MILWAUKEE (AP) — Rounding first, Starling Marte saw his hard-hit fly ball bounce off an odd part of the wall and skip past center fielder Lorenzo Cain.
Marte broke into a full-fledged sprint with a chance for an inside-the-park home run finally within his sights.
He made it safely all the way home. The two-run homer helped rookie Nick Kingham win his second straight big league start in the Pittsburgh Pirates’ 6-4 victory over the Milwaukee Brewers on Friday night.
“My entire life I’ve been waiting for something like this. This was something I (dreamed) about,” Marte said through a translator. “Once I stepped on second base and I noticed that the ball was still far away from Lorenzo, I knew I had a shot.”
The ball bounced off a section of the wall in left-center set at an angle. It’s a rare play at Miller Park, though the Brewers are familiar enough to know how it will turn out.
“That’s a ball in this park that you see once a year, once every couple years,” manager Craig Counsell said. “It hits that angle right and shoots back all the way — it doesn’t matter.”
Kingham (2-0) struck out seven but allowed six hits and four runs before being chased with one out in the Brewers’ three-run sixth.
He was far less effective than in his sparkling big league debut on Sunday, when he carried a perfect game into the seventh in a 5-0 win over St. Louis. But homers from Corey Dickerson and Marte off Milwaukee’s Junior Guerra (2-2) gave the young right-hander a boost and helped end a four-game losing streak.
Kingham was pulled after allowing Domingo Santana’s two-run homer, which cut Pittsburgh’s lead to one.
Still, not many pitchers can say they got two wins in their first week in the majors.
“Perfect is a good word. I didn’t think it would be this good,” Kingham said.
Domingo Santana and Manny Pina homered for the Brewers, who had their three-game winning streak snapped.
WHAT A RELIEF
The Pittsburgh bullpen left the potential tying run at stranded in both the seventh and eighth innings. In the eighth, closer Felipe Vazquez came in with one out to get Hernan Perez to fly out before striking out Orlando Arcia to wiggle out of the jam.
Vazquez allowed a leadoff single to Jett Bandy in the ninth before getting a double play and strikeout for his sixth save in six chances.
Guerra went five innings, allowing six hits and five runs and four walks.
“What he’d been so good at his first four starts is his fastball command — it had been outstanding. And tonight he just sprayed it a little too much,” Counsell said.
JUST A BIT OUTSIDE
Milwaukee came inches away from scoring in the first after umpires ruled that Christian Yelich’s towering fly to right sailed just outside the foul pole. Yelich was later caught looking on a 3-2 fastball.
“It started off real fair, and then it took a really hard right turn out there. That’s unfortunate,” Yelich said. “What are you going to do? Chalk it up to bad luck.”
Pirates: Reliever A.J. Schugel was brought back from a rehab assignment with Triple-A Indianapolis after experiencing a recurrence of right shoulder discomfort. The right-hander, who was placed on the disabled list before the season started, reported soreness after pitching Thursday.
Brewers: Zach Davies says he expects to miss just one start after being placed on the 10-day disabled list with right rotator cuff inflammation. The right-hander said before Friday’s game against Pittsburgh that expects to start again next weekend at Colorado. RHP Jorge Lopez was recalled Friday from Triple-A Colorado Springs to take Davies’ spot on the roster.
Pirates: RHP Jameson Taillon (2-3) is 0-3 in his last four starts since tossing a one-hit shutout against Cincinnati on April 8.
Brewers: RHP Jhoulys Chacin (2-1) is 2-3 with a 5.35 ERA in six career starts against Pittsburgh.