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Fiers, Parra help Milwaukee Brewers to 4-1 win

By
Andrew Wagner, The Sports Xchange

MILWAUKEE -- As the second half of an already disappointing season kicked off Friday night at Miller Park, Milwaukee Brewers manager Craig Counsell was optimistic that his players would finish a disappointing season strong.

They certainly got off to a good start behind seven innings from right-hander Mike Fiers and two doubles and two RBIs from left fielder Gerardo Parra for a 4-1 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates.

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Fiers (5-7) struck out six, held the Pirates to three hits and was the beneficiary of two doubles plays.

"I thought he was good the whole night," Counsell said. "He made pitches all night. He really did. He was just good all night. We had one intentional walk, but that's it. That's a good sign for him."

After getting off to a slow start this year, Fiers is 2-0 with a 2.18 ERA in his last five outings and has become somewhat of a sleeper as the trade deadline approaches.

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"Just being aggressive," Fiers said. "Command's big. Not walking guys. Making them earn their way on. Just being aggressive, going after them and trusting in my stuff."

The only blemish on Fiers' line came in the seventh.

With the Brewers leading 2-0, Pirates third baseman Jung Ho Kang tagged Fiers for a solo home run. But Milwaukee answered with two runs in the bottom of the inning. One of the runs resulted from an error by first baseman Pedro Alverez that allowed Parra to reach for a third time.

"We had a ground ball to the right side in the seventh we weren't able to defend," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. "So, at the end of the day, we didn't play well enough to win."

Brewers left-hander Will Smith and right-hander Francisco Rodriguez combined for two scoreless innings to close it out, with Rodriguez picking up his 20th save in as many chances this season.

Pittsburgh got six innings from right-hander Charlie Morton (6-3), who struck out two and gave up four runs, five hits and three walks.

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Parra led off the bottom of the first inning with a double, advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by catcher Jonathan Lucroy and scored on right fielder Ryan Braun's groundout to second.

The Brewers put two on in the second, but Morton got out of the jam by retiring Fiers.

Fiers found himself in a bit of a tough spot in the fifth, with two on and two outs after an intentional walk to shortstop Jordy Mercer. But Fiers escaped the jam, fanning Morton on a fastball to end the inning.

"We didn't meet the overall demands of the game," Hurdle said. "I don't think it needs any more explanation than that. We weren't able to do a lot on offense.

"The downhill angle, the fastball was tough. (Fiers) located his pitches, curveball, the changeup. So we scratched out one run and we missed opportunities early with some runners in scoring position."

Brewers second baseman Scooter Gennett reached in the fifth after he was plunked by Morton, then moved to third on a sacrifice by Fiers. That brought up Parra, who hit his second double of the game, driving in Gennett and putting the Brewers up 2-0.

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NOTES: Pittsburgh recalled OF Jaff Decker from Triple-A Indianapolis. He was batting .275 (49-for-178) with nine doubles, a triple, three home runs and 24 RBIs in 54 games with the Indians this season. He takes the place of RHP Wilfredo Boscan, who was optioned to Indianapolis. ... Brewers manager Craig Counsell said RHP Matt Garza will return to the rotation Tuesday against Cleveland. Garza has been on the disabled list since July 6 with fatigue in his right shoulder. ... The Pirates will play 11 of their next 15 games on the road, where they had won three in a row and six of their last nine before Friday. ... Milwaukee is an MLB-worst 16-28 at home this season. ... OF Corey Hart was with the Pirates in Milwaukee on Friday to be re-evaluated after completing a rehab assignment with Triple-A Indianapolis. He has been on the disabled list since June 22 with a left shoulder impingement. ... The series continues Saturday with Brewers RHP Jimmy Nelson (6-9, 4.21 ERA) taking on Pittsburgh LHP Francisco Liriano (5-6, 2.98).

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