Brault’s bad start, other blahs overcome in beating Brewers, 6-3

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Andrew McCutchen doubles in the first. - GETTY

MILWAUKEE -- Andrew McCutchen, Josh Bell and Jordy Mercer drove in two runs each to push the Pirates past the Brewers, 6-3, Tuesday night at Miller Park, their fifth straight win at the House of Horrors and their sixth win in nine games on this road trip.

And big whoop, right?

There's stretch-drive September baseball, and there's everything-else September baseball, and the rest of this one pretty much lived down to expectations. Both teams' starters lasted only four innings, and there was bad body language all over the place to go with bad fielding and bad, bad, bad, everywhere you looked, not least of which was a moribund gathering of about a quarter of the announced paid crowd of 20,829.

"We've talked about a lot of different things in here lately, changed up some things we're doing to keep the focus fresh," Clint Hurdle said afterward of the Pirates, now 75-75 and 4 1/2 games out of what's now a three-team tie for the National League's two wild-card spots. Neither he nor anyone in the clubhouse is conceding, but the realism cloud is settling. "You want to play good baseball. You want to finish strong."