Milwaukee, WI – The Milwaukee Brewers scored four first- inning runs against an injured Jeff Karstens and never looked back, winning the opener of a three-game set against the Pittsburgh Pirates, 9-3.
Corey Hart capped the four-run rally with a two-run home run, his 25th of the season, as the Brewers won for the sixth time in seven games.
Mark Rogers (3-1), who tossed five shutout innings against the Pirates on Sunday, gave up one run on five hits with five strikeouts in 5 1/3 innings to beat the Bucs again.
"His stuff was good, even when he first came up. Location has been his problem, Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said of Rogers. "When he has location he's really done very well. Tonight he was really good with it."
Karstens (5-4) was only able to record one out before he left the game with a right hip flexor strain. But the damage was done, as the Brewers tagged him for four runs on five hits. Karstens has lost two of his last three decisions after winning four straight.
"If we would have (thought Karstens wasn't ready) we wouldn't have started him," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. "It was only about a three-pitch sequence when his fastball was only about 85 miles per hour."
Garrett Jones hit his 22nd home run, but the Pirates lost for the third time in their last five games.
Nyjer Morgan doubled and Rickie Weeks singled to start the first and put runners on the corners. After Ryan Braun struck out and Weeks swiped second, Aramis Ramirez lined a two-run single to left. Hart followed with a towering home run to left field on a hanging curve to give Milwaukee a 4-0 lead.
After Karstens allowed another base hit to Jonathan Lucroy, his night was over.
The Brewers added another run in the second inning. Morgan singled and Weeks was hit by a pitch to start the inning. After Braun popped out, Ramirez walked to load the bases. Morgan came home on a passed ball, giving Milwaukee a five- run lead.
Jones crushed a 2-0 fastball to put the Pirates on the board and Gaby Sanchez delivered a one-out double, advanced to third on a wild pitch and scored on a groundout in the seventh to pull Pittsburgh within three runs.
Milwaukee got those runs back in the eighth when Braun legged out an infield single and Ramirez slammed his 21st home run to center field. Lucroy later worked a two-out walk and Carlos Gomez scored him with a double. Gomez came around to score on Jean Segura's base hit, opening up an 9-2 lead.
The Pirates scored a run in the ninth on Alex Presley's base hit, but could not pull any closer.
Before the game, former Brewers infielder Cody Ransom was claimed off waivers by the Arizona Diamondbacks. The Brewers unveiled a statue honoring Hall-of- Fame broadcaster Bob Uecker on Friday ... The Pirates had their 21 1/3-inning scoreless streak ended in the first inning ... The Pirates have hit 12 home runs in seven games at Miller Park this season ... Pedro Alvarez went 2-for-3 and has reached base safely in 13 of his last 14 games ... Pittsburgh went 1- for-8 with runners in scoring position and stranded eight ... Milwaukee went 3-for-13 with runners in scoring position and left 13 on base.