Pirates continue to own Brewers


MILWAUKEE (AP) -- The Pittsburgh Pirates have dominated the
Milwaukee Brewers like no team in nearly 30 years.

Kris Benson pitched eight solid innings and Rob Mackowiak
homered as the Pirates beat Milwaukee for the 15th time this year,
3-2 Sunday.

Pittsburgh won the season series 15-4. The 15 losses to one team
tied a Brewers record -- they also dropped 15 games to Baltimore and
Oakland in 1973.

Milwaukee scored only 3.6 runs per game against the Pirates this

"Pitching is everything,'' Pittsburgh manager Lloyd McClendon
said. "We certainly pitched well against Milwaukee this year.
Throughout their lineup, they are probably deeper than we are.''

Benson (6-6) came into the game allowing a .304 batting average,
but Milwaukee managed only one run on eight hits in eight innings.

The right-hander missed all of last season after elbow surgery,
and is limited to 95 pitches per start this year as he works to
strengthen his arm.

He used 92 pitches to shut down the Brewers, and has given up
only six earned runs over 26 innings in his last four starts.

"Hopefully, this isn't my last start of the season,'' Benson
said, referring to the Aug. 30 strike date set by the players'
union. "Hopefully, I have a month left. Keep your fingers crossed.

"I want to get some momentum going into next year,'' he said.
"I feel good as to the progress I've made this year.''

Mike Williams worked the ninth for his 37th save in 40 chances,
allowing an RBI groundout to Ryan Thompson.

A day after combining for 37 runs on 36 hits, the lowest-scoring
teams in the NL reverted to form by struggling at the plate and
squandering opportunities.

Pittsburgh went 0-for-13 with runners in scoring position, and
Milwaukee hit into three double plays.

Baserunning was a key in the game, with Pokey Reese making a
good play for Pittsburgh and Alex Sanchez making a mistake for
Milwaukee, which lost its fifth consecutive game.

Jamey Wright (5-13) threw a wild pitch in the third that hit the
backstop and bounced back to catcher Robert Machado. But Reese
raced in from third to barely beat the throw to Wright for a 1-0
Pittsburgh lead.

"It was closer than I thought it would be,'' Reese said. "I
had to get on my horse there.''

Sanchez led off the first with a single and stole his 35th base.
But he was doubled off on Mark Loretta's flyball when he failed to
retouch third base on his way back to second.

"He was trying to create on that play and didn't look back to
see where the ball was,'' Milwaukee manager Jerry Royster said.
"We knew he had missed the bag. We just hoped they didn't.''

The Pirates noticed from the dugout, and shortstop Abraham Nunez
threw to third baseman Aramis Ramirez for the out. Lenny Harris
followed with a double and moved to third on a wild pitch, but he
was stranded when Richie Sexson grounded out.

Wright went eight innings, giving up two runs on eight hits.

"I had a good fastball today,'' Wright said. "My curve and
changeup weren't much, but I only needed the one pitch.''

Milwaukee tied it at 1 in the fourth when Loretta doubled and
scored on Sexson's double-play grounder.

Pittsburgh snapped the tie in the seventh. Reese was hit by a
pitch leading off and moved to second on Mackowiak's single. Jason
Kendall's groundout advanced both runners, and Brian Giles was
intentionally walked to load the bases.

Ramirez hit an easy fly to medium center field, but Sanchez's
throw to the plate was late and wide left, allowing Reese to score
for a 2-1 lead.

Mackowiak led off the ninth with his 16th homer off reliever Ray
King to make it 3-1.

Pittsburgh finished a three-game sweep, the 16th time the
Brewers have been swept this year. The Pirates have swept six
series, half against Milwaukee.

Game notes
Brewers OF Jeffrey Hammonds was out of the starting lineup
for the second consecutive day due to a sore right shoulder. He is
day-to-day. He played in only 49 games last year before undergoing
surgery on the shoulder. ... Brewers pitchers have hit 55 batters
with pitches this season, including 19 Pirates. ... RHP Matt
Childers was optioned to Triple-A Indianapolis after the game, and
the Brewers purchased the contract of LHP Andrew Lorraine from
Indianapolis to take his place.