Series: Game 3 of 3

Milwaukee won 2-1

Game 1: Monday, April 7
Game 1: Tuesday, April 8
Game 2: Wednesday, April 9
Game 3: Thursday, April 10

Brewers 1

(2-7, 2-4 away)

Pirates 3

(6-3, 1-2 home)

    12:35 PM ET, April 10, 2003

    PNC Park, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 

    123456789 R H E
    MIL 100000000 1 7 0
    PIT 30000000 - 3 7 1

    W: J. Suppan (2-0)

    L: B. Sheets (0-2)

    S: M. Williams (4)

    Pittsburgh wins at home for first time this year

    PITTSBURGH (AP) -- The Pittsburgh Pirates were terrible in interleague play last season. Maybe it convinced them to add some American League talent.

    Randall Simon hit a three-run homer in the first inning to support Jeff Suppan's second consecutive strong start, leading the Pirates past the Milwaukee Brewers 3-1 Thursday.

    The Pirates avoided a three-game sweep and won for the first time at home after starting the season 5-1 on the road. The Brewers lost their seventh in nine games, even though starter Ben Sheets didn't allow any scoring after the first.

    In his two starts since signing with Pittsburgh, Suppan (2-0) has allowed only two runs and 10 hits in 13 1-3 innings. He averaged more than 200 innings each of the last four seasons with Kansas City, but was only 39-51 with an ERA above 4.50 in three of the four seasons.

    Maybe Suppan was as eager to change leagues as the Pirates were to add a starter who has proven he can pitch a lot of innings.

    "I'm still trying to learn the National League," said Suppan, whose only previous NL experience came in 13 games with Arizona in 1998. "I'm trying to learn as fast as I can."

    What NL pitchers are quickly learning is that no pitch is out of Simon's strike zone.

    The former Tigers first baseman hit a Sheets pitch off his shoetops into the right-field seats for his second homer. His next time up, he hit a high-and-away pitch off the right field wall, just missing a second homer.

    "I don't know how I did it," Simon said. "I'm strong enough that I know if I hit it, it can go out. We've got a short porch in right field, and that helps."

    Kenny Lofton led off the first with a single up the middle and Brian Giles reached a batter later on a force-play grounder.

    Sheets (0-2) then found out what AL pitchers came to learn: the best way to pitch Simon might be to throw the ball right down the middle.

    "He just golfed that out of the park," Brewers manager Ned Yost said. "Randall will swing at anything. He and Vladimir Guerrero are the two best bad ball hitters in the league. Randall is awfully tough because he doesn't walk and doesn't strike out."

    What the Pirates want Suppan to do is throw more strikes. They felt he frequently worked around hitters in the AL, too often running the count full while failing to pitch aggressively.

    "I'm working on it," Suppan said. "It's nice to start with a couple of wins over here. You're trying to show the manager and your defense how you can pitch. I tried to keep the ball down and get the outs I needed, and it worked."

    Suppan gave up Geoff Jenkins' run-scoring single in the first before settling down, giving up seven hits, walking one and striking out seven in 7 1/3 innings.

    Suppan was in trouble in the sixth as Eric Young and Richie Sexson singled and John Vander Wal walked to load the bases, but the right-hander struck out Keith Ginter on a 2-2 pitch.

    Relievers Scott Sauerbeck and Brian Boehringer each got an out in the eighth after the Brewers put runners on first and second with one out. Mike Williams pitched the ninth for his fourth save in as many chances.

    Sheets remained winless after three starts, despite pitching much better than he did while allowing eight runs and 12 hits in 12 innings in his first two starts. He also had a slow start a year ago, going 1-3 with a 4.62 ERA in his first five starts. He finished 11-16.

    "He had shutout stuff," Yost said. "But so did Suppan."

    Milwaukee, which entered the series 0-6, was denied its first three-game sweep in Pittsburgh since July 2-4, 1999. The Brewers are 6-16 in Pittsburgh since PNC Park opened in 2001.

    Game notes
    The Pirates were 3-9 against the AL last season and were swept by Oakland and Texas in three-game series in PNC Park. ... The game time temperature was 50. The crowd of 10,384 was the smallest since PNC Park opened in 2001. ... Brewers RF Jeffrey Hammonds sat out the series with a hyperextended left elbow and may miss the weekend series in Arizona. ... Alex Sanchez was 0-for-7 in the series before leading off the game with a single. He was coming off a 7-for-14 series against the Giants. ... Lofton has at least one hit in each of his eight starts. .. Suppan is 4-1 against the Brewers, but faced them for only the second time since 1997. ... Reggie Sanders, in a 1-for-14 slump for Pittsburgh, didn't start against the right-handed Sheets.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press