Series: Game 3 of 3

Pittsburgh won 2-1

Game 1: Monday, September 11
Game 2: Tuesday, September 12
Game 2: Wednesday, September 13
Game 3: Wednesday, September 13

Brewers 2

(66-80, 24-48 away)

Pirates 1

(60-87, 38-34 home)

    4:35 PM ET, September 13, 2006

    PNC Park, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 

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    PIT 000000010 1 2 0

    W: B. Sheets (5-6)

    L: S. Chacon (6-6)

    S: F. Cordero (18)

    Sheets' gem helps Brewers split twinbill with Pirates

    PITTSBURGH -- Ben Sheets kept getting better and better, and pretty soon he was approaching perfection.

    Elias Says
    Ben Sheets
    Freddy Garcia was perfect through seven and two-thirds innings and Ben Sheets through six in their respective wins on Wednesday afternoon. It was only the second time in the last 15 years that two pitchers carried perfectos to the seventh inning on the same day. Shawn Estes and Odalis Perez did it in 2002.

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    Sheets retired the first 18 batters before Chris Duffy led off the seventh inning with a single, and the Milwaukee Brewers beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 2-1 Wednesday to split a doubleheader.

    "Things were going good. I ain't going to lie. It definitely crossed my mind," Sheets said.

    "If it's your day, it's going to be your day, no matter what you do. I had a good day," he said.

    In the opener, Freddy Sanchez got three hits and Ian Snell struck out 10 as Pittsburgh won 6-3.

    Sheets (5-6) gave up two hits and struck out 10 in eight innings. He did not walk a batter. One pitch after Duffy singled, Sheets picked him off first base.

    "We got into the seventh inning and I started thinking, 'He's got a real shot at a no-hitter here with his stuff,"' Brewers manager Ned Yost said. "The first inning, the first couple of hitters he was just OK. And then all of a sudden, it just clicked for him and he started getting stronger and stronger and stronger. He just had really good stuff today: Good breaking ball, real good fastball, really good changeup, spotting well."

    There has not been a perfect game in the majors since Randy Johnson pitched one for Arizona at Atlanta on May 18, 2004.

    While Sheets was trying to do it at PNC Park, Freddy Garcia of the Chicago White Sox was taking a perfect-game try into the seventh inning at Anaheim against the Angels. Moments after Duffy's hit, Adam Kennedy singled with two outs in the eighth for the Angels.

    Geoff Jenkins and Prince Fielder homered as the Brewers won for only the second time in their last seven games and fourth time in their last 19.

    "[Sheets] was outstanding today," Fielder said. "He pitched great. Both the hits he gave up weren't really bad pitches, there was just better hitting that time."

    Francisco Cordero pitched the ninth for his 12th save in as many chances since being acquired by the Brewers July 28.

    Dating to his last start against Pittsburgh July 25, Sheets retired 32 Pirates in a row. He sent down the final 14 batters he faced in a 6-1 Pirates' win in Sheets' first game after missing almost two months because of tendinitis in his right shoulder.

    "Seeing him perform like that and pitch like he did today, that was fun to be part of," said catcher Mike Rivera, credited by Sheets with calling a good game.

    "It's a sign that the old Ben is here again and that's what we need. Today he was great with all of his pitches. His fastball was up to 96 [mph] and he was kind of down with his fastball and he showed that he is getting better and stronger every day," he said.

    Sheets' gem was in front of an announced crowd of 11,627 -- but far fewer than that witnessed it. The matchup two of the National League's four worst teams on a chilly and drizzly afternoon had what appeared to be less than 1,000 fans on hand by the time his perfect-game bid reached the sixth inning.

    Milwaukee has never had a perfect game in its 38-season history. The Brewers' only no-hitter was by Juan Nieves April 15, 1987.

    "You certainly want to try to win both ends of it, but there is nothing to be ashamed of with the effort we gave today all day long," Pirates manager Jim Tracy said. "Every once in a while, you take your cap off and tip it. I don't know if I've seen Ben Sheets any better than we saw today for eight innings.

    Ryan Doumit homered in the Pirates' eighth.

    Shawn Chacon (1-3) gave up five hits in seven innings.

    "I got beat with two solo home runs," Chacon said. "Most days out, you pitch seven innings and give up two solo homers, you're not going to lose, so I'm happy with the way I pitched. It's tough that we lost, but Sheets was dominant today. Real dominant."

    Sanchez recorded his 47th double in the opener, which tied the team record for right-handed batters set by Adam Comorosky in 1930.

    Sanchez went 0-for-3 in the second game, dropping his average back to .340. He began the day at .339, leading the NL in hitting by a fraction of a point over Florida's Miguel Cabrera.

    Ronny Paulino drove in three runs, Jason Bay reached base four times and Duffy scored twice for the Pirates. Fielder had three hits and drove in two runs for Milwaukee.

    Snell (13-10) tied his career high for strikeouts, and allowed six hits in seven innings. It was the third time he fanned 10 this season.

    Salomon Torres worked the ninth for his seventh save -- all coming in the Pirates' last seven victories.

    After Fielder hit an RBI double in the first, the Pirates took the lead for good in third with three runs off Chris Capuano (11-11). Sanchez had a sacrifice fly, Paulino doubled home a run and Jose Castillo had a sacrifice fly.

    Capuano has lost three consecutive starts and has won only once since July 6, going 1-7 in that time.

    "You don't want to leave out of here losing a doubleheader," Yost said. "It's huge to battle back and win that last game."

    Game notes
    The Pirates won the season series with the Brewers, 9-7. ... Sheets is 6-7 with a 2.75 ERA against Pittsburgh in 18 career starts. ... Sheets struck out at least 10 for the 13th time in his career.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press