Brewers 5, Pirates 2

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MILWAUKEE (AP) – When it is opening day and the Brewers are playing the Pittsburgh Pirates, Jeff Cirillo shines.

Cirillo hit a go-ahead, two-run single in the seventh inning that sparked Milwaukee to a 5-2 victory Monday.

Cirillo also homered and doubled in last season’s opening-day victory in Pittsburgh. His single Monday came off Damaso Marte, the winning pitcher in Game 3 of last year’s World Series for the Chicago White Sox.

Brewers reliever Justin Lehr got just his third major league win, pitching one hitless inning. Brewers closer Derrick Turnbow finished with a one-hit ninth for the save, one day after agreeing to a $6.5 million, three-year contract.

Pittsburgh, which outhit the Brewers 7-6, squandered an impressive outing by starter Oliver Perez, who allowed one run and three hits in 5 1-3 innings. Perez struck out nine and even helped his team at the plate with an RBI single in the second.

Perez’s strong outing was in stark contrast to last season’s opening-day appearance against the Brewers in Pittsburgh, when Milwaukee roughed him up for six runs in five-plus innings.

Perez was poised this time around, giving up a solo home run to J.J. Hardy in the first inning but settling down after that. Perez faces questions about his velocity going into his third full season in the major leagues. But he had a good fastball in a strong final spring training outing against Boston on Wednesday, and changed speeds skillfully against the Brewers.

His ground ball up the middle in the second inning scored Jose Castillo, tying the game 1-1.

Brewers starter Doug Davis gave up two runs in six innings, and nearly pitched out of a jam in the top of the sixth.

With runners on first and second and no outs, Davis got Joe Randa to pop out to catcher Damian Miller. The runners advanced on Jeromy Burnitz’s groundout, and the Brewers intentionally walked Jose Castillo to loaded the bases.

Humberto Cota hit a ground ball up the middle, where it was fielded on the run by second baseman Rickie Weeks. He flipped the ball behind his back with his bare hand to Hardy covering at second, but Castillo was called safe and Sean Casey scored for a 2-1 Pittsburgh lead.

Notes: With temperatures in the 40s, Miller Park’s retractable roof was closed. … It was the Brewers’ first season opener at home since 1995. … Brewers “super sub” Bill Hall started at third base in place of Corey Koskie, who will be the team’s regular there. … Brewers LF Carlos Lee committed an error in the first when a fly ball went off his glove. … Monday’s attendance was 45,023, the third-largest crowd ever in Miller Park and the largest on opening day.

AP-ES-04-03-06 1721EDT

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