first-place Milwaukee Brewers in the NL Central

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PITTSBURGH -- Russell Martin has played long enough to realize that games in early June are rarely pivotal. Yet the Pirates veteran catcher admitted that Friday nights win felt good as Pittsburgh tries to stay with striking distance of the first-place Milwaukee Brewers in the NL Central. Martin had three hits, including a three-run double during an eight-run sixth inning, and the Pirates rolled to a 15-5 victory over the Brewers, handing nemesis Kyle Lohse his first loss since April 1. The Pirates still trail the Brewers by six games, primarily because they have gone 3-8 against Milwaukee this season. The win was Pittsburghs sixth in its last eight games. "Anytime in the season where you can just feed off each other like that, its going to be a fun time," Martin said. "Especially against a team that were trailing right now. If you can beat up on a good team, it definitely does give you confidence." Martins double keyed an inning that increased Pittsburghs lead to 13-3 and included Jose Tabata hitting two RBI singles and reliever Tyler Thornburg issuing two bases-loaded walks. The Pirates sent 13 batters to the plate. "We were able to barrel some balls and we took some walks," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. "The hits were nice, the walks were kind of runaway walks. Not many pitches were close in the walk sequence, it is what it is." Lohse (7-2) had won seven consecutive decisions, the longest active streak in the major leagues, but was tagged for eight runs and nine hits in five-plus innings. He had won his last six decisions against the Pirates, dating to 2011, and pitched a three-hit shutout against the Chicago Cubs five days earlier. "I could go inning by inning about everything that went wrong but it was just one of those games where they hit good pitches and they hit bad pitches," Lohse said. "The best thing to do is forget about it and get ready for the next one. Thats the approach I took after I threw the shutout and thats the approach this time." Rookie Brandon Cumpton (1-2) allowed three runs in 5 1-3 innings after giving up 11 runs -- the most by a major league pitcher this season -- in 3 2-3 innings in losing his previous start at the Los Angeles Dodgers last Saturday. "I really just put my head down and got back to work after that last start," Cumpton said. "I was just trusting my stuff and know its going to be there. It was great to get out there and get back on the horse." Andrew McCutchen homered and doubled for the Pirates while Jordy Mercer homered and hit an RBI single. Carlos Gomez, Aramis Ramirez and Scooter Gennett all had two hits for the Brewers. McCutchen doubled in a run and scored on Martins single in the first inning as the Pirates jumped on Lohse early. McCutchens seventh homer, a solo shot in the third, made it 3-0. NOTES: Pittsburgh LF Starling Marte, who is hitless in his last 20 at-bats, did not start for a third straight game. Tabata took his place for a second straight game. ... Milwaukee LHP Tom Gorzelanny, who is rehabbing from off-season shoulder surgery, pitched 2 1-3 scoreless innings for Triple-A Nashville on Friday night against Memphis in a PCL game. Though he has allowed two runs in 14 innings in nine games, Gorzelanny likely wont be ready to be activated from the DL when his 30-day rehab assignment ends next Friday. ... Pirates RHP Stolmy Pimentel, who is on the DL with right shoulder inflammation, pitched three scoreless innings in a rehab start for Double-A Altoona against Trenton in the Eastern League. ... RHP Vin Mazzaro accepted an outright assignment by Pittsburgh to Triple-A Indianapolis after clearing waivers. He was designated for assignment May 26. ... Brewers RHP Matt Garza (3-4, 4.42) faces RHP Edinson Volquez (3-4, 4.25) on Saturday. 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Reyes and the team still hope that he will be ready for Opening Day in Tampa Bay in one week.London, England (SportsNetwork.com) - Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo returned to practice on Thursday for the first time since suffering a back injury 10 days ago. As he usually does, Romo missed Wednesdays session as the Cowboys began preparations for this Sundays game against Jacksonville in London. He has skipped most Wednesday practices this season as part of his regular schedule to ease the workload on his surgically repaired back. Romo, who underwent surgery for a herniated disc in his back late last year, again injured his back in the third quarter of an overtime loss to Washington on Oct. 27, although he did return for the final series of regulation and Dallas lone possession of overtime. The Cowboys initially said Romo had a contusion, but further tests eventually revealed two transverse process fractures. The transverse process is a small bony projection off the right and left side of each vertebrae. Like any injury, we have to get out test it out and see what you can do, push it a little bit, said Romo, who indicated he still has soreness and will continue treatment each day. At the same time, you have to be smart. Romo missed last Sundays game against Arizona and Brandon Weeden struggled in a 28-17 loss to the Cardinals.dddddddddddd After Romo took part in the Cowboys meetings and walk-through at the hotel on Wednesday, Weeden took the first-team reps in practice. Weeden would again be the starter on Sunday if Romo is unable to play, but Cowboys owner/general manager Jerry Jones expects his three-time Pro Bowl quarterback to be on the field. Im anticipating him playing, theres no reason to think that he wont, said Jones on Thursday. My expectations are for him to play. Romo was in pads while speaking with the media on Thursday and didnt appear comfortable, looking stiff at the podium. He didnt give any indication as to whether he would play on Sunday, saying only he would be taking a day-by-day approach. Its improving each day, he added. I think if we do something positive each day, theres a good chance. If youre always waiting until you feel great to play, youll only play a couple of games a year. You compete, you go play. Theres guys who are banged up every week and go play. No one cares (if youre hurt) when you step out on the field on Sunday, you just go out and play. If Romo is unable to play Sunday, hell have extra time to rest with the Cowboys on their bye next week. 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