MILWAUKEE (AP) – From winning a division title and a playoff series to making two All-Star teams, Jonathan Lucroy has enjoyed plenty of positive moments since debuting with the Milwaukee Brewers in 2010.
With Lucroy prominently mentioned in trade speculation, the 32,405 fans at Miller Park potentially provided one last memory when they gave him standing ovations before and after he flied out as a pinch hitter Sunday in a 4-2 win over Pittsburgh.
“It was pretty cool, a lot of fun,” said Lucroy, who turned down a trade to Cleveland over the weekend. “I wish I would have gotten a knock there, but we won the game, so that’s all that matters.”
“The fans have been great to me here. I couldn’t ask for a better environment to grow up in if something does happen. If nothing does happen, it’s going to be awkward the rest of the year. We’ll see what happens. It’s out of your control at this point,” he said.
Lucroy nixed that swap to the AL Central-leading Indians. But other teams want the 30-year-old catcher before Monday’s deal deadline and he has a limited no-trade clause.
Pirates pitching coach Ray Searage visited the mound as Lucroy walked to the plate in the eighth inning. With the crowd chanting his name, Lucroy tipped his helmet to acknowledge the cheers.
With two on and two outs, Lucroy flied out. He left the field to another standing ovation.
“I think it all worked out the way I wanted it to,” Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. “I don’t know what is going to happen, but I thought he deserved that.”
“I thought the fans deserved that. It worked out right. It was a really good spot for it to happen. I’m glad the fans acknowledged him. I know he appreciated it,” he said.
Keon Broxton and Chris Carter hit solo home runs as Milwaukee completed a three-game sweep.
Pirates second baseman Josh Harrison exited with discomfort in his right leg after a hard collision with Broxton on a sacrifice bunt in the sixth.
Matt Garza (2-4) gave up one earned run in five innings, ending his four-game losing streak. Jeremy Jeffress earned his fourth save in as many days and his 27th of the season in 28 chances.
“My stuff is coming back,” Garza said. “I’ve been kind of playing catch up from Day One. It is all coming back – arm strength, velocity, consistency and mechanical repeatability. I’m pretty pumped.”
Francisco Liriano (6-11) allowed four runs in five innings.
The Pirates have lost nine consecutive games at Miller Park and are 17-64 in Milwaukee since 2007.
“We come in here, what did we get, six runs?” manager Clint Hurdle said. “It has been one of the challenges we’ve had here different times, too many strikeouts. Too many soft outs throughout the series. They pitched better, we still had pitches to hit.”
Gregory Polanco’s second home run in as many days pulled Pittsburgh to within 2-1 in the third.
Brewers 2B Scooter Gennett extended his career-high hitting streak to 10 games with a single in the first. He is batting .368 (14 for 38) during the string.
Pirates: RHP Ryan Vogelsong, who has been out since May 24 with facial fractures, will come off the disabled list to start Thursday in Atlanta. Vogelsong went 1-2 with a 2.86 ERA in four minor league rehab starts.
Brewers: LF Ryan Braun was out of the lineup for the fourth straight game Sunday with right side tightness. Counsell said he hopes Braun will be able to play Monday in San Diego.
Pirates: RHP Gerrit Cole (6-6, 2.78 ERA) will try to build upon his first professional complete game when he starts against Atlanta on Tuesday. Cole allowed one run over nine innings in a 10-1 win over Seattle on July 27.
Brewers: RHP Jimmy Nelson (6-9, 3.42) will pitch the series opener in San Diego. Just two of the eight runs scored against Nelson in a loss to Arizona on July 27 were earned.