Shaun Marcum tossed seven outstanding innings and the Milwaukee Brewers took down the Pittsburgh Pirates, 5-1, in the second test of a three-game series at Miller Park.
Marcum (4-3) allowed just one run on five hits while striking out eight without issuing a walk to collect the win. Kameron Loe worked a perfect eighth and Jose Veras worked around a leadoff walk in the ninth to finish off the victory.
Brooks Conrad crushed a two-run home run and finished with three RBI and Cody Ransom added a two-run single for the Brewers, who have won five of their last six games.
Erik Bedard (3-6) gave up five runs on five hits and three walks while fanning five in just 3 2/3 innings in defeat.
"Every starting pitcher is going to have a sideways game and that was his sideways game," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. "It was his command. He was just below average across the board."
Garrett Jones accounted for the lone run with a solo homer for the Pirates, who had a brief two-game winning streak stopped.
The Brewers opened the scoring with a run in the second inning. Aramis Ramirez led off the frame with a double to left before Rickie Weeks and Ransom walked to load the bases. Ramirez then trotted home on a sac-fly by Conrad for the 1-0 lead.
Pittsburgh answered in the fourth when Jones blasted a fastball from Marcum over the wall in right-center field to tie the game at one, but the Brewers erupted for four runs in the home half of the inning to take control for good.
Ramirez again played the catalyst as he started the inning with a single into left and Weeks followed with a double to put runners on second and third. Ramirez and Weeks scored on a single by Ransom and Conrad followed by crushing a 3-1 fastball from Bedard into the seats in right to make it 5-1.
"It feels great to get on the board and help the team and finally do something positive," remarked Conrad. "It's never fun to go 0-for-whatever to start the season, but I just tried to stay positive."
Jose Tabata and Jones ripped back-to-back singles to begin the sixth, but the Bucs were unable to score as Marcum got Andrew McCutchen to line out and Pedro Alvarez to fly out before inducing an inning-ending grounder to short from Neil Walker.
Veras walked McCutchen on four pitches to begin the ninth, but recovered to strike out Alvarez before getting Walker to fly out and Matt Hague to ground out to end the game.
Brewers outfielder Ryan Braun missed the game due to a right hip strain suffered on Friday...Ramirez left the game in the seventh inning with an injury...Conrad's home run was his first of the season. He had been hitless in his last 27 at-bats...Jones' home run traveled an estimated 453 feet...Pittsburgh is 5-2 in Bedard's last seven starts and fell to 5-39 at Miller Park since the start of the 2007 campaign...Milwaukee improved to 12-14 at home.