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McLeary helps Pirates end eight-game losing streak

Oct 1, 2006 - 1:47 AM PITTSBURGH (Ticker) -- Marty McLeary took advantage of a team that no longer had anything special to play for.

McLeary tossed seven outstanding innings and Jose Bautista drove in a pair of runs as the Pittsburgh Pirates ended an eight-game losing streak with a 3-0 victory over the Cincinnati Reds.

Cincinnati (80-81) may have lost some of its zest after the St. Louis Cardinals posted a 3-2 win over the Milwaukee Brewers earlier Saturday, eliminating the Reds from the National League Central Division race.

"I think possibly we might have been a little flat after St. Louis won today," Reds manager Jerry Narron said. "We just didn't hit. I mean, there (are) no excuses. McLeary threw well. He threw strikes and shut us out. I tip my hat to him."

The Reds, who went 6-16 from August 25-September 18, managed just six hits to lose for the second time in seven games. They need to win Sunday to finish at .500 for the first time in six years.

"It's always crunch time this time of year, but looking back, every game means just as much," Reds starter Bronson Arroyo said. "You've go to be focused all year each night because any game at any point can cost you."

A 31-year-old righthander, McLeary (2-0) gave up five hits, struck out three and walked two in his second start and eighth career appearance.

"It feels real good to work real hard all year and have that work ethic carry over into the second half of the season into September, too," McLeary said. "If you work hard, usually it pays off."

After Matt Capps gave up one hit in the eighth, Salomon Torres retired the side in order in the ninth for his 11th save, clinching the Pirates' ninth shutout of the season.

Pitching against the team that originally drafted him, Arroyo (14-11) surrendered three runs and seven hits in seven innings in his bid to win a career-high 15th win. He also won 14 games last season with Boston.

"Bronson pitched fine," Narron said. "He pitched well. We just didn't score for him."

Ronny Paulino opened the scoring in the second inning when he plated Ryan Doumit with a double to right field. Bautista widened the margin with a two-run single to right in the sixth.

Despite going 0-for-4, Pittsburgh's Freddy Sanchez is hitting .343 and maintained a .003 margin over Florida's Miguel Cabrera for the league batting crown.

"Freddy is not interested in backing into anything," Pirates manager Jim Tracy said. "He's going to play. He holds a very strong advantage from the standpoint that if he can get a base hit he probably forces that other guy to get three or four. So you send him out there and you give him the opportunity to become the 2006 National League batting champion."

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