MILWAUKEE -- Domingo Santana's two-run home run in the seventh inning gave the Brewers their first lead, and Orlando Arcia made it stand in the ninth with one of the sweetest game-ending plays you'll ever see.Arcia's daring play finished the Brewers' 4-3 win over the Pirates on Wednesday at Miller
MILWAUKEE -- Domingo Santana's two-run home run in the seventh inning gave the Brewers their first lead, and Orlando Arcia made it stand in the ninth with one of the sweetest game-ending plays you'll ever see.
Arcia's daring play finished the Brewers' 4-3 win over the Pirates on Wednesday at Miller Park, decided by Santana's opposite-field homer off Pirates reliever Daniel Hudson that barely stayed fair in the the Brewers' three-run seventh. As it left his bat, Santana wasn't sure to which side of the foul pole it would sail.
"I was just hoping the whole time it would stay fair," Santana said. "I'm so glad it did."
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"Off the bat, I thought it might go foul," said Hudson, who was forced to throw a fastball near the strike zone after falling behind in the count, 2-0. "It just stayed fair. He did a good job. He did a good job of sitting on it and shooting it that way."
Santana's 12th home run set a new career-high. Four of them have given the Brewers a lead, including two in the seventh inning. The right fielder also drove in the Brewers' first run with an RBI single in the third inning.
Josh Bell homered for the Pirates, and starter Trevor Williams set a career high with seven strikeouts over six-plus innings. Pittsburgh got its first two runs through RBI doubles from Josh Harrison and John Jaso.
Pittsburgh built a 3-1 lead against the Brewers' Junior Guerra. Command continues to elude the Brewers' Opening Day starter since his return from the disabled list, as Guerra surrendered seven hits and five walks in six innings, but he managed to limit the damage, allowing three runs.
"We would've liked to have gotten more," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. "[Guerra] had five walks early. We had a couple opportunities to get him -- with bases loaded one out in the second, [and] we had two on with one out in the fourth. We weren't able to crack him there, so he held ground."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Game over: With the tying runner at second base and two outs in the ninth, Arcia went up the middle to field Jaso's slow grounder, spun around and bounced a throw to Eric Thames at first base for the final out of Corey Knebel's 11th save. Arcia's second such play on the homestand provided a stunning finish.
"I was yelling, 'Don't throw it!'" Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. "I mean, to myself, that's what I was thinking. That's his play, for sure. And it took a great play on Thames' end, too. That's a special play and a huge moment." More >
Quite the company: Bell's homer to deep right-center field gave Pittsburgh a 3-1 lead. The rookie first baseman's long ball was his 13th of the season, second most for a Pirates rookie before the All-Star break since 1933. Bell still has more than two weeks to catch a legend; Hall of Famer Ralph Kiner hit 15 before the break to begin his rookie season in '46.
Damage control: Guerra had trouble finding the strike zone in the first two innings, throwing 21 of his first 37 pitches outside the zone, but the Brewers' defense helped him keep the Pirates off the board by turning slick double plays. In the first, first baseman Jesus Aguilar snared Jaso's line drive and doubled-up Harrison leaning off second base to end the inning. With the bases loaded and one out in the second, Eric Sogard made a nice play on Chris Stewart's grounder up the middle and started a 4-6-3 double play to escape again.
"We have a really good defense up the middle, and they helped me a lot," Guerra said. "That's what they're out there for. You just have to be thankful we have our defense. … All the walks lately, I feel like I've been battling a lot the last couple of starts. But I feel like I'm a warrior. I just keep battling."
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The Pirates made Knebel work for his 11th save, when Adam Frazier capped an eight-pitch at-bat with a single and Harrison followed with a nine-pitch strikeout. That gave Knebel at least one strikeout in each of his first 37 appearances, tying Albertin Chapman's modern-era record for a reliever to start a season. Chapman set the mark with the Reds in 2014.
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Pirates: Right-hander Ivan Nova will seek his third straight win and fifth straight quality start when he takes the mound for the Pirates in the series finale at 2:10 p.m. ET on Thursday. Nova is coming off a win over the Cubs on Saturday, where he touched 97 mph on his last pitch. He has thrown at least six innings in all 14 of his starts this season.
Brewers:Chase Anderson will look to help the Brewers even the four-game series when he makes his 15th start of the season at 1:10 p.m. CT. Anderson has eight quality starts this season and holds a 1.74 ERA over his last three outings. He also found success against the Bucs last season, going 3-1 with a 2.16 ERA in five starts.
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Adam McCalvy has covered the Brewers for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @AdamMcCalvy, like him on Facebook and listen to his podcast.
*Carson Mason * is a reporter for MLB.com based in Milwaukee and covered the Pirates on Wednesday.