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Burnett makes two runs hold up

PITTSBURGH (AP) -- Pittsburgh rookie Sean Burnett made numerous
mistakes, Montreal All-Star Livan Hernandez made only one. In this
season of misfortune for the Expos, one mistake sometimes is more
than enough.

Burnett limited the Expos to one run in seven innings to beat
them for the second straight time and Rob Mackowiak hit a two-run
homer in the first inning, leading the Pirates to a 2-1 victory
Tuesday night.

The Pirates won their 11th in 12 home games, but still dropped
the season series to the Expos for a third consecutive season --
losing four of six games.

Burnett (4-2), a 2000 first-round draft pick, pitched much like
he did in during a 10-hit shutout as Pittsburgh beat Montreal 11-0
on July 9 in San Juan. There were plenty of baserunners -- nine in
the first four innings -- but the left-hander repeatedly pitched
himself out of trouble.

"No offense, huh?" Frank Robinson said, a much-heard refrain
from the manager of the majors' lowest-scoring team. "Other than
that home run, he (Hernandez) was in complete control."

Only it was Burnett who won, his fourth in a row since dropping
his first two decisions. Burnett induced the Expos to hit into
three double plays in the first four innings and got a lift when
catcher Jason Kendall threw out Endy Chavez as he tried to steal
second with two outs in the third.

Brian Schneider hit an RBI single in the fourth, but Burnett
prevented a bigger inning by getting Jamey Carroll to bounce into
an inning-ending force play with two on and two outs.

Before that, Burnett squirmed out of two-on, one-out jams in
each of the first two innings with double-play grounders.

"He made some mistakes, a lot of mistakes, but he loves to
compete. He has a knack for getting big outs, but he also has a
knack for getting himself in trouble," manager Lloyd McClendon
said. "I'd much rather he get easy outs."

Burnett was lifted after throwing 100 pitches in seven innings
in a game that lasted just 2 hours, 14 minutes. The left-hander
struck out one and walked three in lowering his ERA to 2.18.

"I can't complain about anything," Burnett said. "I'm trying
to prove I belong here and can compete at this level, but I'm doing
everything I expected to do."

Brian Meadows and Mike Gonzalez combined for a scoreless eighth,
and Jose Mesa gave up a hit and a walk in the ninth before earning
his fourth save in five games and 26th in 27 opportunities.

Hernandez (6-10) was far more dominating than Burnett after
allowing Jason Kendall's leadoff single and Mackowiak's two-run
drive in the first. Expos pitchers have given up four homers in the
first inning in the last four games.

"I threw a changeup, he hit for a home run and that was the
ballgame," Hernandez said. "It was only one pitch, but that was
two runs right there."

Hernandez gave up only two harmless singles by Tike Redman
following Mackowiak's homer, striking out eight over eight innings,
but still lost his third straight. He faced the minimum 21 batters
over the final seven innings, retiring the final 11.

"We were fortunate to get two (runs), the way he was
throwing," Mackowiak said. "He was pumping strikes and keeping
the ball down ... and kept us off balance all day long."

Hernandez bounced back from consecutive poor starts against the
Braves in which he gave up 13 earned runs and 15 hits in 6 1-3
innings.

Game notes
The Pirates are 13-4 at home since starting 9-19 there. ...
The crowd of 18,075 cheered loudly when told Pittsburgh had been
officially awarded the 2006 All-Star game by commissioner Bud
Selig. ... Hernandez is 0-4 against Atlanta and 6-6 against the
rest of the NL. ... Chavez singled his first three times up against
Burnett but missed tying a career high for hits by grounding out in
the eighth against Meadows. ... Pittsburgh is 17-7 since losing 12
of 14. ... The Pirates have a 22-4 edge in homers during their last
17 home games. Their only scoring in the last two games has been a
two-run homer in the first inning; Craig Wilson also hit one during
Monday's 6-2 loss to Montreal. ... Mackowiak's homer was only his
third since May 29. ... Pittsburgh was held to six runs against
Montreal in the five games other than the 11-0 victory. ...
Schneider, who grew up in eastern Pennsylvania, is hitting .474
(18-for-38) against the Pirates and Phillies.