Prince Fielder homered with two outs in the bottom of the ninth and the Milwaukee Brewers rallied twice to beat Pittsburgh 7-5 on Tuesday night, keeping pace with the New York Mets in the NL wild-card race.
Fielder homered off reliever T.J. Beam (2-2) to keep Milwaukee one game behind the Mets with five to go. New York beat Chicago 6-2 on Tuesday.
It was Milwaukee's 10th game-ending hit this season and its 10th straight win over Pittsburgh this year, and Fielder knew from the moment he hit it that it was gone.
Fielder untucked his shirt rounding first base and was mobbed by teammates at home plate as the Brewers got a much needed win with two more games against Pittsburgh and a three-game series with the Cubs to finish the season.
"Dale just said: `No matter how you start the game, you always can win it in the ninth,'" Fielder said, referring to interim manager Dale Sveum. "Before I had two chances but I struck out."
Fielder said he did take a peek at the Mets' score.
"Maybe a couple of times, but not too many," he said.
Milwaukee, which hasn't been to the postseason since 1982 and came into September with a 5 1/2-game lead for the wild card, is trying desperately to avoid a second collapse.
Until the seventh, it looked like the Brewers' miserable month would continue after they failed to drive in a runner in scoring position in their first eight chances and trailed 3-2. Milwaukee is 6-15 in September and coming off a 2-8 road trip that saw manager Ned Yost fired and replaced with Sveum.
Mike Cameron doubled in two runs to give Milwaukee a 4-3 lead in the seventh.
But reliever Guillermo Mota, a former Met, gave it right back when Steve Pearce hit a two-run homer in the eighth to put Pittsburgh up 5-4.
Jason Kendall answered with a two-out, RBI double off John Grabow in the bottom of the inning, and reliever Salomon Torres (7-5) worked out of a two-on jam in the ninth to set up the dramatic finish.
The Brewers took a 2-0 lead in the first on errors by left fielder Nyjer Morgan and All-Star center fielder Nate McLouth, his first this season in 363 chances.
But the Pirates made it 3-2 with a two-out rally in the second on Morgan's two-run flare single and Freddy Sanchez's RBI hit after Brewers starter Dave Bush had walked the bases loaded.
Milwaukee's CC Sabathia takes the mound on three days' rest on Wednesday for the second straight time.
And Sveum, in his first home game since replacing Yost, said he doesn't have a starter lined up for Thursday, Friday or Saturday, saying only that Sabathia could be used again, if needed, in Sunday's regular season finale.
The rest of the starting rotation is in tatters, even though the Brewers activated Yovani Gallardo, who last pitched May 1 before needing knee surgery.
Ben Sheets is nursing a sore elbow and is out until the weekend, Gallardo says he pretty much expects to work an inning or two out of the bullpen and Bush, Manny Parra, Jeff Suppan and Seth McClung have been ineffective.
(This version CORRECTS record to 6-15.)