- Associated Press - Wednesday, May 14, 2014

MILWAUKEE (AP) - Gerrit Cole kept his cool but lost the game.

The Pittsburgh Pirates‘ young right-hander with the 100 mph fastball struck out six while allowing seven hits and three runs in his first start against the Milwaukee Brewers since the teams tangled in a benches-clearing brawl last month.

Jonathan Lucroy hit a bases-loaded, two-run single, and the battered Brewers withstood the early exits of star outfielders Carlos Gomez and Ryan Braun for the 5-2 victory Tuesday night.

Gomez scored the second run on Lucroy’s single in the third after getting hit by a changeup from Cole (3-3). It was their first meeting since Cole and Gomez exchanged heated words in Pittsburgh on a play in Pittsburgh that sparked the melee.

Cole said he hasn’t spoken with Gomez since the brawl that led to suspensions, but that they did exchange nods before Gomez’s first at-bat.

“I think pretty much everybody’s on the same page about this. I think we’ve all moved on,” Cole said.

Gomez even smiled at first after getting hit by the off-speed pitch in the third, and he scored three batters later on Lucroy’s bases-loaded single.

Manager Clint Hurdle said the outing as a whole was another step forward in the ongoing maturation of the promising Cole, in his second season in the majors.

“I think he continues to grow and figure that part of the game out as well. He stays in control of what he can stay in control of,” Hurdle said. “Even when he might miss his location or do what he planned to get done, he’s just got to move on and he’s shown a lot of progress in that area.

Gomez did leave the game after the fifth with lower back tightness. Manager Ron Roenicke said Gomez woke up Monday with a tight back and tried to play through it.

Braun was activated from the disabled list earlier Tuesday. His departure after the sixth was planned as he gets acclimated in his return from an oblique injury.

Earlier Tuesday, third baseman Aramis Ramirez was placed on the disabled list with a pulled left hamstring.

All those players down and the Brewers still scratched out five runs and the dozen hits throughout the lineup. Five came from reserves, including two apiece from the guys who replaced Braun and Gomez - Khris Davis and the newly called-up Elian Herrera.

“Everybody’s contributing … It’s important to have that depth on the bench and have guys step up and get it going,” Lucroy said.

Marco Estrada (3-1) struck out eight in six choppy innings. Francisco Rodriguez tossed a hitless ninth for his 16th save.

Jean Segura added two hits, the second after a shot up the middle deflected off the mound and squirted in between first and second to allow Lucroy to score from second for a four-run lead in the seventh.

Neil Walker hit a solo homer that landed on the concourse beyond left-center in the first to extend his hitting streak to five for Pittsburgh.

It was one of six hits allowed by Estrada, who looked like he was having trouble much off the night locating his off-speed stuff. He needed 112 pitches to get through his outing.

The Pirates squandered opportunities, going 1 for 9 with runners in scoring position.

“When you have runners in scoring position, you need to stay disciplined and stay with your approach,” Hurdle said. “Look for a ball out over the plate until you get to two strikes and then just battle.”

Notes: The Brewers challenged an out call on Lyle Overbay’s grounder that deflected off the mound with one out and a runner on in the seventh. The call stood after a review of roughly 3½ minutes. …… Gomez and Pirates OF Travis Snider, who exchanged shoves during last month’s brawl, ran into each other at a Milwaukee steakhouse during each team’s off day Monday. “We shook hands, he gave me a hug and everything is cool. There (are) no hard feelings,” Gomez said. … Pittsburgh sends Francisco Liriano (0-3) to the mound Wednesday against Milwaukee’s Wily Peralta (4-2).


Follow Genaro Armas at https://twitter.com/GArmasAP

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