MILWAUKEE -- The errors committed by Jean Segura and Aramis Ramirez in the first two innings of Friday's game against the Pirates weren't just rare occurrences -- they turned out to be signs of things to come in a sloppy 8-3 Brewers loss at Miller Park.
The Brewers struggled in all three phases of the game as they allowed five unearned runs to the Bucs. Starting pitcher Yovani Gallardo was shaky and the defense behind him didn't look much better as the Brewers saw a two-run first-inning lead quickly slip away through a combination of walks and sloppy fielding.
"Yovani didn't throw the ball well, but we never really gave him a chance to get into a rhythm," said Brewers manager Ron Roenicke. "The first five runs they scored, we gave to them. You can't do that. I don't know how he would have pitched. It would have been interesting to see what would have happened if he was able to get into a rhythm. Unfortunately, we didn't make plays and he never got the chance."
Meanwhile, a slumbering offense couldn't take advantage of six walks from Pittsburgh starter Jeff Locke, mustering only two hits over his six innings. The combination led the Brewers to their second straight loss following a five-game winning streak.
The Pirates climbed within five games of the first-place Brewers. Milwaukee also was unable to extend its lead on the second-place Cardinals, who lost to Philadelphia.
The Brewers took an early two-run lead on a Ryan Braun's 16th home run of the year in the first inning, but things unraveled quickly to the tune of three unearned runs in the next frame.
Russell Martin started the inning with a grounder to Ramirez at third, and his throw to first sailed over the head of Mark Reynolds. Gallardo walked the next two batters to load the bases, and a Jordy Mercer sacrifice fly and Josh Harrison double -- which bounced off the bare hand of Braun at the right-field wall -- gave the Pirates a 3-2 lead.
"He could have caught it. It wasn't an easy play," Roenicke said of Braun's play on the double. "It's a long way to run on the track -- it's a big warning track. It looked like he didn't know exactly where he was on the track and he thought he'd have to go up against the wall, but he had another step."
The Brewers would not see the lead again as Gallardo's troubles continued throughout the night. The righty did not have a clean inning during his five frames. The Bucs added a run in the third on a Neil Walker RBI triple, one in the fourth on a Harrison RBI single and another in the fifth on an Andrew McCutchen leadoff home run.
In total, Gallardo allowed six runs (three earned) on eight hits and three walks.
"The command wasn't there, especially in that second inning," Gallardo said. "I was not throwing balls where I wanted to, and obviously they were up in the zone. Those kinds of things can't happen.
"No matter what the situation is, I still have to be out there making pitches. I was able to get two outs in the second inning and threw a fastball up in the zone to Harrison. I just have to keep the ball down in the zone no matter what happens behind me and keep doing that throughout the game."
The Brewers' offense, meanwhile, went silent after Braun's first-inning blast. Locke threw only 44 of his 91 pitches for strikes, but Milwaukee couldn't come up with any timely hits to take advantage of his wildness.
"We didn't get a lot of hits off Locke, but we had a lot of baserunners out there," Roenicke said. "We just didn't get the big hit when we needed it. Brauny got the big one in the first inning, but after that, we didn't get one."
The best chance for the offense came in the sixth inning, when Locke issued two-out walks to Ramirez and Khris Davis. Rickie Weeks hit a bouncer to the shortstop, Mercer, who threw to Harrison at third to force out the sliding Ramirez.
Ramirez was called out, and Roenicke challenged as replays showed that Harrison was not on the base when he received the ball and that Ramirez may have beaten him to the bag. After a review of two minutes and 33 seconds, the call stood, ending the inning.
An overturned call would have put Reynolds, who has 21 home runs, at the plate with a chance to tie the game. Roenicke said he strongly felt that Ramirez was safe and will ask Major League Baseball for further explanation.
Segura started the eighth with another error that led to two more unearned runs. Later in the inning, Harrison sealed the Pirates' win with a two-run home run, his 11th of the season. He finished the night with a career-high five RBIs.
The night was an about-face from how the Brewers had played on their recent five-game winning streak, and afterward, Gallardo said it was a night they had to put behind them quickly.
"That's what we have to do. We all know that," Gallardo said. "Every guy in this clubhouse understands games like that are going to happen. It is just a matter of moving on and preparing for the game the following day."
Caitlin Swieca is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.