MILWAUKEE (AP) – Andrew McCutchen was back in the Pittsburgh lineup Sunday and he made quite a difference.
McCutchen took himself out of Friday night’s game because of soreness in his left knee and didn’t play Saturday. In his return, he homered and drove in four runs as the Pirates routed the Milwaukee Brewers 10-2.
“He really had a nice game and drove the ball well,” manager Clint Hurdle said. “He was big, but we got contributions from a lot of guys and went out and won a meaningful game to win a series.”
One of those other guys was pitcher Casey Sadler (1-0), who earned his first major league win, going five innings in his first career start. He pitched in place of ace Francisco Liriano, who is on the paternity leave list.
Sadler gave up two runs and four hits, striking out five.
“He really showed a lot of poise out there,” Hurdle said.
Sadler said he had a lot of fun.
“It was not a bad day,” he said. “I had some great defense behind me and we were able to get an important win.”
Even with his impressive showing, Sadler was returning to Triple-A Indianapolis after the game.
“I know I have to go down and keep working hard so I am ready the next time the phone rings,” he said. “This was a nice, but I wanted to be up here all the time.”
Pirates third baseman Jung Ho Kang got his first big league hit, a leadoff single in the seventh after starting the season 0 for 6. He is the first player to go directly from the South Korea pro league to the majors.
Hurdle said he was very happy for Kang.
“It is a much different game than it was in South Korea,” he said. “We know it is going to take some time. I know he is going to help our club.
Kyle Lohse (0-2) allowed four runs and eight hits in 6 1/3 innings. He was tagged for eight runs by Colorado on opening day.
Brewers manager Ron Roenicke continued to be frustrated with the team’s overall play as it dropped to 1-5.
“We have got to pitch a lot better, no question,” he said. “And we need to swing the bat better.”
Gregory Polanco’s RBI single in the third off the glove of second baseman Hector Gomez put Pittsburgh ahead 1-0.
Carlos Gomez hit his first homer of the season, a two-run shot in the third that gave the Brewers a 2-1 lead.
Polanco began the sixth with a double off the glove of left fielder Khris Davis. After a single by Jody Mercer, McCutchen hit his second home run of the year into the Pirates’ bullpen in right field.
Walker homered and McCutchen had an RBI single during a six-run ninth. Davis dropped a line drive for an error, and all six runs were unearned.
Hurdle said Liriano would be flying to Pittsburgh on Sunday evening and was scheduled to start Wednesday against the Tigers.
McCutchen’s home run was the 22nd of his career against the Brewers, the most he’s hit against any team. He had four RBIs for the eighth time in his career, the last time coming July 22, 2013, against Washington.
Pirates: Catcher Chris Stewart, out with a right hamstring strain, was expected to play his first game Sunday with Triple-A Indianapolis after playing two games with Double-A Altoona.
Brewers: RF Ryan Braun started this third straight game after missing two starts with what the team called “lower right side soreness.”
Pirates: The home opener is Monday against the Detroit Tigers. RHP Gerrit Cole (0-0) will be making his first career start against the Tigers, who will counter with RHP Shane Greene (1-0).
Brewers: Travel to St. Louis to face the Cardinals in their home opener. RHP Matt Garza (0-1), who has never won at Busch Stadium, will face Cardinals ace Adam Wainwright (1-0).
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