Milwaukee, WI – Travis Snider came off the bench and clubbed a home run to lead off the top of the ninth inning, helping the Pittsburgh Pirates secure their first non-losing season since 1992 with a 4-3 win over the Milwaukee Brewers at Miller Park.
Snider's pinch-hit blast to right-center field off Jim Henderson (3-5) was the only hit that didn't come from the Pirates' 3-4-5 combo of Andrew McCutchen, Justin Morneau and Marlon Byrd. The trio finished 7-for-10, with McCutchen launching his 100th career home run and Byrd collecting two RBI. The rest of the team was 1-for-24.
"He squared it up," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said of Snider's homer. "It was a welcome sight."
The win was the 81st of the season for Pittsburgh, which is now two games up on St. Louis for first place in the NL Central. The Cardinals lost to the Reds in Cincinnati earlier Tuesday.
"They're a really good ball club," Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said of the Pirates.
Rookie Gerrit Cole shook off a rough first inning to pitch six frames for the Pirates.
Yovani Gallardo got the start for Milwaukee and allowed two runs on five hits over seven innings.
Brandon Kintzler replaced Gallardo to begin the eighth and McCutchen drew a one-out walk before taking third on a perfectly executed hit-and-run with Morneau at the plate. Byrd then broke a 2-2 tie with a double down the left- field line.
The Brewers countered in their half of the inning against Vin Mazzaro (7-2), who issued a leadoff walk to pinch-hitter Caleb Gindl. After Norichika Aoki advanced the runner, Jean Segura pulled Milwaukee even with a grounder up the middle.
Mark Melancon surrendered a two-out double in the bottom of the ninth, but the fill-in closer struck out Khris Davis to end the game and pick up his 11th save.
McCutchen's first-inning shot off Gallardo staked Pittsburgh to an early lead that was quickly erased by Jonathan Lucroy's two-run single in the home half of the first.
A two-out single by Byrd plated McCutchen with the tying run in the third.
The Bucs finished 96-66 in 1992, winning the last of three straight NL East titles, before going 75-87 in 1993 to start the infamous streak ... McCutchen became the sixth player in team history to hit at least 100 homers and steal at least 100 bases. He joined Barry Bonds, Al Martin, Andy Van Slyke, Dave Parker and Hall of Famer Paul Waner ... McCutchen has now hit safely in 12 straight games against Milwaukee ... The Pirates have posted four consecutive wins in Milwaukee for the first time since April 15-July 13, 2002 ... The Pirates activated closer Jason Grilli (right forearm strain) from the 15-day disabled list, and the club recalled pitchers Jeff Locke and Jared Hughes, outfielder Andrew Lambo and catcher Tony Sanchez from Double-A Altoona ... The Brewers recalled first baseman/outfielder Sean Halton and pitcher Johnny Hellweg and selected the contract of pitcher Jimmy Nelson from Triple-A Nashville.