<
>

Sick Bay no problem: Healthy Bucs win fourth straight

PITTSBURGH (AP) -- For the first time in almost two years, Jason Bay was not in the starting lineup for the Pittsburgh Pirates on
Monday night.

It didn't seem to matter for the suddenly streaking Pirates.

Jeromy Burnitz and Jose Castillo had solo home runs as the
Pirates won their fourth straight game, 4-2 over the Milwaukee
Brewers.

Victor Santos (5-7) was effective enough in making his first
start since June 15 in place of Shawn Chacon for Pittsburgh, which
was without Bay in the lineup for the first time since September 4,
2004.

"Of course you want to have him in your lineup," manager Jim
Tracy said of the All-Star outfielder. "But with some of the
players we have now, you can feel good about the lineup we put out
there even when a guy like Jason is not playing. That shows where
we are as a ballclub now."

Bay's streak of 307 consecutive games played ended after he
strained his right hamstring while stretching before Sunday's game
against St. Louis, when the Pirates completed a sweep of the
first-place Cardinals.

It was the fourth-longest active streak in the majors.

"To get a win without one of your best players is definitely a
plus," Burnitz said.

Tony Graffanino and Corey Hart each had two hits for the
Brewers, who have lost seven of their last eight to the Pirates.

"A loss is a loss," Milwaukee starter Dave Bush said. "The
sign of a good team is they find a way to win games like this."

Santos, who went on the disabled list with a strained rotator
cuff in June and lost his spot in the rotation upon his return in
July, was filling in for Chacon, who had a sore knee. Santos gave
up two runs and four hits in five innings.

"I just wanted to go out there and keep the ball down and stay
aggressive," said Santos, who had not won since June 9. "I kept
us in the game and we got a 'W' out of it. You can't ask for
anything else."

Pittsburgh gave Santos a lead in the first inning when Freddy Sanchez's groundout scored Chris Duffy. Duffy was 2-for-4 with two
runs scored.

"We started the game much in the manner that we did over the
weekend, scoring the first run," Tracy said.

But the Brewers came back to score twice in the second. Damian Miller hit a sacrifice fly and Bush had a single that scored Hart,
who had broken an 0-for-18 slump with a single.

"We had some opportunities to knock [Santos] out of the
ball game," Milwaukee shortstop Bill Hall said. "It's always
frustrating when you get a good pitch and don't put it in play and
score runs."

Said Santos: "I worked myself into a jam, and I worked myself
out of it."

Burnitz hit his 16th homer leading off the bottom half, tying it
at 2. The ball hit off the right-field foul pole.

"It was really hooking," Burnitz said. "I was glad it hit the
pole for us."

Pittsburgh took a 3-2 lead against Bush (8-9) in the third.
Duffy reached on an error by first baseman Prince Fielder and later
scored on Xavier Nady's groundout.

Castillo hit his 14th home run with two outs in the fourth.

"They only hit two balls hard off of [Bush]," Brewers manger
Ned Yost said. "They just kind of found ways to score every inning
the first few innings."

And once Pittsburgh got the lead, it didn't relinquish it. Four
relievers threw an inning apiece -- including Mike Gonzalez, who
pitched the ninth for his 21st save in 21 opportunities. Salomon Torres, John Grabow, Matt Capps and Gonzalez permitted only four
baserunners from the sixth through ninth.

"Their bullpen is real strong; they've got guys pitching out
there," Yost said. "We hit the ball hard a couple times for outs
but we just couldn't get the bats going tonight. We've got to find
ways to get some of those runners in."

Game notes
Pirates SS Jack Wilson left the game before the seventh
inning with a bruised right hand. He was hit by a pitch in the
third, and said after the game he expected to play Tuesday. ...
Pirates starters have allowed only seven earned runs in the past
five games, covering 33 2-3 innings. ... Each of the last 14 home
runs by the Pirates have been solo shots. ... Pittsburgh's Rajai
Davis made his major league debut when he flied out as a
pinch-hitter in the seventh. ... Bush's single snapped an 0-for-43
streak by Milwaukee pitchers.