Pirates 3, Phillies 1

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PITTSBURGH (AP) – Ian Snell allowed an unearned run over seven innings to outduel Brett Myers and end Pittsburgh’s seven-game losing streak, and Jack Wilson drove in the go-ahead run in the Pirates’ 3-1 victory over the Philadelphia Phillies on Friday night.

Jack Wilson, Craig Wilson and Jason Bay drove in runs as the Pirates won for only the sixth time in 24 games during their worst start since 1957. They were coming off an 0-6 road trip to Houston and St. Louis.

The Pirates had lost 10 of 11 and 11 of 13 before the right-handed Snell finally pitched like the top prospect he is supposed to be, striking out seven and allowing five hits in his 11th career start and second victory. His only other win came when he pitched eight shutout innings to beat the Astros’ Roger Clemens last Sept. 19.

Snell (1-2) began the game with a 7.71 ERA that was the highest among the starting pitchers on a Pirates staff that had an NL-worst 5.71 ERA. But he didn’t allow a batter to advance past second over the first six innings, and the Phillies’ only run came after third baseman Joe Randa’s error in the seventh.

With the Pirates up 1-0 following Craig Wilson’s RBI double in the sixth, Ryan Howard singled to start the seventh and moved to second when Randa fumbled Aaron Rowand’s grounder. After David Bell bunted the runners up, Howard scored on Mike Lieberthal’s ground out.

Snell was lifted for a pinch-hitter, but picked up the victory when the Pirates scored twice in the seventh against Myers (2-1). Chris Duffy doubled with two out and scored on Jack Wilson’s single through the hole at short, and Bay followed with an RBI double.

Despite the Pirates’ terrible start, the two Wilsons are hitting a combined .464 with runners in scoring position – Jack Wilson is 7-of-12 (.583) and Craig Wilson is 6-of-16 (.375)

After giving up 16 runs in his first three starts, Snell has settled down to allow three runs, two earned, over 13 innings in his last two games to lower his ERA to 5.79 – or about five runs per game lower than it was a week ago.

Myers (2-1) was excellent over the first five innings, only to allow three runs in his final two innings. He struck out eight but gave up nine hits while pitching with at least one runner on base in all but one inning.

Damaso Marte followed Snell with a scoreless eighth aided when rookie catcher Ronny Paulino threw out Jimmy Rollins trying to steal for the second out. Mike Gonzalez pitched the ninth for his third save in as many opportunities and his first since April 11.

Notes: The Pirates are 5-6 at home but 1-12 on the road. … Pittsburgh’s losing streak was its longest since it dropped nine in a row from June 5-15, 2004. The Pirates were outscored 34-12 during their seven-game skid. … The Phillies’ David Bell went hitless after having three consecutive two-hit games. … Rollins singled in his final two at-bats after being 8-for-50 since April 13.

AP-ES-04-28-06 2143EDT

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