Series: Game 1 of 4

Pittsburgh leads 1-0 (as of 7/2)

Game 1: Friday, July 2
Game 2: Friday, July 2
Game 3: Saturday, July 3
Game 4: Sunday, July 4

Brewers 1

(41-35, 20-18 away)

Pirates 8

(33-43, 15-22 home)

    5:05 PM ET, July 2, 2004

    PNC Park, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 

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    MIL 000100000 1 6 1
    PIT 00510200 - 8 8 0

    W: O. Perez (4-4)

    L: D. Davis (8-6)

    Pittsburgh 8, Milwaukee 1 (1st game)

    PITTSBURGH (AP) -- Pirates manager Lloyd McClendon thinks left-hander Oliver Perez belongs in the All-Star game despite his recent long winless streak. His last two performances show why.

    Tony Alvarez's grand slam supported another strong start by Perez, and Pittsburgh won its sixth in a row with an 8-1 victory over the Milwaukee Brewers in a doubleheader opener Friday.

    Easily the Pirates' most consistent starter despite being winless in his previous seven starts, Perez (4-4) struck out 11 in seven innings to end Milwaukee's five-game winning streak. He outpitched Doug Davis (8-6), who had won four in a row and five of six.

    Jack Wilson added a two-run inside-the-park homer, the first since PNC Park opened in 2001, and doubled to help the Pirates match their longest winning streak since a six-game run April 15-21, 2002. They have won seven of nine since dropping 12 of 14.

    Perez developed a blister on his left index finger during the third inning, but lasted seven innings and allowed five hits.

    "It wasn't a problem," Perez said of the blister, speaking through interpreter Humberto Cota. "I just wanted to throw strikes, get us deep in the game and give us a chance to win."

    Perez followed up a 13-strikeout outing in what became a 1-0 Pirates victory Saturday over Cincinnati with his ninth career double-digit strikeout game and fourth this season. He leads NL starting pitchers with an average of 10.9 strikeouts per nine innings.

    Despite going 0-3 since beating Colorado on May 13, Perez allowed only 17 earned runs while striking over 58 during the seven-game winless streak.

    "He gets it, he really gets it," McClendon said. "He's up there with the big boys now."

    Doug Davis was coming off a 5-1 June record, but got himself in trouble by walking five -- three in a five-run Pirates third in which all the runs were driven in by J.J. Davis and Alvarez, who had a combined two RBI this season.

    Davis walked Jason Kendall, Craig Wilson and Chris Stynes around J.J. Davis' RBI single, only his third hit in 24 at-bats. Alvarez, just up from Triple-A, then ran the count full before hitting a drive into the Brewers' bullpen in center that made it 5-0. It was his first homer since his first career shot, Sept. 29, 2002, at Wrigley Field.

    "When it gets to 3-and-2, you know you can't walk him but you can't give in and throw the ball right down the middle and that's what happened, really ... the ball was just right in his nitro zone and he hit it out," Doug Davis said.

    Manager Ned Yost said, "He just couldn't get the pitch where he wanted it. But it's hard to maintain the pace he (Doug Davis) has been on, just lights out all the time."

    Alvarez was considered one of the Pirates' top prospects two years ago, batting .308 during a September recall. But he was not called up from Triple-A Nashville during a sometimes troublesome 2003 season that included a one-week suspension for an unspecified contract violation.

    Jason Bay added a sacrifice fly in the fourth following Jack Wilson's double, and Wilson circled the bases in the sixth when his drive struck the left-field wall at an odd angle and bounded into center field. Wilson was almost to third before the Brewers ran the ball down.

    It was the second time this week Wilson circled the bases on an odd play at PNC Park, where he turned an apparent double into the game-winning run to beat St. Louis 2-1 Monday. Wilson kept running when he briefly saw second base uncovered and wound up scoring as the Cardinals threw the ball away on what was ruled a triple.

    Game notes

    Perez has 348 strikeouts in 309 career innings. ... Pirates starting pitchers have permitted only 15 earned runs over 59 2-3 innings in the last nine games, a 2.26 ERA. ... Milwaukee is 1-5 against Pittsburgh. ... It was May 3, 1973, at San Francisco when the Pirates last had a grand slam (Al Oliver) and an inside-the-park homer (Milt May) in the same game.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press