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Morgan lifts a walk-off sac fly to right field

MILWAUKEE -- Nyjer Morgan struck out and flied out in his last two at-bats against the Pittsburgh Pirates on Sunday.

For a Brewers team that seemingly can't lose to Pittsburgh, both at-bats led to runs and another victory over the Pirates.

Morgan's sacrifice fly to deep right field scored George Kottaras from third in the 10th inning, giving Milwaukee a 2-1 comeback victory.

Kottaras hit a one-out single to left off Chris Resop (3-4), and Casey McGehee doubled into the right-field corner, moving Kottaras to third. Morgan then hit the first pitch from Resop to the warning track, allowing Kottaras to score easily.

Morgan initially thought he might have hit a home run, and he stood at home plate watching the ball until his teammates yelled for him to run to first.

"I was so fired up that I almost forgot to run," Morgan said.

After being stifled by Pittsburgh starter Charlie Morton for seven innings, the Brewers rallied to tie the score with two outs in the eighth, as Pittsburgh closer Joel Hanrahan blew only his second save in 32 chances. Milwaukee got an extra out in the inning when Morgan struck out but reached on a wild pitch.

"That's a huge break for us," Milwaukee manager Ron Roenicke said.

Morgan, who is batting .317 in 82 games this season, said he initially didn't realize the ball got past catcher Michael McKenry. His teammates tipped him off to run.

"I heard a voice yelling out, 'Run.' That's what I did," he said. "Basically, I got a little help from the boys on the bench."

Pinch-runner Jerry Hairston Jr. moved from second to third on the wild pitch and scored when Ryan Braun singled sharply to center field, tying the score at 1.

"It's very unconventional, it doesn't happen too often," Braun said of winning the way the Brewers did on Sunday.

The Brewers obtained Morgan from the Washington Nationals during Spring Training, giving up Minor League outfielder/designated hitter Cutter Dykstra. While Dykstra is batting .225 in 84 games for the Potomac Nationals in Class A, Morgan has exceeded expectations for the Brewers.

"Nyjer is involved in a lot, that's for sure," Roenicke said. "Whether he's running the bases or he's at the plate doing something, the guy's involved a lot.

"Hey, what a huge pickup he is for us this year."

The eighth-inning run ended Morton's scoreless-innings streak at 24 1/3 frames.

It was the last game in a stretch for the Brewers where they played 18 straight contests against National League Central teams, going 16-2 in that span. Milwaukee has beaten Pittsburgh in all eight games this year, and 36 of 39 times at Miller Park dating to 2007.

The Brewers improved to 26-15 in one-run games.

"It's one of those things that kind of feeds on itself," Braun said. "When you have success in a situation like that, you really start to believe that you'll find a way to win close games. It started early in the year. We found a way to win some tough games, we found a way to win some one-run games. We've found different ways to win."

The Pirates left seven runners on base in the final three innings, including the bases loaded against reliever Takashi Saito (3-1) in the 10th.

"We made some good pitches," Roenicke said.

Pittsburgh has lost 16 of 19, but Roenicke said the Pirates are a good team.

"They're not going to go away, they're not going to just give us games," Roenicke said. "They're always on base, they're battling. They know what we have coming out of the bullpen, and yet they're still getting guys on base.

"That's a very good team over there. When we beat a team like that three games, I feel great about it. I know we got breaks today, but you've got to feel great."

Milwaukee starter Shawn Marcum had another strong start, pitching 7 2/3 innings and retiring 15 of 16 batters at one point. Marcum allowed one run on five hits and two walks while striking out five. Garrett Jones and Andrew McCutchen hit consecutive doubles in the first to score the only run off the right-hander.

"The quality of his pitches, probably the last six innings, were outstanding," Roenicke said. "He continues to go out there and always keep us in the game."

Morton, also a right-hander, came into the game allowing left-handed hitters to bat .384 against him while holding right-handed hitters to a .197 average. Those statistics prompted Brewers manager Ron Roenicke to stack the lineup with left-handers Morgan, Prince Fielder, Mark Kotsay and Craig Counsell, and switch-hitter Felipe Lopez.

Those five players, though, were 1-for-13 with a walk and a hit-by-pitch against Morton. Comments