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PIT@CHC: Cole strikes out 10, earns the win vs. Cubs

The way they're going, it looks like Ron Roenicke's Brewers are never out of a ballgame.

After being blown out Thursday in the opener of this four-game series, the Brewers committed four errors on Friday and beat the Pirates, 5-3. They committed another error and played a generally sloppy brand of baseball during a five-run Pirates fourth inning on Saturday, yet won again, 8-7.

The Brewers will try to do it one more time on Sunday afternoon, when Milwaukee's Marco Estrada draws Pittsburgh's Gerrit Cole at PNC Park.

"I think that's the way they feel, that they can keep coming back," Roenicke said. "That's a good pitching team over there, and for us to get runs like that, that's not easy to do. It is impressive to hang in there and keep battling like we are. It shows a lot."

With their latest win, fueled by a pair of Ryan Braun home runs, the Brewers maintained the best record in baseball at 13-5. Five of those victories have come at the Pirates' expense, including a Brewers sweep at Miller Park last weekend.

The Brewers have been able to overcome their defensive shortcomings in the past two games thanks to some early runs against Pirates starters Charlie Morton and Wandy Rodriguez, who combined to allow nine earned runs over 10 innings in their outings.

Cole will aim for a better result. He won his first two starts and has worked at least six innings in all three of his starts, but he is coming off a loss to Mike Leake and the Reds in which Cole allowed five runs on nine hits.

In general, the Pirates are still trying to get their pitching in order.

"We're addressing some problems right now," pitching coach Ray Searage said. "Sometimes we're getting some hiccups, there is no doubt about that. We're not the sharpest that we can be and that's going to take some time, but ... there's a lot of things that we're addressing."

Brewers: Busy day for Maldonado
Martin Maldonado was a popular guy on Saturday, fielding about 40 text messages, a few dozen new Facebook friends and hundreds of new followers on Twitter. That's what happens when you literally knock the cover off the ball.

Maldonado's funky hit made the Internet rounds on Friday night and throughout the day Saturday, and no one in the Brewers' clubhouse was able to remember anything like it. On social media, fans wondered whether the baseball might have been doctored, but Maldonado and other Brewers declined to guess.

One of his congratulatory messages came from Yankees outfielder Carlos Beltran, a fellow Puerto Rican.

"I told him, 'That's when you know you're going to have a good year,'" Maldonado said.

Pirates: Davis debut a success
Newly acquired first baseman Ike Davis made his presence felt in Pittsburgh on Saturday, when he batted sixth in his Pirates debut and went 2-for-3 with a walk, a double and two runs scored. The double came in his first at-bat of the night.

"I hit the ball decent tonight," Davis said. "Always try to get a walk and a knock in a game -- that's the goal. We just fell a little short tonight, but I feel like we came back pretty well there, and [closer Jason] Grilli is going to shut it down more times than not.

"You always want to get off to a good start, especially in a new environment and new fans and stuff like that and new teammates. It was nice to get a couple hits and get on base a couple times."

Worth noting
• Brewers closer Francisco Rodriguez had to warm up in a hurry after Braun delivered the go-ahead home run, but he did so in time to record his ninth scoreless appearance this season and his 310th career save. Rodriguez tied Goose Gossage for 20th on baseball's all-time saves list.

• Down at Triple-A Nashville, Brewers farmhand Mike Fiers notched a career-high 12 strikeouts to lead the Sounds to a 5-1 victory over the Omaha Storm Chasers. He retired 14 consecutive batters at one point and allowed one run over eight innings, throwing 70 of 104 pitches for strikes. Fiers became the first Nashville pitcher to fan 12 batters in an outing since Yovani Gallardo struck out 12 Memphis Redbirds on June 21, 2007.

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