby Sanchez to with two men on to end the game. Loe's save was his second in two weeks, the fourth of his career.
Rod Barajas homered for the floundering Pirates, who fell two games behind St. Louis in the race for the NL's second wild card spot. Pittsburgh has lost 14 of its past 21.
Brewers rookie Mike Fiers tied a career high with 10 strikeouts and allowed three runs on five hits in 6 2-3 innings.
Ramirez went 2 for 4 and scored two runs in addition to clearing the bases with the two-out double in the seventh that broke a 2-2 tie. Ramirez then scored on a Corey Hart single.
Fiers (7-6) allowed three runs on five hits in 6 2-3 innings. The rookie's first major-league hit ignited Milwaukee's four-run seventh.
``Every game, I've been going up there and not hitting the ball,' Fiers said, ``so I thought I had to try something different. I looked down to third and saw (third baseman Pedro Alvarez) was playing back and I just wanted to something different than striking out.
``Crazy things happen when pitchers get on base.'
Fiers was retired on a fielder's choice, but after Rickie Weeks was hit by a pitch and Ryan Braun walked, Ramirez's double gave the Brewers a 5-2 lead.
Ramirez spent the first six years of his career with the Pirates, who have had a major North American professional sports record 19 consecutive losing seasons but are in contention this year.
The 14th sellout crowd of the season was on hand at PNC Park Friday.
``It was really great to see,' Ramirez said. ``I don't think I've ever played in a game here where there was this much excitement. It was really fun... I'm happy for the fans. They've waited a long time to have a good team and you can tell they are enjoying it.'
The Brewers won on the road for only the second time since the All-Star break. They had lost 14 of their previous 15 road games.
Fiers opened the game with three perfect innings, but the first three Pirates of the fourth inning had hits. McCutchen's two-run single scored Jose Tabata and Travis Snider. Barajas' hit his ninth home run with nobody on in the seventh, chasing Fiers from the game.
Milwaukee scored the game's first two runs in the second off of Wandy Rodriguez. After RBI hits by Hart and Jonathan Lucroy, the Brewers loaded the bases with no outs but did not score any more runs.
Rodriguez (8-13) fell to 0-4 as a starter with the Pirates - he earned a win by pitching the 18th and 19th innings Sunday in St. Louis - since being acquired for three prospects in a trade with Houston July 24.
Rodriguez allowed three runs on six hits and four walks in 6 2-3 innings. He had three strikeouts.
``I felt pretty good tonight,' Rodriguez said. ``I had better location this start because my last start I missed a lot on my location. Today I felt more control with my location.'
Barajas went 2 for 3 and has four hits over his past two starts.
Notes: Earlier Friday, the Pirates selected the contract of 1B Jeff Clement from Triple-A Indianapolis and optioned INF Yamaico Navarro to the minors. Clement struck out pinch hitting in the ninth, his first appearance in the majors since Aug. 20, 2010. ... Also Friday, Pittsburgh claimed LHP Hisanori Takahashi off waivers from the Los Angeles Angels. A corresponding roster move will be made when Takahashi reports to the team. ... The Brewers activated RHP Shaun Marcum from the disabled list Friday. He will make his first start since June 14 on Saturday. RHP Jeff Karstens is scheduled to start for the Pirates. Karstens is 0-5 in his career against Milwaukee.
The Associated Press News Service
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