PITTSBURGH (AP) -- Kip Wells came within five outs of a no-hitter
Monday night, but Jamey Wright pitched even better.
Pittsburgh's Kip Wells reacts after losing his no-hitter in the eighth inning.
Alex Sanchez broke up Wells' no-hit bid with one out in the
eighth inning, and Wright pitched a three-hitter as the Milwaukee
Brewers beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 2-0 Monday night. "That's probably the most frustrating loss I've had in the big
leagues,'' Wells said. Wright (2-6) held the Pirates to three singles as he won for the
first time since beating San Diego on May 24. It was his second
shutout, first this season. Wright had lost his last three decisions to the Pirates and four
straight in Pittsburgh. He struck out four and walked four. "Wells has great stuff and he was in a rhythm,'' Wright said.
"He probably deserved better than what he got. I've been there.
I've lost games where I've pitched great, too. Wells (9-5) struck out Wright for the first out of the eighth
before Sanchez lined an 0-1 pitch over third baseman Aramis Ramirez
for a single. Sanchez, who has been focusing on hitting to the opposite field,
was looking for an outside pitch. "I felt it was a pretty good pitch,'' Wells said. "A backdoor
curveball. He did a great job getting the bat on it in a key
situation. You have to give him credit for that.'' Sanchez stole second, went to third on a fly ball and scored
when a slumping Jeffrey Hammonds doubled to right-center. Hammonds
ended a 0-for-20 skid with his hit. "I had a good pitch to hit and I didn't miss it,'' Hammonds
said. "I saw him four times over the night. The last at bat, I had
a good swing and hit the ball.'' Wells took the mound after rain delayed the start of the game by
37 minutes. He allowed the two hits, three walks and hit a batter,
He struck out five and threw 102 pitches before leaving for a
pinch-hitter. "I didn't really think I was that overpowering,'' Wells said.
"I thought I made some pitches and got them to hit balls at
guys.'' Manager Lloyd McClendon agreed that Wells wasn't overwhelming
all night. "He didn't really have his best stuff coming out of the
bullpen,'' McClendon said. "He really didn't pitch all that well
for the first few innings. But once he settled into a groove he
pitched a heck of a game.'' Wright matched him, although he didn't see much of Wells' work.
Wright said he went inside for frequent changes of clothing on a
hot, humid night. "I changed jerseys three times and t-shirts five times,'' he
said. "That kind of weather is what I grew up with in Oklahoma but
it's been like nine years since I pitched in that. I don't know how
I was so successful doing it back then. "It was just smoking out there. It was hard to grip the ball.'' Second baseman Pokey Reese helped Wells' bid with two
exceptional defensive plays. On both occasions, Reese ranged to his
left and spun completely around to make his throw to first. He retired Hammonds for the second out of the third inning,
scooping the ball at the back edge of the infield dirt. Reese made
a more difficult play on Eric Young in the sixth, fielding the
grounder on the edge of the outfield grass and making a throw that
got Young by a step. Wells put five runners on base through the first seven innings.
In addition to the walks, he hit Jose Hernandez with a pitch to
open the third and made a throwing error that allowed Sanchez to
reach with one out in the sixth. "We were threatening,'' Hammonds said. "We got some guys on
base but he could always come up with the big pitch.'' Reliever Mike Fetters walked Alex Ochoa to open the ninth. Ochoa
moved up on an infield out and scored when Paul Bako lined Scott
Sauerbeck's first pitch for a single.
The Brewers were 1-12 at PNC Park over the last two
seasons. ... Wright improved to 1-4 against NL Central opponents.
... Wright's second strikeout of the game was the 500th of his
career. ... The Pirates' last no-hitter came when Francisco Cordova
and Ricardo Rincon combined on a 10-inning, 3-0 defeat of Houston
on July 12, 1997 at Three Rivers Stadium. Cordova pitched the first
nine innings. ... Milwaukee had been no-hit twice in the
franchise's previous 33 seasons, most recently by Minnesota's Scott
Erickson, a 6-0 decision on April 27, 1994 at the Metrodome.