PITTSBURGH (AP) -- Many pitchers wish they could redo a start against the New York Yankees. Paul Maholm did, and couldn't have been much happier with the result.
Nate McLouth got a second chance after messing up a bunt attempt, and it turned out much better, too.McLouth hit a go-ahead two-run homer in the seventh and Maholm allowed two runs over eight innings as the Pittsburgh Pirates rallied to beat the Yankees 4-2 on Thursday night.The last game of interleague play this season was the makeup of a June 26 rainout, only with a much different result for Maholm (6-5). Then, he gave up extra-base hits to the first four batters as the Yankees went 5-of-12 while taking a 3-0 lead against the left-hander, only to have the statistics wiped out by a heavy rain.Given a chance to replay that start -- his turn in the rotation coincidentally fell on the makeup date -- Maholm got 17 of his 24 outs by ground balls or strikeouts. He gave up seven hits and walked one while lasting eight innings for a second successive start."When that game was rained out, everything got wiped away and I could concentrate on the Reds and Brewers after that and I was able to throw good against them," said Maholm, 4-0 in his last eight starts. "To come back in against these guys, and their stacked lineup, I had the confidence to mix pitches and just go after them and not worry about who's in the box."Maholm had a five-hit shutout going with two outs and none on in the seventh before the Yankees tied it on Bobby Abreu's two-run single. After McLouth hit his 18th homer to put Pittsburgh back into the lead, Maholm came back with a scoreless eighth."That homer was a big relief for me," Maholm said.Damaso Marte finished for his fourth save in six opportunities, helping end New York's five-game winning streak."When we made good contact, it was right at somebody," Abreu said. "We had no luck. But he pitched a pretty good game."The Pirates won two of three from the Yankees in interleague play, their first two victories against them since the 1960 World Series and a turnaround from past interleague results. The Yankees, 10-8 against the NL this season, are a major league-best 123-87 since interleague play began in 1997 and the Pirates, 6-9 this year against the AL, own the worst record at 63-103.Despite the Yankees' loss, the AL topped the NL in interleague play for a fifth consecutive season, going 149-103.Jack Wilson, who doubled and singled against Mike Mussina in his first two-bats as Pittsburgh's No. 9 hitter, walked ahead of McLouth's drive into the right-field seats on a 0-1 pitch by reliever Jose Veras (2-1)."I tried to throw it outside, but the pitch moved inside to his hands and he's got quick hands," said Veras, who had a 0.52 ERA in his 16 most recent appearances. "He just got it, that's all."McLouth unsuccessfully tried to bunt on Veras' first pitch, only to homer on the second."I messed up the bunt the pitch before and, luckily, got a pitch to hit the next pitch and didn't miss it," said McLouth, who is hitting .333 since being named as the Pirates' lone All-Star. "The inning before, they mounted a rally and tied the game up and looked to have momentum on their side, so to take it back was big."McLouth also set up the Pirates' run in the fifth by reaching on a force play, stealing second and moving to third on catcher Jose Molina's throwing error.Freddy Sanchez, the 2006 NL batting champion who came into the game hitting .226, drove in the Pirates' first two runs with an RBI single following Wilson's double in the third and a sacrifice fly two innings later.Mussina didn't figure in the decision, failing to get 12 victories before the All-Star break for the first time since he was 12-3 in 2002. He gave up nine hits and two runs in six innings, lasting at least six for the eighth consecutive start."I didn't feel particularly sharp, but I can't complain a lot," Mussina "You've got to battle through those days, too ... and I'm happy with my first half."
The Yankees are playing in three cities in three days, and in two countries. They played Wednesday at home and will be in Toronto on Friday night. ... Mussina's two-out single in the fifth was his first hit since June 23, 2002, and the only hit by a Yankees pitcher this season. ... Abreu had eight RBIs against Pittsburgh. ... The crowd of 39,081 was the third-largest since PNC Park opened in 2001. Three of the Pirates' four home sellouts this season were against the Yankees. ... The Pirates had lost four of six. ... Maholm struck out three times as the Pirates' No. 8 hitter, leaving three on base. ... New York stayed 6 1/2 games back in the AL East as Tampa Bay lost its fourth in a row, 13-2 to Cleveland.