PITTSBURGH (AP) — The first inning of Johnny Hellweg's major league career couldn't have gone better. The Milwaukee Brewers big right-hander never made it out of a nightmarish second.
Hellweg was chased during a seven-run second inning that gave Gerrit Cole the support he needed to become the first Pittsburgh starter to win his first four career starts in more than a century, and the Pirates beat the Brewers 10-3 on Friday night.
Hellweg (0-1) gave up seven runs — five earned — in 1 2-3 innings. He walked two and struck out one.
"He didn't come out with very good stuff," Milwaukee manager Ron Roenicke said. "He was trying to aim the ball instead of throw it. That happens a lot of times when it's a guy's first time out."
The Brewers scored three runs in the top of the first to give Hellweg some cushion and he retired the side in order in the bottom half of the inning.
However, everything fell apart in the second inning when the Pirates sent 12 batters to the plate.
Neil Walker's double got the Pirates to 3-2, scoring Garrett Jones and Pedro Alvarez, who led off with singles.
The Pirates then loaded the bases as Hellweg walked Travis Snider and Cole around a groundout by Jordy Mercer. Starling Marte, who missed the cycle a few feet short of a home run, then singled home Walker with the tying run.
The Pirates went ahead when Russell Martin followed by hitting a grounder up the middle that shortstop Jean Segura misplayed for an error, allowing Snider and Cole to score. Andrew McCutchen and Alvarez followed with RBI singles to knock Hellweg from the game.
"We had some trouble with (Hellweg) in the first inning," McCutchen said. "He's so big and he was throwing sinkers from a downhill angle at a time when there still shadows on the field. Then we got adjusted to him."
Hellweg could feel the inning getting away from him in a hurry.
"I wanted to have a good pace, I thought that was important in my first game, but I really started rushing things, especially in that second inning," Hellweg said.
Cole (4-0) gave up the three runs in the first inning but no more as he made it through six innings, allowing eight hits with three walks and three strikeouts. Nick Maddox started 4-0 in his first four starts in 1907.
"It's really a team effort," Cole said. "I've pitched pretty well but I've gotten a lot of support defensively and our offense has been very opportunistic. It feels good to say I'm 4-0 but it feels even better because the team is playing well."
The Pirates won their seventh straight game for their longest winning streak since running off 10 in a row in 2004. Pittsburgh also improved to 49-30 after beginning the day tied for the best record in the major leagues with St. Louis, which played at Oakland on Friday night.
The Pirates haven't had a winning season since 1992 and the 20-year stretch of futility is the longest in major North American professional team sports history.
Milwaukee acquired Hellweg and Segura, who leads the National League with 104 hits, last July from the Los Angeles Angles in a trade for ace pitcher Zack Greinke. Hellweg was 7-4 with a 2.82 ERA in 14 starts with Triple-A Nashville this season.
"I think I'll be better the next time out," Hellweg said. "I found out that if you make good pitches that you can get guys out up here — but I also learned that if you make mistakes then those pitchers get hit."
Carlos Gomez, who missed the previous three games with a sprained right shoulder, had two hits for the Brewers. Segura and Juan Francisco also had two hits apiece. Rickie Weeks ran his hitting streak to 13 games.
Marte had a double and triple among his three hits, and just missed a homer in the eighth when he flied out to deep center field.
Alvarez extended his hitting streak to 11 games.
Ryan Reid pitched three scoreless innings for his first career save. He was called up from Triple-A Indianapolis on June 3 after spending seven seasons in the minor leagues.
The Brewers jumped on Cole for three quick runs.
A walk to Norichika Aoki and singles by Segura and Gomez loaded the bases and Aramis Ramirez walked to force in a run. A second run scored when Jonathan Lucroy grounded into a double play and Francisco capped the inning with an RBI single.
However, the 3-0 lead held up only for one inning and the Pirates added on runs following their seven-run second. Marte hit an RBI double in the third and tripled in the sixth and scored on McCutchen's double. McCutchen homered off Michael Gonzalez in the eighth.
NOTES: Brewers 1B Corey Hart will miss the season. He is scheduled to have surgery to repair cartilage damage in his left knee July 26. Hart has been on the disabled list all season after having right knee surgery in January. ... Milwaukee recalled RHP Tyler Thornburg from Triple-A Nashville after the game to bolster its bullpen, which pitched 7 1-3 innings. OF Caleb Gindl was optioned to Nashville. ... The Brewers activated RHP Hiram Burgos from the 15-day disabled list and optioned him to Triple-A Nashville. ... Snider left the game after six innings with a bruised right foot. ... The Pirates recalled INF/OF Josh Harrison from Triple-A Indianapolis and optioned C Tony Sanchez to the same club. ... Milwaukee RHP Donovan Hand (0-0, 2.37) faces Pittsburgh LHP Francisco Liriano (6-3, 2.30) on Saturday night.