Pittsburgh, PA – Aramis Ramirez ripped a go-ahead RBI single to cap a four-run eighth inning and the Milwaukee Brewers completed a three- game sweep of the Pittsburgh Pirates with a 9-7 victory Thursday at PNC Park.
After scoring a run earlier in eighth, Rickie Weeks greeted Chris Resop (1-4) with a two-run triple into the left-center field gap to tie the game at seven.
After Ryan Braun was intentionally walked, Ramirez laced a single back up the middle to score Weeks for an 8-7 lead. Pinch-hitter Logan Schafer added an RBI single in the ninth to account for the final margin.
Manny Parra (2-3) earned the victory after tossing a scoreless seventh and John Axford worked around a one-out error in the ninth to nail down his 31st save of the season and Milwaukee's seventh straight victory over the Pirates.
The Brewers remain 2 1/2 games back of St. Louis for the final NL wild card spot after the Cardinals downed Houston on Thursday. Pittsburgh now sits 5 1/5 games back of the second wild card slot in the NL.
Ramirez, who spent his first five-plus seasons in Pittsburgh, added a solo home run and finished with three RBI for the Brewers, who have won five straight, eight of nine and 19 of their past 24.
"It would have been easy for us to not fight and come back, and the guys keep doing it," Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said of his team's come-from-behind victory.
Andrew McCutchen clubbed a three-run blast in the setback, the Pirates' 15th in their last 19 games to drop them below .500 (74-75) for the first time since they were 24-25 on May 29th.
"We want to win games," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. "We want to finish games off. Everybody wants to do well. Nobody wants to be a guy who doesn't perform."
The Brewers used a three-run first to grab an early lead as Braun's RBI fielder's choice scored Aoki, who singled to start the game.
Ramirez then smacked a 1-0 change-up off the top of the wall and out in straightaway center field for a three-run edge.
Milwaukee tacked on a run in the third after Ramirez led off with a double into the left-field corner and scored two batters later on Jonathan Lucroy's sacrifice fly into left field.
Pittsburgh battled back in the bottom half when McCutchen launched his 30th homer of the season into the foliage in straightaway center field to bring the home team within 4-3.
Pinch-hitter Alex Presley's RBI fielder's choice in the next frame tied the game at 4-4.
The Pirates used a three-run sixth to jump in front, as Clint Barmes ripped a one-out homer before Rod Barajas singled and Jeff Clement stroked a pinch-hit double.
Starling Marte followed with an RBI single and Travis Snider added a sac fly to give the Pirates a 7-4 lead.
Aoki's leadoff single extended his hitting streak to 10 games. It's his fourth hitting streak of 10-plus games, making him the first NL rookie since the Cardinals' Bake McBride (1974) to produce four hitting streaks of at least 10 games in a season ... Ramirez is now tied with Hall of Famer Ron Santo for sixth place on the all-time ML list for homers by a third baseman ... Milwaukee starter Mike Fiers allowed three runs on five hits and one walk over three frames ... Pittsburgh starter Wandy Rodriguez gave up for runs on five hits and two walks over four innings.