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Steamy Pirates Top Twins

No matter the league, no matter the uniform, Minnesota's Mike Morgan can't seem to win in Pittsburgh - especially when the Pirates are as hot as they are now.

Jermaine Allensworth hit a tiebreaking two-run single and Morgan continued to struggle against Pittsburgh even in interleague play as the Pirates beat the Twins 6-1 Friday night behind rookie Jose Silva.

Silva (6-3) pitched a five-hitter in his first complete game as the Pirates ran their winning streak to six their longest since they won seven in a row last season. The Pirates also reached the .500 mark (30-30) for the first time since they were 7-7.

"When you get six below (.500) like we were, you need to get on a good streak to get back and we have," manager Gene Lamont said.

The Pirates haven't lost since their three-run rally in the ninth inning beat Montreal 8-7 Saturday.

"It's nice to finally be here (.500) again," Allensworth said. "It's been a long time. We've started playing a lot better. We didn't panic when we got down and we've bounced back."

Morgan (2-2) only wishes he could against the Pirates. The right-hander, who has pitched for a record-tying 10 clubs, is 5-17 lifetime against them and is 2-12 with a 5.68 ERA in Three Rivers Stadium.

"It must be the baseball gods," Morgan said. "That's the way it's gone against this club. I come in here as an AL pitcher playing an interleague game and the same thing happens."

Morgan, batting for the first time this season, helped himself with a single that led to Paul Molitor's RBI single and a 1-0 Twins lead in the third. But the Twins managed only one more hit Javier Valentin's single in the seventh over the final six innings.

"Really? I didn't know that," Silva said. "I just stayed with what was working for me. I was hitting my spots and pitching inside early and late in the count."

Silva struck out seven and didn't walk any in his fifth victory in his last six decisions.

"He pitched a great game and they've been hot," Morgan said.

Molitor, making a rare appearance in the field because the designated hitter rule isn't used in NL ballparks, tied Nap Lajoie for 11th place on the all-time list with his 3,242nd career hit. It was only his second start at first base this season.

The Pirates tied in it in the fifth on leadoff singles by Allensworth and Jose Guillen and Aramis Ramirez's force-play grounder, then took the lead after Morgan retired the first two batters in the sixth.

Al Martin singled, then kept the inning going by beating the throw to second on Jason Kendall's grounder to short, which was ruled a hit.

Kevin Young walked on a 3-2 pitch and Allensworth, who was 2-for-2 and reached base four times, singled for his third hit in twgames since ending a 1-for-21 slump.

"The big play was by Martin, beating the throw to second base," Twins manager Tom Kelly said. "You've got to give him credit for hustling. Unfortunately for us, they put some hits in the right spots with two outs. Martin made that play and it turned into a nice little rally for them."

It might have been even worse if the Pirates hadn't failed to score despite putting five of their six batters on base. Morgan and catcher Valentin each picked a runner off first, and Martin hit into a double play.

Jose Guillen added a run-scoring double and Kevin Polcovich had a two-run single in a three-run eighth against Hector Carrasco.

Notes: The Twins and Pirates play regularly in spring training, but this was their first regular-season game in Pittsburgh. The Twins won two of three in the Metrodome last June. ... Both teams were 7-8 in interleague play last season. ... The Pirates are 6-1 with two games left on a nine-game home stand. ... Minnesota had won seven of 11. ... Ramirez, at 19 the majors' youngest everyday regular, was 0-for-3 and is 1-for-28 since his callup last week.

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

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