MILWAUKEE, Wis (TSN-WSAU) Ryan Braun and Prince Fielder hit back-to- back home runs to support 6 1/3 strong innings from Dave Bush, as the Brewers held on to defeat Pittsburgh, 4-3, in the middle test of a three-game series from Miller Park.
Bush (4-6) gave up two runs on six hits with two walks and five strikeouts. Braun also doubled, scored three runs and walked, while Casey McGehee drove in a run, had two hits and walked. Rookie right-hander John Axford recorded his 10th save in as many opportunities despite serving up a homer in the ninth.
Milwaukee took its second straight win after Friday's come-from-behind 10- inning triumph in which Braun came through with the game-winning hit and Fielder homered to help claim a 5-4 decision.
Ryan Doumit popped a solo home run in the ninth and Garrett Jones smacked his 11th homer of the year for the Pirates, who have lost five in a row. Starter Jeff Karstens (2-4) allowed four runs on five hits with a season-high six walks in five innings.
Axford came on to protect a 4-2 lead in the ninth but saw Doumit turn on a 3-1 inside fastball that sailed out and over the right-field wall. The Pirates would get no closer, though, as Ryan Church struck out, Bobby Crosby grounded to short and Delwyn Young swung through a full-count fastball to close things out.
Braun walked, stole second and scored on a two-out McGehee base hit in the first to open the scoring. In the third, Braun leveled a line drive homer to left and Fielder lifted a deep fly over the center field fence -- both with two outs -- to give the Brewers a 3-0 lead.
"He (Karstens) was out of sync a little bit, and if you do that against a team like this, they'll make you pay for it. The home runs really hurt him. He just has to make better pitches," said Pirates manager John Russell.
Milwaukee manufactured another run in the fifth after loading the bases on Braun's double, an intentional walk to Fielder and a McGehee single. Craig Counsell got one home on a sacrifice fly, but Carlos Gomez grounded out to end the frame with a chance for more.
Pittsburgh got on the board with Jones' leadoff blast to deep center in the sixth. Pedro Alvarez followed by ripping a base hit back through the middle, but Doumit hit into a double play and Church flied out to kill a larger rally.
After Sean Gallagher fanned Braun and Javier Lopez did the same to Fielder to escape a bases-loaded jam in the sixth, the Pirates drew closer in the seventh.
Crosby led off with a single and Kameron Loe came on for Bush with one out. A wild pitch moved Crosby to third and Andrew McCutchen hit a sacrifice fly to center, halving the lead.
Zack Braddock set down Pittsburgh in order in the eighth.
"My last month or so, I've had good command...I'm feeling stronger and gotten in decent rhythm," said Bush. "We need every win we can get going into the All-Star break because we've dug a big hole for ourselves. It would be nice to get the sweep tomorrow."
The Brewers and Pirates conclude their series at 12:35pm Sunday.