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By Zane Heiple
Photo Credit: AP
After a 3-3 home stand Pittsburgh was back on the road for seven games.  They first headed west to take on the Milwaukee Brewers for a three game set.  Nothing comes easy for the Pirates against the Brewers lately, so this would be a great test to see if the 2011 Buccos are able to put the past behind them.  James McDonald took the hill for the Pirates in hope of maintaining his recent outings’ success.  The Brew Crew countered with Yovani Gallardo.
McDonald looked to slide back into his ways of the early part of the season with his start tonight.  The Brewers jumped on him in the third inning with two runs.  Jonathon Lucroy hit a solo homer to left field to lead off the inning.  This was followed a few batters later when Ryan Braun grounded into a fielder’s choice that scored Gallardo, who had singled earlier that inning.
Ronny Cedeno countered in the fourth inning to tie the game for the Pirates.  Cedeno, who an inning earlier got into a verbal confrontation with Rickie Weeks, hit a two-run homer which was his first of the year.  Nice to see someone like Ronny hit the ball hard with the offense struggling so much lately. 
Pittsburgh was unable to hold onto any momentum they had in the top of the inning.  Milwaukee scored three runs in the fourth, thus ending McDonald’s night after only four innings.  His stat line read five runs, six hits, with seven strikeouts and three walks. 
James has by far been the most inconsistent pitcher of the season, but this is the second time in three games that a Pirates’ pitcher has been roughed up early.  While we all could have expected a drop off from the rotation’s hot start, if the offense can’t pick up the slack, then this combination could spell disaster for the Buccos.
The bats did struggle again tonight, in this 5-2 loss, obtaining only five hits and Lyle Overbay was the only Pirate with more than one hit.  These two teams will face off again tomorrow afternoon, with a 4:10 start time.  Jeff Karstens will look to stop this three game slide and continue the Pirates’ road success.
Record Vs. Brewers: 0-3
Record Vs. N.L. Central: 9-7
Record On The Road: 11-9
Overall Record: 18-20
And…
As Always…
Let’s Go Bucs!