- Associated Press - Saturday, April 11, 2015

MILWAUKEE (AP) - In one inning, the Pittsburgh Pirates went from looking lost at the plate to hitting hard liners to the warning track.

Pedro Alvarez homered and drove in two runs, Neil Walker had three hits and the Pirates avoided their first 0-4 start in nine years with a 6-2 win Friday over the Brewers, a night when All-Star Andrew McCutchen left with knee soreness.

“We’re not very good at seeing pitches and deciding whether we’re going to swing,” said Pirates starter Jeff Locke, a career .102 hitter who doubled in the second. “My mind is pretty much made up before I get in the box whether I’m going to swing or not. It just worked out that time.”

It wasn’t all good news for Pittsburgh: McCutchen left the game after his at-bat in the top of the ninth due to a sore left knee.

“Took himself out after he ran down the line,” Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. “The at-bat, the swing . he felt a little something.”

On the mound, Locke (1-0) allowed seven hits and two runs in six solid innings for Pittsburgh, which rebounded after getting swept in three games in Cincinnati to open the season.

The Pirates roughed up Fiers (0-1) for five runs and seven hits in five innings. He struck out eight.

The most damage came in the three-run second, when Walker opened with a double before Alvarez singled him home two batters later and Locke had an RBI double.

It was a disappointing outing after Fiers had struck out the side in the first on 12 pitches.

“They jumped me a couple of first pitches. That one inning kind of got away,” Fiers said.

Alvarez led off the fourth with the drive to center for a four-run lead.


After allowing four doubles on the night, Brewers pitching has now allowed 20 through its first four games.

According to STATS, it is the most doubles allowed by a team in its first four games since at least 1914.

All those extra-base hits are a big reason why the Brewers have opened a season 0-4 for the first time since 2010. It’s the first time that Milwaukee has started 0-4 at home since 2003.

Adam Lind had two hits and two RBIs for Milwaukee.


All-Star outfielder Carlos Gomez played second base in the top of the ninth, the first time he had played the position in his eight-year career.

Manager Ron Roenicke was forced to turn to Gomez after starting second baseman Scooter Gennett was ejected in the bottom of the eighth after arguing with the umpire after a strikeout. Backup infielders Hector Gomez and Luis Jiminez were used earlier as pinch hitters.

Gomez takes grounders during batting practice in the infield, so it wasn’t an entirely new position. Still, Gomez said he couldn’t fully enjoy his dream of playing the infield in the majors because of the team’s scuffling start.

“It is what it is and it’s a tough loss today. We have to come tomorrow to try and play,” Gomez said.


Pirates: Third baseman Josh Harrison is 0 for 4 since getting hit in the lower back by a pitch from Reds starter Anthony DeSclafani in the fifth inning of Thursday’s 3-2 loss to Cincinnati. He stayed in that game and started Friday night against Milwaukee, going 0 for 3 with three strikeouts, a hit-by-pitch and intentional walk.

Brewers: Outfielder Ryan Braun went 1 for 4 in his return to the starting lineup since leaving the season opener on Monday with what was called “lower right side soreness.”


Pirates: Vance Worley had a subpar spring after going 1-1 with a 4.71 ERA in six starts. The right-hander is looking for a solid outing in his first appearance as Pittsburgh’s fifth starter.

Brewers: Lind, Khris Davis and Jean Segura will each try to extend their season-opening hitting streaks to five games. Right-hander Jimmy Nelson makes his 2015 debut on the mound.


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

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