WEAU | Eau Claire, Wisconsin | Sports

Braun hits walk-off grand slam in 10th as Brewers keep pace with Mets

Ryan Braun hit a grand slam in the 10th inning, and the Milwaukee Brewers finished a sweep of the Pittsburgh Pirates with a 5-1 victory Thursday night to remain tied in the NL wild-card race.

Rickie Weeks led off the 10th with a single off reliever Jesse Chavez. Jason Kendall advanced Weeks to second with a sacrifice bunt, and the Pirates walked Ray Durham intentionally. Chavez (0-1) struck out Mike Cameron, but walked pinch-hitter Craig Counsell to load the bases.

Braun then clobbered a 2-2 pitch deep to left field, holding up his bat and hollering to the Brewers' dugout as he began to circle the bases.

Mitch Stetter (3-1) earned the victory after pitching out of a jam in the top half of the inning, keeping the Brewers tied with the New York Mets in the NL wild-card race.

With one out in the 10th, Pittsburgh's Jason Michaels reached safely after shortstop J.J. Hardy made an impressive play to field a ground ball but drew Prince Fielder off first base with his throw. With a hit-and-run play on, Michaels avoided a double play and advanced to second on a ground ball by Freddy Sanchez.

Stetter replaced Paul Coffey and got Nate McLouth to strike out and end the inning.

Making his first start since tearing a knee ligament May 1, Yovani Gallardo pitched only four innings but made them count. The Brewers' promising 22-year-old right-hander struck out seven while giving up a run and three hits.

Pirates starter Zach Duke held the Brewers to a run and seven hits in seven innings and left with the score tied 1-1. Pittsburgh threatened to take the lead in the ninth, but reliever Salomon Torres got pinch hitter Doug Mientkiewicz to fly out with runners at first and second.

Gallardo cruised through the first three innings as Milwaukee took a 1-0 lead. Cameron reached base on an infield hit in the third after shortstop Brian Bixler bobbled a ground ball, and Bill Hall hit an RBI double off the wall in right center.

Gallardo appeared to run out of gas in the fourth, though, giving up a one-out homer to Steve Pearce that tied the game.

Gallardo then walked Andy LaRoche and ran the count to 3-1 on Ronny Paulino before getting him to ground into an inning-ending double play. Carlos Villanueva replaced Gallardo to start the fifth.

Expected to be the Brewers' No. 2 starter behind Ben Sheets this season, Gallardo made only three starts before tearing a ligament in his right knee while trying to hurdle a baserunner against the Chicago Cubs on May 1.

Gallardo, who was 9-5 with a 3.67 ERA after a midseason callup last year, also had arthroscopic surgery on his left knee just before spring training this season.


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