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Pirates Barely Hold On For Win

Jose Guillen wasn't thinking about his grand slam. He could only remember the Pittsburgh Pirates' failure six days earlier.

"I took a good swing and it felt great. But the big thing is we won the game. We had to forget what happened in Philly and not look back," Guillen said after the Pirates nearly blew a seven-run lead Sunday before beating Milwaukee 8-7.

The Brewers, trailing 8-1 in the seventh inning, came back behind Jeff Cirillo. He hit a two-run single in the eighth, and another two-run single with two outs in the ninth.

Milwaukee's three-run rally in the ninth ended, though, when Dave Nilsson fouled out to left with the bases loaded. Ricardo Rincon held on for his ninth save in nine chances.

The Pirates blew a 7-1 ninth-inning lead at Philadelphia on Tuesday night, and they came tantalizingly close to outdoing themselves at County Stadium.

"Bottom line is that we won the game," Pirates manager Gene Lamont said.

Esteban Loaiza (5-3) pitched seven solid innings in his longest outing of the season. In his first start since May 22 at Florida, Loaiza gave up two runs and five hits, walked none and struck out seven as the Pirates took three of four from the Brewers.

Guillen was mired in an 8-for-46 slump (.173) before hitting his sixth homer and first career grand slam for a 6-0 lead in the third.

It was the third time in eight days that Jeff Juden started against the Pirates. He threw four scoreless innings against them on Thursday night but didn't return to the mound after a nearly three-hour rain delay.

But Juden (6-6), who had surrendered just one earned run in 13 innings in his previous two starts against Pittsburgh, was nowhere near as effective this time.

He allowed seven earned runs and six hits in two-plus innings, walked three and tied a club record by hitting three batters.

"Let's stop the speculation that I brought him back too soon. Let's say that's what it was," Garner said. "It's obvious he didn't have his control today. He hit guys with his breaking balls. I brought him back on two days' rest and he struggled."

And he didn't waste any time doing it.

Tony Womack led off the game with a single, stole his 26th and 27th bases and scored on Jason Kendall's sacrifice fly. Kevin Young followed with a RBI single.

In the third, Juden hit Kendall and Jermaine Allensworth around a double by Young and Guillen hit a fastball 428 feet to the stands in center field.

Travis Smith, making his major league debut, relieved Juden after the next batter drew a walk, and Pittsburgh made it 7-0 on Womack's groundball.

Smith threw two impressive innings but he strained his pitching elbow on a slider to his last batter. He'll be evaluated on Monday. The Brewers already have thee pitchers on the disabled list and Scott Karl has a groin injury. The last thing they needed was for Smith to get hurt.

"Isn't that something?" Garner said. "We'll check him out tomorrow."

Loaiza held the Brewers hitless into the fifth before Nilsson's bloop single, followed by Bobby Hughes' RBI single.

Al Martin's RBI single off Paul Wagner in the sixth made it 8-1.

Jose Valentin made it 8-2 with his 11th homer, off the right-field pole in the seventh and Cirillo added a two-run single off Jason Christiansen in the eighth, making it 8-4.

Fernando Vina hit an RBI single with two outs in the ninth off Rincon before Cirillo singled again.

Notes: Kendall was plunked by a pitch in the third for the 19th time this season. He leads the majors. ... The three hit batsmen by Juden equaled the Brewers' team record, set by Pete Broberg at Oakland on Aug. 17, 1975, and tied by Bill Wegman against Kansas City on April 28, 1992, and Steve Woodard on April 27 this year, also against the Pirates. ... Bud Selig, who has refused to confirm reports he's about to become baseball's commissioner, showed up in the press box for the first time this homestand but again declined comment: "Sorry, I'm off today," he said. ... Brewers pitcher Cal Eldred pinch-ran for John Jaha in the ninth.

©1998 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed

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