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Bucs' miseries continue in Milwaukee

Bucs' miseries continue in Milwaukee
MILWAUKEE ? The Pirates have lost to many teams in many ballparks during their 16-year losing skid.

But there is nothing like Miller Park.

The Pirates frittered away a four-run lead ? with ace Paul Maholm on the mound - and saw their miseries against the Milwaukee Brewers continue with a 6-5 loss on Tuesday night.

"It's tough to play here," Maholm said. "But we've got to get over it. We've got to win."

The Pirates' losing streak against the Brewers extended to 14 games in a row dating to last May and 17 in a row at Miller Park, dating to May 2007.

Their struggles in Milwaukee mark the longest losing streak on the road against the same opponent by any major league team in at least two decades. The Mariners lost 16 in a row at Oakland from 1990-93.

One night after allowing five runs in the eighth inning of a 10-5 loss, the Pirates blew a 5-1 lead in the fifth inning.

"This team is swinging the bat very well right now," Pirates manager John Russell said. "If you make mistakes, they are going to hit them hard."

Trailing 5-3, the Brewers homered twice during a three-run sixth-inning ? one by Bill Hart off Maholm and a two-run drive by Rickie Weeks off reliever Jesse Chavez (0-1) ? to take a 6-5 lead.

"I made a mistake," Chavez said of his 93-mph fastball that Weeks lined over the left-field fence. "It's unacceptable"

The Pirates failed to reach base in the the sixth, seventh and eighth innings. Ramon Vazquez led off the ninth with a single off Trevor Hoffman, but the major's all-time save leader got Freddy Sanchez to ground into a game-ending double play for his first save with the Brewers.

Jorge Julio (1-0) got the win for the Brewers, who have won six of their past seven.

The three-game series concludes at 1:05 p.m. today when Ian Snell (1-2) meets Yovani Gallardo (2-1).

"We just have to bear down and hang in there," outfielder Nyjer Morgan said. "We have to dig a little deeper. It's a long season. There are going to be many other times where we will be in this situation."

Eric Hinske and Jason Jaramillo each hit two-run doubles. Andy LaRoche went 0-for-3 and saw his 11-game hitting streak snapped, as the Pirates have lost two in a row for only the second time all season.

The last time the Pirates won a game in Milwaukee, Brett Favre was still a Green Bay Packer ? on good terms. Since then, they endured blowout losses, tight losses and extra-inning losses. Through all the sausage races and indoor fireworks and Bernie Brewer's bending yellow slide above the left-field seats, they haven't walked into the clubhouse as a victor.

Maholm struggled for the second consecutive start. The left-hander allowed five earned runs on seven hits before leaving during a three-run sixth-inning rally by the Brewers. More troubling, Maholm walked five ? or two fewer than his first 26 2/3 innings of the season.

"I didn't have it," Maholm said. "Overall, it was just bad. The team gives you a 5-1 lead and you let them down. It's pretty tough to take. ...It wasn't them hitting great pitches. It was me being pretty brutal."

The Pirates got a pair of two-run doubles from two Wisconsin natives, Hinske in the third and Jaramillo in the fifth, to take a 5-1 lead off Brewers starter Dave Bush, who was making his first start since flirting with a no-hitter against the Phillies. Bush allowed five runs (four earned) in five innings.

But the Brewers scored twice in the bottom of the fifth to make it 5-3. Bill Hall led off the sixth inning with a home run on Maholm's first pitch and Craig Counsell hit a one-out single that chased Maholm. On Chavez's second pitch, Weeks lined a 93-mph fastball over the left-field wall for a 6-5 Brewers lead.

Author:Fox Sports
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Added: April 30, 2009

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