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Wells avoids 19th loss in defeat of Brewers

PITTSBURGH (AP) -- Pirates pitcher Kip Wells has not had many
nights to remember this season. Leading the major leagues in losses
will have that effect.

But the Pirates starter turned in his best performance in nearly
two months in a 5-1 win over Milwaukee on Saturday night at PNC
Park.

"Obviously at this point in the season it was a goal of mine to
go out there and try to have a quality outing and finish on a good
note," Wells said.

"It's just a little bit of peace of mind at least heading into
the offseason that I finished on a good outing, because the season
as a whole has been disappointing."

Wells (8-18) pitched 6 2-3 innings and allowed only an unearned
run in the first. He surrendered six hits and picked up his first
win since an 11-2 victory at Philadelphia on Aug. 19. It was his
first home victory since beating the Phillies 3-0 on July 5.

Wells avoided becoming the first Pirates starter in 20 years to
lose 19 games. The last Pittsburgh player to lose that many games
was Jose DeLeon, who went 2-19 for a Pirates team that finished
57-104.

"It's hard to watch when he's not on," Pirates interim manager
Pete Mackanin said.

"When he's on it's really nice to watch because you can see the
potential there and see what he's capable of doing and, I don't
know if he was at his best, but it was close."

Wells dropped his season ERA from 5.29 to 5.09. He struck out
four and walked only two before giving way to reliever John Grabow
with two outs in the seventh.

"He got a lot of groundball double plays and he stayed away
from the guys that could possibly hurt him," Milwaukee manager Ned
Yost said. "He's seemed like he tries to get you to chase a little
bit and tonight, he was locating real well."

Milwaukee's Tomo Ohka (11-9) allowed five runs and eight hits in
7 1-3 innings.

"One thing that Tomo was able to do was give the bullpen the
night off," Yost said. "That helps."

Craig Wilson went 2-for-3 with a double and an RBI while Freddie
Sanchez went 2-for-4 with two doubles and an RBI to extend his
team-best hitting streak to 16 games.

Nate McLouth and J.J. Furmaniak also went 2-for-4 to generate
offense for Wells, who came into the game with the lowest run
support (3.08 per game) of any major league starter.

Wells' performance means that Milwaukee (81-80) must win Sunday
against Pirates rookie Zach Duke (7-2) to finish over .500 for the
first time since 1992.

Milwaukee went ahead in the first when Rickie Weeks doubled and
scored as Lyle Overbay's single to left rolled under Bay's glove
for an error. Wilson hit an RBI double in the bottom half, and
Bay's sacrifice fly in the fifth gave Pittsburgh the lead.

Sanchez added a run-scoring double in the seventh, and
Pittsburgh scored twice in the eighth on McLouth's RBI double,
which chased Ohka, and Furmaniak's run-scoring triple against Jose
Capellan.

Milwaukee put runners at the corners with two outs in the
seventh, but Grabow relieved and picked Weeks off first base. Mike
Gonzalez and Salomon Torres finished the six-hitter.

"I just tried to take on the same approach as my previous
outings," Wells said. "I was just trying to visualize the pitch
that I wanted to throw and execute it."

Game notes
Bay's 101 RBI are the most for the Pirates since Brian
Giles had 103 in 2002. ... Wells is the second Pirates pitcher in
three years to lead the NL in losses following Jeff D'Amico (9-16)
in 2003.