MILWAUKEE (AP) -- One day after serving as a decoy, Gabe Gross really made his Brewers debut Tuesday night.
He made it count, too.Gross homered as a pinch-hitter in his first at-bat with the
Brewers and Chris Capuano pitched six solid innings to lead
Milwaukee past the Pittsburgh Pirates 7-5."It's a little more fun to actually have the bat in your
hands," Gross said.Gross was announced as a pinch-hitter at a crucial juncture
Monday, only to be withdrawn in favor of Jeff Cirillo when
Pittsburgh changed pitchers.After watching Cirillo deliver a two-run single in the season
opener, it was Gross' turn Tuesday -- two examples, Gross said,
of the sort of clutch hitting the Brewers will need if they are to
fulfill high expectations this season."We really have a chance to contend this year, and it's going
to take what Jeff Cirillo did yesterday, what I did today," Gross
said.It's also going to take a little luck, as closer Derrick Turnbow
demonstrated in a shaky ninth inning.With runners at second and third and one out, Pirates
pinch-hitter Freddy Sanchez hit a liner up the middle that appeared
headed for center field and a tying, two-run single. But Turnbow
reacted quickly and caught it."Pure luck," Turnbow said.Bad luck for the Pirates and manager Jim Tracy."Personally, I don't know how he caught it," Tracy said.Turnbow retired Nate McLouth on a popup to end the game and earn
his second save."When things are going good, they're going good," Brewers
manager Ned Yost said.Jeromy Burnitz, whose pinch-hit homer sparked a three-run
seventh inning that shaved the Brewers' lead to one, said it was a
good sign for the Pirates."That's a positive sign to be on a guy that's so nasty,"
Burnitz.It was another rough night for Brewers prospect Prince Fielder,
who struck out three times after going 0-for-4 with four strikeouts
in the season opener Monday."Everybody goes through that," Yost said. "It's nothing to
worry about."Fielder, the son of former major league slugger Cecil Fielder,
managed to make contact with a weak groundout to first in the
fourth inning and a flyout in the eighth.Fielder said the early struggles aren't hurting his confidence."It's all right," he said.Gross' two-run shot in the sixth inning landed on a catwalk in
right-center, putting the Brewers ahead 5-2. J.J. Hardy added an
RBI single later in the inning.Gross hit his first career pinch-hit homer. He was acquired from
Toronto with right-hander Dave Bush and pitching prospect Zach
Jackson in a trade for first baseman Lyle Overbay in December.
Gross became the fifth player in Brewers history to hit a home run
in his first plate appearance for the team.After the Pirates' three-run rally in the seventh, Damian Miller
singled home Rickie Weeks in the bottom half.Two days, two tough losses for the Pirates."You can't ask a group of players to play any harder than they
have for two days and, especially tonight, take the kind of at-bats
that we took all night long," Tracy said.Capuano, an 18-game winner last year, gave up two runs and
struck out seven for the win.Victor Santos, who was 15-25 over the past two seasons with
Milwaukee, took the loss in his debut with the Pirates. Santos'
wild pitch in the fifth allowed Brady Clark to score the go-ahead
run, as the Brewers took a 3-2 lead.Santos didn't get much of a charge out of facing his former team
for the first time."We're coming back again, so we're going to face them again,"
he said.Santos pitched 4 1/3 innings, giving up eight hits and three
runs. He struck out four, walked two and threw two wild pitches.
After hearing some grumbling that the fancy new electronic
out-of-town scoreboard on the left-field wall at Miller Park is
distracting to batters, Yost said the brightness level might need
to be adjusted. Then again, Yost said, "Some of the stuff, if you
get used to it, you can play [it] into a home-field advantage."
... The Pirates signed right-handed reliever Salomon Torres to a
two-year contract extension. ... Corey Koskie started at third base
for the Brewers. Koskie is expected to be the Brewers' everyday
third baseman this year, but Bill Hall started Monday. ...
Attendance was 15,515.