MILWAUKEE (AP) - Miller Park is still causing problems for the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Manager Clint Hurdle was ejected, the bullpen surrendered five runs in the seventh inning, and Pittsburgh lost 8-2 to the Milwaukee Brewers on Saturday.
Starter Jeff Karstens did his part to keep the Pirates close. He allowed solo home runs to Prince Fielder and Brandon Boggs in the fourth inning, but the guys who came after him allowed the game to slip away. The Pirates lost for the eighth straight time overall.
Milwaukee also has won eight in a row against the Pirates at Miller Park.
``The pitch to Fielder I think was in his happy zone, down and in,' Karstens said. ``The pitch to Boggs, it was one of those things, of course I don't want it to happen. It happened.'
Despite throwing only 69 pitches, Karstens (2-2) was pulled for pinch hitter Steve Pearce, who struck out with two men on and two out in the top of the sixth inning.
Pittsburgh was on the wrong end of two close plays, too.
LaTroy Hawkins came on in relief of Chris Naverson (2-3) to start the seventh inning. The Pirates were trailing, 2-1, with runners on first and second when Neil Walker grounded sharply to Rickie Weeks. The second baseman tossed to Craig Counsell for a forceout, and the shortstop's relay beat Walker in a very close play. Hurdle ran out to argue the call and was tossed.
Hurdle said the umpire told him Walker was out.
``I said he missed the play,' Hurdle said. ``I felt it was a tie at the worst. He didn't see it that way.'
Fielder took the opposite view.
``He was out,' Fielder said. ``When they did it on super slow-mo, it was bang, bang, but he was out.'
In their half of the inning, the Brewers broke the game open, helped by an error from third baseman Pedro Alvarez and a close play at the plate.
Pinch-hitter Corey Hart opened with a double off reliever Daniel McCutchen and tried to advance on Weeks' grounder to shortstop Ronny Cedeno. Alvarez missed Cedeno's throw, putting runners at the corners.
Joe Beimel came on to face Counsell, who bunted back to the mound. Hart beat Beimel's throw to catcher Ryan Doumit, and Counsell reached on the sacrifice. After a walk loaded the bases, Fielder hit an RBI single.
Hurdle saw Hart slide watching the monitor in the clubhouse, and disagreed with that call, too.
``The guy still hasn't touched the plate,' Hurdle said. ``Still hasn't touched it.'
Casey McGehee greeted Jose Veras with a two-run double and Jonathan Lucroy drove in another run with a bloop single to finish the scoring.
Braun hit his 11th homer in the eighth.
``There are definitely strange happenings here,' Walker said. ``There is no doubt what we have to do. We have to do a better job all around.'
Chris Narveson (2-3) ended his three-game losing streak. He gave up one run and four hits in six innings.
``I don't think his record shows really how he's pitched,' Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said.
Lyle Overbay hit a solo home run in the eighth for Pittsburgh. Jose Tabata had a sacrifice fly in the fifth.
NOTES: The Pirates stranded 13 men on base. ... Karstens fell to 0-4 lifetime against the Brewers. ... Milwaukee has won 32 of the last 35 against Pittsburgh at Miller Park. ... Fielder's solo shot in the fourth was his ninth of the season. He scored his 500th career run. ... Pirates RHP Evan Meeks, who is one the 15-day disabled list with right shoulder tendinitis, is scheduled to begin a rehab assignment on Saturday with Triple-A Indianapolis.
The Associated Press News Service
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