Erik Bedard pitched effectively into the seventh inning for his first win in more than a month, Andrew McCutchen homered, and the Pittsburgh Pirates beat the Colorado Rockies 6-2 Tuesday night to become the fifth team with at least 50 wins.
The Pirates joined the New York Yankees (56), Texas Rangers (54), Washington Nationals (52) and Cincinnati Reds (51), whom they trail by one game in the NL Central.
Bedard (5-10) went 62/3 innings and allowed two runs — one earned — on five hits in snapping his second four-game losing streak of the season. He struck out four and walked four in his first win since beating Kansas City on June 8. Christian Friedrich (5-7) gave up five runs on six hits in 42/3 innings in losing for the sixth time in his last seven decisions.
In the ninth inning, the Rockies loaded the bases against Joel Hanrahan before the Pirates closer ended the game.
In Milwaukee, Francisco Rodriguez picked up a save on his first night as the Brewers’ new closer, Rickie Weeks hit a mammoth home run and Randy Wolf won his first game since April 30 as the Brewers beat the St. Louis Cardinals 3-2.
The Cardinals’ Matt Holliday left the game after getting hit in the leg with a pitch in the first inning and Brewers slugger Ryan Braun was removed with a right adductor strain in the seventh. St. Louis’ Lance Berkman was ejected for arguing a call.
Brewers manager Ron Roenicke gave the closer’s job to Rodriguez before the game with John Axford continuing to struggle.
It wasn’t easy for Rodriguez, who allowed the first two batters to reach before nailing down his second save this season.
Wolf (3-6) went 62/3 innings, giving up two runs and eight hits with a walk and six strikeouts.
Cardinals starter Joe Kelly (1-2) took the loss.
Rodriguez gave up a leadoff double to David Freese, then a single to Yadier Molina to put runners on first and third with no outs.
Rodriguez then got Matt Carpenter to ground out, holding the runner at third, and struck out pinch hitter Skip Schumaker. With runners on second and third, Rodriguez got pinch hitter Daniel Descalso to pop up and end the game.
Wolf hasn’t had a victory since April 30 at San Diego, but the Brewers’ bullpen shares some of the blame for his winless streak. Coming into Tuesday’s game, Wolf was 0-4 with a 5.45 ERA during his last 12 starts. During that stretch, he left seven games with the lead, only to have the bullpen blow it.