Brewers 9, Pirates 7: Rickie Weeks ripped a two-run triple and came around to score on Aramis Ramirez's RBI single in the eighth inning as visiting Milwaukee overcame a three-run deficit to complete a three-game sweep of reeling Pittsburgh.
Ramirez belted a two-run homer among his three hits and scored twice for the Brewers, who posted their fifth straight victory and 23rd in 29 outings to remain within 2 1/2 games of St. Louis. The Cardinals recorded a 5-4 triumph over Houston earlier on Thursday.
With Milwaukee facing a three-run deficit in the eighth inning, Norichika Aoki brought the Brewers closer with an RBI double to right field. Chris Resop (1-4) relieved an ineffective Chad Qualls and promptly permitted Weeks' triple to left-center field to tie the game. Ramirez capped the four-run frame by smacking a single up the middle as Weeks trotted home with the eventual game-winning run.
Andrew McCutchen went deep for the second straight contest with a three-run homer in the third inning. Clint Barmes belted a solo shot and rookie Starling Marte added an RBI single in the three-run sixth for the Pirates (74-75), who have plunged in the other direction after dropping 15 of 19 to fall below .500 for the first time since May 29. Pittsburgh sits 5 1/2 games behind St. Louis.
Manny Parra (2-3), who pitched one scoreless frame, benefited from the four-run eighth-inning uprising to pick up the victory. Francisco Rodriguez bridged the gap to John Axford, who struck out a pair in the ninth for his 31st save.
GAME NOTEBOOK: Milwaukee has won seven in a row and 11 of 15 against Pittsburgh. ... Aoki led off the contest with a single to shallow left field to extend his hitting streak to 10 games. ... Milwaukee 1B Corey Hart returned after an eight-game absence due to torn tissue along the arch in his left foot. He exited after five innings.