Pirates Can't Contain Their Joy in Four-Game Sweep of Brewers

From Associated Press

Fireworks were exploding and the near-sellout crowd was cheering one of the few exciting moments in a discouraging Pittsburgh Pirate season.

There was only one problem: The game wasn't over.

Pirate reliever Mike Williams wasn't distracted by the premature victory celebration before throwing the game's biggest pitch Thursday, striking out Raul Casanova on a 3-and-2 count with the bases loaded in the ninth inning to close out a 1-0 victory over the Milwaukee Brewers at Pittsburgh.

Then, the last-place Pirates really could celebrate the four-game sweep of the Brewers.

"That really wasn't a distraction to me," Williams said, referring to the fireworks that PNC Park personnel accidentally shot off when Casanova fouled off the previous pitch. "I create my own distractions."

He did too, loading the bases on Richie Sexson's double, a walk to Tyler Houston and Jose Hernandez's sharp single to left, then falling behind in the count, 3 and 0, to Casanova.

"But nothing matters to him out there," Brian Giles said. "There are certain guys he's not going to let beat him. When Willie's out there, you know it's going to be exciting."

Todd Ritchie (4-8) gave up three hits in seven innings, striking out four to win his fourth in a row, but he was lifted after tiring on a 90-degree day.

Mike Lincoln pitched a scoreless eighth before Williams got through the ninth for his 16th consecutive save this season and his 23rd in a row dating to Sept. 3.

"I'm never comfortable when he's out there, but I'm always confident in him," Manager Lloyd McClendon said.

Philadelphia 6-8, Florida 5-7--Bobby Abreu hit a two-run homer in the eighth inning of the second game to give the Phillies a doubleheader sweep at Philadelphia.

The Phillies, who had lost five of their previous six games to fall out of first place in the National League East, won the opener behind Doug Glanville, who had three hits.

The sweep left the Phillies and Atlanta Braves tied for the division lead.

Abreu, who also homered in the first game, broke a 6-6 tie with his second-game home run.

Jimmy Rollins had singled with one out in the eighth.

Abreu has 15 home runs.

Atlanta 6, New York 2--The Braves won their seventh in a row since trading controversial closer John Rocker, beating the Mets at New York when Javy Lopez hit a grand slam in the 10th inning against Armando Benitez.

Lopez hit two home runs and set a career high with five runs batted in.

Andruw Jones led off the 10th with a walk, stole second, then went to third on Chipper Jones' flyout to right.

Benitez (3-3) intentionally walked the next two hitters to load the bases before Lopez homered. Lopez hit an 0-and-2 pitch into the left-field stands for the fourth grand slam of his career.

Cincinnati 5, Chicago 2--Alex Ochoa went five for five and Elmer Dessens and six relievers combined on a five-hitter for the Reds at Cincinnati.

The Cubs have lost five of seven games because of a dormant offense. The National League Central leaders have scored only 16 runs during the slump.

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