Pirates 4, Brewers 3

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PITTSBURGH (AP)—Jose Castillo was on his way to the clubhouse, celebrating not only a game-winning home run but a streak of six consecutive games with a homer when a Pirates teammate grabbed him and pushed him back toward the field.

No home run. No six-game streak. And, at least for a couple of minutes, no Pirates victory, though it took only one more batter to clear up the confusion.

Ryan Doumit hit a game-winning single after the umpires took away Castillo’s apparent homer and called both teams back onto the field, and the Pirates finished off a four-game sweep of the Milwaukee Brewers with a bizarre 4-3 victory Thursday.

The Pirates trailed 3-2 entering the ninth, but Jeromy Burnitz doubled off Brewers closer Derrick Turnbow (2-2). One batter later, Castillo hit a long drive that bounced off the padding atop the right field wall and was first called a home run.

“It was fun celebrating,” Burnitz said. “But once I saw their guys emphatically running in, I knew there was a chance we might have to replay it.”

After conferring behind second base, the umpires decided Castillo’s drive did not clear the wall and put him back at second—after some Pirates had headed to the clubhouse and fireworks were shot off. Brewers manager Ned Yost argued Castillo stopped at first and should have been put there, though Castillo was seen running the bases and touching home following the initial wave of confusion.

“My argument was why did he get second base?” Yost said. “Nobody saw him stop at first.”

Castillo felt the ball had left the park and was confused why he had to go back.

“I don’t know why the umpires said no,” he said. “I was mad—but for the Pirates. I’m happy for the team winning every day.”

Doumit then worked the count to 3-1 before grounding a ball down the right-field line, scoring Castillo easily and allowing the Pirates to celebrate a second time.

“I’m banging Castillo on his head and celebrating and the next thing I know, they’re doing it to me,” Doumit said. “It was quite a rollercoaster ride the last five minutes.”

Castillo drove in three runs, adding two sacrifice flies, and closed out a remarkable series with one of the Pirates’ best defensive plays all season with a sliding catch in right field of Chad Moeller’s popup in the fourth. Castillo went 9-of-13 with four home runs, two doubles and 14 RBIS in the series.

“It was one of the most impressive series I’ve seen out of one guy,” Brewers starter Dave Bush said. “Sometimes, guys get hot.”

John Grabow (1-1) got the final out of the ninth for the victory as the Pirates swept a series of three games or longer for the first time since taking three from the Reds in July 2004. The Brewers have lost five in a row.

The Pirates, trying to play catchup after losing 33 of their first 47, outscored Milwaukee 36-8 while sweeping the series. They had scored 63 runs while winning five of their previous seven, scoring 12 runs or more three times.

“Yes, it’s possible,” Burnitz said of the Pirates’ attempt to turn their season around by winning six of seven so far during a 10-game homestand. “Yes, that would definitely be the hope. It’s a definite confidence builder.”

Carlos Lee had put Milwaukee ahead 3-2 with his 18th homer, a solo shot with two outs in the eighth off Roberto Hernandez. That put Bush in position to get the win after the right-hander, born in Pittsburgh two weeks after the Pirates last won the World Series in 1979, gave up two runs and three hits in seven innings.

All of Milwaukee’s runs scored with two out, with Corey Hart adding an RBI double in the fourth and Jeff Cirillo a run-scoring single an inning later, both off Paul Maholm.

The left-handed Maholm again got little offensive support—the Pirates have scored only three runs in his last three losses—despite limiting Milwaukee to two runs over seven innings.

Bush didn’t allow a hit until Burnitz’s leadoff double to the right-field gap in the fifth, immediately after a brief delay for the grounds crew to fix an advertising panel that came apart along the first-base line. Castillo followed Freddy Sanchez’s single with the first of his two sacrifice flies.

Castillo’s exceptional defensive play stranded Hart at second and prevented a run from scoring. Moeller’s popup looked like it would fall between Castillo and right fielder Burnitz, but Castillo managed to catch the bottom half of the ball in his glove while sliding on his backside. The ball popped out of his glove while he was sliding but, while still on his back, Castillo regained control and made the catch.


Castillo’s streak of homering in five consecutive games ended one short of teammate Jason Bay’s six-game streak that ended Monday. The Pirates hadn’t had a player homer for more than four consecutive games since Dale Long homered in a record eight in a row in 1956 until Bay and Castillo did so this week. … Maholm picked runners off first to end successive innings, catching Hart (sixth) and Rickie Weeks (seventh). … The Brewers went 3-7 on a 10-game road trip. … Lee was 1-for-16 before getting two hits. … Burnitz stayed in the game despite limping away from home plate with a sore right knee after sliding in the fifth. … The Pirates hadn’t won more than four in a row since a 10-game midseason run in 2004.

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