Maholm goes seven strong as Bucs beat Phils at home

PITTSBURGH (AP) -- The Pittsburgh Pirates went to both of their
closers to preserve a solid effort by one of their starters.

Veteran Roberto Hernandez got pinch-hitter Alex Gonzalez to
ground into a double play with the bases loaded to save
Pittsburgh's 3-2 over the Philadelphia Phillies on Saturday night.

Paul Maholm earned his first win of the season -- a night after
fellow struggling rookie starter Ian Snell did the same -- but had
to sweat out the bullpen almost letting it get away. The Pirates
first called on Mike Gonzalez in the ninth, but the young closer
walked two of the three batters he faced before Hernandez entered
the game.

"For us to lose that game right there with the way our starters
have picthed the last two nights would have been demoralizing,"
said Hernandez, who earned his second save in as two chances.

Jeromy Burnitz had two hits, including his fifth home run, as
the Pirates clinched a series win for the first time this season.

The Phillies, who have lost three in a row, wasted a solid
outing by Cory Lidle (2-3), who retired the Pirates in order in
four of his six innings and permitted only four baserunners -- but
was charged with three runs and four hits.

"Today was the best that I felt all year," Lidle said. "I was
hitting my spots. I was doing exactly what I wanted with the ball.

"It might be a different outcome if I execute that one pitch
(to Burnitz)."

Maholm (1-3) tossed seven strong innings, allowing one run and
six hits with two walks for his longest outing of the season. The
rookie lowered his ERA from 7.40 to 5.86.

"I just threw my gameplan," said Maholm, who went 3-1 with a
2.18 ERA in six starts late last season. "If I can get ahead with
fastballs and drop some offspeed pitches in there and get them to
hit ground balls, that's what I always have done when I've been
successul. And finally I got back into it."

Chris Duffy drove in Ronny Paulino with a two-out single in the
third to give the Pirates a 1-0 lead but Pat Burrell had a two-out
RBI single in the fourth to tie it.

Pittsburgh went in front for good in the fourth. Jason Bay
doubled with one out and Burnitz hit his fifth homer to make it

Burnitz entered the game with only two hits in his last 25

"I've been battling up there lately, swinging around the ball
and generally not doing a very good job," Burnitz said. "So when
you come out and hit two balls in the sweet spot, it's definitely

Aaron Rowand hit a solo homer off Pirates reliever Salomon
Torres to cut the lead to 3-2 in the eighth.

Hernandez, signed in the offseason to mentor Gonzalez, walked
pinch-hitter David Dellucci to load the bases in the ninth. He got
Gonzalez to hit a 3-1 pitch to third, where Joe Randa stepped on
the base and threw to first for a game-ending double play.

"The moxie of Roberto Hernandez to make the pitch and induce
the ground ball with the bases loaded and the go-ahead run standing
at second base is another big reason you go out and get a guy like
that in the winter time," Tracy said.

"That was a good pitch, right down the middle," Gonzalez said.
"I'm pinch-hitting. I'm trying to get a good pitch right there. I
got it. I just didn't do anything with it."

The Pirates entered the three-game set on a seven-game losing
streak but beat the Phillies 3-1 Friday night.

Pittsburgh still has the worst record in the National League,
but the team has not allowed more than four runs in eight of their
last 11 games.

"We got another terrific start from one of our young
starters," Tracy said. "He pitched seven great innings tonight.
We didn't have a lot of offense but because of the pitching
performance we got, we had enough."

Game notes
The Phillies collected their first triple of the season
when Lidle hit a shot into left-center field with two outs in the
third. It was the longest the club had gone without a triple since
1953, when it took 28 games. ... The Pirates need two homers on
Sunday to tie the club record for most homers in April. The team
hit 33 in 1996.