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Pirates Finally Fry Brewers

Chris Peters glanced at the scoreboard in the fourth inning and saw something no other Pittsburgh pitcher has seen against the Milwaukee Brewers: Runs.

Mark Smith, Aramis Ramirez and Kevin Young homered in the first three innings and the Pirates finally mounted some offense against the Brewers in a 7-2 victory Sunday.

The Pirates had scored only six runs and were 0-4 against the Brewers this season until hitting the three homers off Steve Woodard (3-5), who lost his fourth in a row.

"After the third one, I was like, `Oh man, I can't believe this,"' said Woodard, who had allowed only two homers in 13 appearances.

That's exactly how the Pirates hitters must have felt against the Brewers. Until Sunday, they had scored 13 runs an average of 1.9 per game while going 1-6 against Milwaukee since they first met in interleague play last season.

"I can't tell you how much the run support helps," said Peters, who retired the side in order in five of the six innings he pitched. "You don't feel like one pitch can cost you the game. You can go out and pitch your game."

Peters (2-4) made only 66 pitches in his longest start of the season, getting into trouble only when Mark Loretta singled ahead of John Jaha's two-run homer in the fourth inning.

Young, the first baseman, kept the two-run inning from being bigger by turning Jeff Cirillo's hard-hit shot down the line into a double play.

The left-handed Peters settled down to retire the next six batters before leaving, and Elmer Dessens followed with two scoreless innings. Ricardo Rincon pitched the ninth.

"He (Peters) was still fresh, but they're so right-handed at the top of the order I wanted to get Dessens in there," manager Gene Lamont said.

The Brewers had won four in a row and were 4-1 on a 10-game road trip. Pittsburgh had lost two in a row after winning nine of 11, and had dropped three straight at home.

"It's always good to break out as a team," Lamont said. "A lot of times you go into slumps as a team one guy stops hitting and they all do so it's good to come out as a team."

Smith, batting third for only the second time this season, got the Pirates going with a two-out solo shot in the first, his first homer of the season. He is 10-for-24 since a season-opening 0-for-31 streak.

"I forget what hitting home runs was like, it had been so long," said Smith, who had nine homers in 193 at-bats last season.

Ramirez, also streaking since a career-opening 0-for-24 run, hit his second homer in three days in the second inning. It also was his eighth hit in 18 at-bats.

"When I came up (May 26), I was probably trying to pull the ball too much," said Ramirez, who at 19 is the majors' youngest everyday regular. "ou can't do that. You've got to hit the ball where it's pitched. If you don't do that, you've got no chance."

Tony Womack had a run-scoring groundout later in the inning, and Young started the third with his 14th homer.

Pittsburgh added three runs in the seventh against former Pirates pitcher Paul Wagner on Jermaine Allensworth's two-run double and Keith Osik's suicide squeeze bunt.

"It was not a good day for us," Brewers manager Phil Garner said. "Even with that we were still in the ballgame until Wags came in. He had a tough day. He put some pitches in the middle of the plate."

Notes: Peters' longest previous start this season was five innings. His longest in the majors was seven innings against Los Angeles last season. ... Al Martin was 0-for-20 before getting two singles. ... Jaha's homer was the Brewers' ninth in four games. He had been 1-for-12 since coming off the disabled list. ... The Pirates hadn't beaten a Milwaukee team in Pittsburgh since a 5-4 victory on Aug. 22, 1965, the Braves' last appearance in Forbes Field before relocating to Atlanta. ... Five of the seven Pirates who batted against Wagner reached base. ... The Pirates outhit the Brewers 13-5.

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

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