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Pittsburgh wins 9 of last 11

PITTSBURGH (AP) -- Just when Kris Benson could be on his way out
of Pittsburgh after six mostly disappointing seasons, the Pirates
finally look like a team that's figured out how to win.

Randall Simon's opposite-field groundball double drove in two
runs to break a sixth-inning tie and the Pirates won their eighth
in a row, beating the Milwaukee Brewers 5-3 Saturday night.

Jason Bay, coming off an eight-RBI performance in the second
game of Friday's doubleheader, added an RBI single to help the
Pirates win their ninth in 11 games since they dropped 19 of 22.
The winning streak is their longest since an eight-game run Sept.
1-8, 2000, during Gene Lamont's final month as manager.

Bay has 10 RBI in the first three games of the four-game series
that wraps up Sunday.

"We're just trying to keep it up and keep the momentum going as
long as we can," Simon said. "We know we can beat anybody. We're
putting offense, defense and pitching together and everything is
just fine."

Benson (6-7) pitched seven innings to win for only the second
time in seven starts. Benson's contract is up after this season
and, with the Pirates not looking to re-sign him, likely will be
traded this month.

"I know people are up there and certain teams are watching me,
and maybe I think about that two hours before a game," Benson
said. "But when it's two minutes before the game, I'm thinking
only about getting the Brewers' hitters out and making my
pitches."

Benson was constantly in trouble while allowing eight hits,
including multiple hits in three innings, but the Brewers were
2-for-10 with runners in scoring position against him while losing
their third straight.

"He had a good fastball but didn't have his other stuff, but he
still competed," manager Lloyd McClendon said. "I was proud of
that and I told him so."

Benson's reaction?

"He gave me a high five," said McClendon, whose team has had
an eight-game winning streak and a nine-game losing streak in less
than a month.

Lyle Overbay drove in two runs, giving him a team-high 61 RBI,
but Milwaukee lost its third in a row since winning five straight.
The Brewers have dropped 2{ games in the NL Central standings in
two days since closing to within 3{ games of St. Louis on Thursday.

Manager Ned Yost held a brief meeting after the game, mostly to
tell his team to keep playing the way it is.

"You kind of make your own luck and, right now, we're not
making it," he said. "It seems like everything they hit right now
finds a hole, but that thing turns around."

Jose Mesa finished up in the ninth inning for his 19th save in
20 chances after John Grabow yielded Ben Grieve's run-scoring
single in the eighth.

Milwaukee took a 2-1 lead into the Pirates' sixth but Wes
Obermueller (3-4) couldn't retire any of the four batters he faced
in the inning. Jack Wilson doubled and scored on Rob Mackowiak's
single before Obermueller hit Craig Wilson with a pitch and Bay
walked, loading the bases.

Simon, who hit only .164 in June, bounced a single over the
infield against reliever Dave Burba to make it 4-2. Burba, pitching
again despite going three innings in Friday's second game, then
stranded runners on second and third by getting the next three
hitters.

"Simon swings at a pitch in his eyes and hits it down the third
base line," Yost said. "Simon's about as good a bad-ball hitter
as there is, but it was a pitch you wouldn't think anybody could
hit, but he did."

Simon said, "You could see they were playing me over. I've just
got to put the ball in play."

Craig Wilson homered in the fourth, his 16th of the season and
his first since June 15. The Pirates added a run in the seventh
against Jon Adams on Bay's infield single, their third hit of the
inning.

Obermueller gave up four runs and six hits in five-plus innings
and is 0-3 in his last five starts, lasting an average of five
innings.

Game notes
Benson has a 41-48 career record. ... The Brewers are 10-24
in Pittsburgh since PNC Park opened in 2001. ... Overbay and Craig
Counsell each had three of Milwaukee's 13 hits. ... Pittsburgh has
outscored Milwaukee 26-6 in the series. ... Bay and Red Sox INF
Nomar Garciaparra are the only active players with two games of at
least eight RBI apiece. Bay also drove in eight runs Sept. 19
against the Cubs.