Pittsburgh's 2-1 victory over Milwaukee on Saturday was not just another win for a Pirates team that has a Major League-high 50 of them this season. The win in the middle contest of a three-game set with the Brewers at PNC Park gave the Pirates an eight-game winning streak and 50 wins prior to July 1 for the first time in franchise history.
The closest the club has come to winning that many through the month of June came in 1971, when that World Series Championship squad won its 50th game on July 1, en route to a 97-65 regular season record.
With a win on Sunday, the Bucs would sweep the Brewers and come within one game of their first 10-game winning streak since 2004. They would then have a chance to secure the double-digit streak on Tuesday in a series opener against the Phillies.
"We've got to acknowledge we're having our best season in 21 years ... so far," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. "We're happy with what we've done, but understand there are many more miles on this road to travel. Our process is not going to change. No. 1, control the grind, and No. 2, eliminate distractions."
The Brewers, meanwhile, suffered their fourth loss in a row and second straight to begin a seven-game road trip in Pittsburgh and Washington, D.C. After going 11-9 to start June, Milwaukee has lost five of its last six and secured its second consecutive losing month with Saturday's loss.
The Pirates send right-hander Charlie Morton against Milwaukee righty Kyle Lohse on in the series' final game Sunday.
Pirates: Morton looks to reverse trend against Brewers
Morton puts his bad history against the Brewers on the line Sunday. He is 0-4 against Milwaukee in his career, including an 0-3 mark and 5.79 ERA at PNC Park.
In his last start on June 23, the sinkerballer allowed the Angels only one fly ball in 5 2/3 innings, but the ground balls he lives by kept finding holes. He allowed four hits and three earned runs and got a no-decision.
"If I'm getting ground balls, I'm accomplishing what I need to do," Morton said. "I can't control the results. And I can't let it take me out of my game, I have to stay aggressive in the zone."
Brewers: Milwaukee loses Hart, Braun for extended time
Bad news on the injury front continued to roll in for the Brewers on Saturday when they learned they would lose Corey Hart for the year and Ryan Braun until likely after the All-Star break.
Hart traveled to Los Angeles this week for a second opinion from Dodgers team physician Neal ElAttrache, who will perform surgery on July 26 to repair a defect in Hart's left knee. Hart injured the knee while rehabbing a very similar right knee injury that has kept him out the entire season.
Braun has missed most of June with an irritated nerve between his right thumb and index finger, an injury that sent him to the disabled list for the first time in his career.
"Any time you lose a third hitter with the quality that he is, you can't replace it," Brewers manager Ron Roenicke said. "What you do is you try to put your best guy there. I moved Carlos [Gomez] into that spot, but Carlos was so good for us hitting fifth and sixth that now we miss that spot in the lineup. So you can move pieces around, but whatever you move around, then you hurt yourself [at another position].
"Carlos, as good as he is, he's not Ryan Braun. And then along with Aramis [Ramirez] not being 100 percent, it hurts."
• Lohse is 9-2 with a 3.41 ERA in his career against the Pirates. That is the highest winning percentage (.818) against any opponent in his 13-year career.
Lohse did not have his best stuff against the Cubs on Tuesday, but he delivered a quality start in Milwaukee's 9-3 win and improved to 3-6. He allowed eight hits and three earned runs in seven innings pitched. His big mistake came on a third inning Nate Schierholtz three-run homer, but the righty settled down from there.
• Brewers shortstop Jean Segura extended his hitting streak to 12 games with a first-inning single Saturday.
Kevin Massoth is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.