Pirates fall under .500 in 6-0 loss to Brewers

The Pittsburgh Pirates are looking for a different outcome against Milwaukee this April.

Last season the Pirates entered an April home series against the Brewers at 7-5 but were swept and outscored 36-1 and never were at .500 again en route to their record 18th consecutive losing season.

In comes Milwaukee again, this time dropping the Pirates (5-6) under .500 for the first time this season in a 6-0 win Wednesday behind Shaun Marcum's seven shutout innings.

"(Marcum) didn't make any mistakes," said Pirates first baseman Lyle Overbay, Marcum's teammate in Toronto last season and the man who broke up his no-hitter with a fifth-inning single Wednesday. "He kept all his pitches down and got a lot of ground balls, and we really didn't really make a whole lot of solid contact. He did a really good job."

Prince Fielder homered for the third time in four games as part of a four-run sixth for the Brewers after Pittsburgh starter Kevin Correia hadn't allowed a hit through five.

First-year Pirates manager Clint Hurdle brushed off the Pirates falling under .500. Another losing season would extend a record for major North American professional sports teams.

"All I'm looking at is how we are executing and if we are getting better," said Hurdle, whose team has lost four of five after beginning the season by winning consecutive road series for the first time since 2007. "Tonight we didn't execute very well and we loss. For the most part, we've executed pretty well this season but this time we didn't."

Marcum (2-1) kept the Pirates off-balance with his changeup, allowing only four singles with four strikeouts and a walk.

"Very pleased," Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said. "He moved his ball around well, changed speeds, he's cutting it and he's sinking it, and he knows when to throw the pitches is the thing."

Zach Braddock, Kameron Loe and Mitch Stetter finished up Milwaukee's third shutout this season and second in three games.

On a night when the Penguins opened the NHL playoffs across town, the announced crowd was 8,755 — but only about 4,000 actually showed up. Early on, those who did thought they might be witnesses to history with both starters working on no-hitters by the midway point.

"Any time you're in a pitching duel it's always fun," Marcum said. "Tonight was one of those nights. I think having a couple days off kind of screwed (the hitter's) timing up on both teams."

It took less than an hour to get through the first 4½ innings. The only two baserunners to that point were Rickie Weeks, whom Correia walked leading off the game, and Casey McGehee, who drew a walk off Correia in the fifth.

Correia (2-1) and Marcum combined to retire 24 consecutive batters in between.

Overbay and Matt Diaz led off the fifth with consecutive singles, the first batters to reach against Marcum.

Correia's no-hitter was broken up by Jonathan Lucroy's double to lead off the sixth. Marcum followed by attempting to sacrifice him to third but ended up reaching and was credited with a single.

With one out, Carlos Gomez's sacrifice fly scored Lucroy, and Ryan Braun followed with a single, setting up Fielder's homer on an 0-1 pitch into the bullpen in left-center.

"I was pitching well, and then I had one bad inning," Correia said. "But a lot of times, all it takes is one bad inning to lose a game."

The reigning NL player of the week, Fielder has at least a hit and an RBI in each of his past six games, totaling three home runs and 14 RBIs in that time.

Traditionally a pull hitter, none of the left-handed hitting first baseman's three home runs this season have gone to right field. Twenty-two of his 194 career homers have come against the Pirates, most of any opponent.

"When he's driving the ball the other way like that, that's bad news for the opposing pitchers because there's really not much they can do with him," Roenicke said."

Yuniesky Betancourt added an RBI double in the seventh — ending Correia's night not long after his bid for a no-hitter ended — and Betancourt would score on a Marcum groundout.

Correia's final stat line belied his impressive first five innings: Six-plus innings, six runs — four earned — five hits, two walks and a strikeout.

"He threw a breaking ball up in the zone that we wanted down, and he paid for it on the home run to Fielder," Hurdle said. "Other than that, I thought he pitched well."

NOTES: After the game, the Pirates reinstated C Chris Snyder from the disabled list and optioned C Jason Jaramillo to Triple-A. ... Pittsburgh OF Jose Tabata failed to have a hit for the first time in 11 games this season. ... Milwaukee is 47-17 vs. Pittsburgh since 2007, the best winning percentage for any team against a divisional opponent. ... Pirates RHP Evan Meek (shoulder) pitched for the first time in seven days, a perfect ninth.