PITTSBURGH (WSAU-TSN) Andrew McCutchen finished 3-for-5 with a home run and three RBI and the Pittsburgh Pirates used a seven-run second inning to surge past the Milwaukee Brewers, 10-3, in the opener of a three- game set at PNC Park.
Starling Marte and Neil Walker both had two runs batted in while Pedro Alvarez and Russell Martin each had an RBI for the Pirates, who have won a season- high seven straight, their longest win streak in nine years.
Gerrit Cole (4-0) had an effective outing, surrendering three runs on eight hits and three walks in six frames.
In his Major League debut, Johnny Hellweg (0-1) was hoping for a start anything opposite of the one he had. He was dinged for seven runs -- five earned -- on six hits and two walks in just 1 2/3 innings of work.
"The first time through the lineup I was a little hesitant," said Hellwed. "The last few batters I faced I felt more comfortable."
Aramis Ramirez and Juan Francisco had an RBI apiece for the Brewers, who have lost three in a row.
Down 3-0, the Pirates decided to pick on shortstop Jean Segura in the second inning.
Garrett Jones singled and Alvarez's hit deflected off Segura's glove to start the frame. Walker delivered a two-RBI double on the first pitch he saw to the right-field gap to cut the deficit to one. After two walks loaded the bases with one out, Walker crossed the plate on a Marte ground ball to right.
Martin chopped one to Segura that looked like a double play, but the ball went past his glove on the hop to bring the score to 5-3. McCutchen hit a similar ball to Segura and again got past him to score Marte. With two outs, Alvarez smacked a single to left that chased Hellweg and brought in the seventh run of the inning.
"Every at bat counts, everything counts," said Pirates manager Clint Hurdle. "That's one of the things that has helped us come from behind and win games."
A two-out, opposite-field Marte double in the third scored Cole, who slapped a single to right to reach base.
Pittsburgh put another run on the board in the sixth when Marte tripled and crossed the plate two batters later on a McCutchen double down the third- base line.
McCutchen had the only homer of the game, coming in the eighth to account for the final margin.
Milwaukee's only runs came in the first, when Cole had trouble finding command.
Cole walked Norichika Aoki on four pitches to begin the game, and Segura and Carlos Gomez each followed up with singles to load the bases with no outs. Ramirez was beamed in the elbow to walk in Aoki. Jonathan Lucroy bailed Cole out by grounding into a double play that scored Segura and left Gomez at third. Francisco singled to left to make it 3-0.
The Brewers and Pirates play again Saturday night at 5:40pm CT on AM-550 FM-99.9 WSAU.