PITTSBURGH (AP) – The Milwaukee Brewers must go 1-for-2 to be winners again for the first time since 1992.

Damian Miller and Geoff Jenkins hit two-run homers in the seventh inning and the Brewers, down by five runs while being held hitless for five innings by Oliver Perez, assured themselves of at least a .500 season by rallying to beat the Pirates 6-5 Friday night.

The victory, the Brewers’ ninth in 14 games against Pittsburgh, ended their streak of 12 consecutive losing seasons that dated to a 92-70 finish while still in the AL in 1992. The Pirates (65-95), long since assured of a 13th consecutive losing season, will go alone into the 2006 season with the longest ongoing streak of losing seasons in American major pro sports.

The Pirates are three losing seasons away from tying the Phillies’ 1933-48 major league record run of 16 consecutive losing seasons.

Julio Santana, Milwaukee’s third pitcher of the eighth, struck out Craig Wilson looking – the only batter he faced – to leave the bases loaded after Kane Davis walked two. Derrick Turnbow pitched the ninth for his 39th save in 43 opportunities.

The Brewers trailed 5-0 after a pair of doubles by Humberto Cota off Doug Davis, but began their comeback when Carlos Lee singled off Perez leading off the sixth for their first hit. Perez, who allowed only that hit but walked seven and hit a batter in five-plus innings, left after walking the next three batters to force in a run.

Miller followed with a sacrifice fly off reliever Rick White, then gave the Brewers the lead an inning later with his two-run drive off Ryan Vogelsong (2-2) – but only after third baseman Rob Mackowiak’s error for misplaying Jeff Cirillo’s grounder kept the inning going. Lee had walked with one out and Jenkins followed with his 25th homer to get Milwaukee to within a run.

Justin Lehr (1-1) pitched two scoreless innings for his second career win and first in the NL.

Davis lasted five innings, allowing seven hits and five runs – two earned – with third baseman Cirillo’s two-out error on Brad Eldred’s grounder in the first leading to Cota’s two-run double. Cota singled ahead of Freddy Sanchez’s RBI single in the fourth and had another RBI double in the fifth.

Notes: Rolling Stones guitarist Ron Wood watched from a private box. The Stones played a concert at PNC Park on Wednesday night, and the damage caused by the seven-story stage’s steel rigging required about 10,000 square feet of outfield grass to be replaced Friday afternoon. … The Pirates are 32-47 at home with 16 losses in 22 games. … Sanchez doubled in the first to run his hitting streak to 15 games, a team season high. … Milwaukee last came close to a winning season in 1996, going 80-82. … Pirates rookie OF Nate McLouth’s streak of homering in three consecutive games ended. … Perez has allowed three runs and six hits in 11 innings in his last two starts. In his first three starts following a two-month layoff with a broken toe, he yielded eight runs and 10 hits and walked nine in 8 2-3 innings.

AP-ES-09-30-05 2245EDT


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