PITTSBURGH - Yet another example of why baseball is a hard game to figure played out Wednesday afternoon at PNC Park.
The Pirates agreed in principal to trade their leader in home runs, first baseman Adam LaRoche, to the Boston Red Sox for two minor-leaguers in the moments leading up to their game with the Milwaukee Brewers.
While the final details of the trade were being worked out, the Pirates had their biggest power surge of the season, hitting five home runs as they posted an 8-7 victory on Brandon Moss' leadoff home run in the bottom of the ninth inning at PNC Park.
"Ironic," Moss said about hitting the last of the five homers on the day LaRoche, who hit 12 in 89 games, was traded.
"Good timing," Pirates manager John Russell said. "This is what we're going to need to do. We need contributions from everyone. We don't have the type of team where one guy is going to carry us. We need a lot of guys hitting."
Ryan Doumit had the fourth two-home run game of his career and rookies Andrew McCutchen and Garrett Jones also went deep as the Pirates won for the fourth time in six games since the All-Star break.
Tonight: Pittsburgh Pirates at Arizona Diamondbacks, 9:40 p.m.
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Jones added two doubles while raising his home run total to nine in 17 games since being called up from Class AAA Indianapolis. Delwyn Young had three hits and a walk.
Moss provided the game-winning shot by connecting on a 3-1 fastball from Mitch Stetter (2-1) that landed in the Pirates' bullpen in center field, setting off a big celebration at home plate.
"My teammates pounded on me pretty good," Moss said. "It was worth it, though. It's a lot of fun to win a game like that. It's a tough day because you lose a good teammate and a great friend in Adam, so it's nice to balance things out with a win."
Moss began the season as the Pirates' regular right fielder but has steadily lost playing time and is hitting just .254 with five home runs and 25 RBIs in 76 games. However, he has four home runs in his last 10 games after hitting only one in his first 66.
Moss credits the recent power surge with a better approach at the plate.
"The book on me with opposing pitchers had pretty much become that they could get ahead in the count early then make me hit their pitch," Moss said. "I've tried to be much more patient and that worked for me in the last at-bat. I knew Stetter had a really good slider and I wasn't going to let him beat me with it. I was able to work the count in my favor so he had to throw a fastball and I was able to get a good swing on it."
Doumit, the switch-hitting catcher, had two of his better swings since returning from the disabled list June 10 after missing 76 games with a broken right wrist. They were his first two homers since being activated, giving four for the season.
"I'm feeling stronger every day," Doumit said. "I feel like I'm swinging at good pitches and driving the ball."
Doumit hit a two-run home run in the first inning to put the Pirates ahead 2-1. He then hit one of three solo homers in the third off Jeff Suppan, along with McCutchen and Jones, to push the lead to 5-2.
Doumit's second homer landed in the first row of seats in right field and was originally ruled a double because of fan interference. The call was changed following a replay review.
The Pirates needed the runs because starter Paul Maholm promptly gave the lead back in the fifth. The Brewers scored five times on Ryan Braun's three-run triple and Casey McGehee's two-run homer to go ahead 7-5.
The Pirates tied it at 7 in the bottom of the fifth on consecutive RBI doubles by Andy LaRoche and Ramon Vazquez.
Maholm was tagged for seven runs and seven hits in 4 2/3 innings while walking three and striking out five. However, Joel Hanrahan, John Grabow and Matt Capps (2-5) combined for 4 1/3 scoreless relief innings.
Capps struck out McGehee with runners on first and third to end the top of the ninth and keep the score tied at 7, setting the stage for Moss.
"We had been throwing McGehee breaking balls all day and we got him with the fastball," Capps said. "I had a little extra on it. I was pumped up. I knew if I could hold them that we were going to pull it out in the bottom of the ninth."