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Brewers send Pirates to ninth straight loss, 11-3

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Associated Press
August 31, 2008
— Jeff Suppan thinks his winning streak has as much to do with the Brewers' recent success as it does his own mastery of opponents.

Suppan won his fifth consecutive decision, Corey Hart and Mike Cameron homered, and the Milwaukee Brewers handed the Pittsburgh Pirates their ninth straight loss, 11-3 Saturday night.


The Brewers improved to 19-7 in August after their seventh win in eight games.


"You always want to contribute, and sometimes regardless if you win or lose, just going out there and throwing quality innings up there gives your team a chance," Suppan said. "For whatever reason, that's where the streak has come from."


Suppan (10-7) improved to 5-0 in August and 12-3 in his career against the team he pitched for in 2003. He has allowed only 14 runs in six starts this month. Suppan's only blemish Saturday was Brandon Moss' two-run homer, his fifth as a Pirate and seventh of the season, in the sixth inning.


Suppan allowed three hits in seven innings.


"He threw the ball really, really well," Brewers manager Ned Yost said. "He was changing speeds, spotting the ball well on the attack. He's throwing good.


"Any time you're going to have success it's going to be because you got good starting pitching and your defense is good," Yost added. "It's always going to be the case."


Cameron drove in four runs, and Hart, J.J. Hardy and Jason Kendall each had three hits as the Brewers improved to 10-1 this season against Pittsburgh, including the last eight meetings.


Milwaukee moved within 5 games of the Chicago Cubs, which lost to the Phillies, in the National League Central. The Brewers extended their lead in the NL wild-card race to 5 games over St. Louis, which also lost Saturday.


Hart's home run made him the first player in Brewers history to have two seasons of at least 20 home runs and 20 steals. He also accomplished the feat last season. Hart led off the second by taking the first pitch from Pirates starter Paul Maholm deep into the bullpens in left-center.


"Any time you're part of something that's a first especially since I'm a big Brewers fanatic now it's an honor to have that title," Hart said.


Cameron's 24th homer and second in his past three games against the Pirates went to the same spot in the sixth with Ryan Braun and Hart aboard. Cameron, who also had a sacrifice fly, has eight home runs and 20 RBIs in his past 23 games.


Maholm (8-8) wouldn't make it out of the inning, lasting only 5 1-3 for his shortest outing since May 3. He was charged with six runs the most he has allowed since May 3 on seven hits and a walk, striking out three.


"He's done a phenomenal job all year and you've got to figure that at some point he's going to hit a bump in the road because everyone does," Pirates manager John Russell said.


"When you throw the ball down the middle, I don't care who you're playing, it's not going to get major league hitters out," Maholm said. "For the first few innings every time I tried to (pitch inside), it was right down the middle. Cameron's home run was right down the middle. Sure, they're a good hitting team. But when you throw pathetic pitches, it really doesn't work."


Milwaukee would ultimately score five times in the sixth, with Kendall and Rickie Weeks adding RBI doubles. Kendall drove in another run with a double during a three-run ninth that also featured a two-run single by Bill Hall.


Hardy, who is batting .455 (20-44) against the Pirates this season, had an RBI triple in the third.


Notes:@ The Pirates dropped to 1-10 against Milwaukee this season. ... Kendall started his 122nd game at catcher this season, establishing a new Brewers franchise record.... Brewers starters are 16-5 with a 2.61 ERA during the past 26 games. ... The Pirates are a combined 5-24 against the top two teams in the NL Central standings this season. They went 4-14 versus the Cubs.



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