lasted eight-plus innings and
hit his first two home runs of the season as the Pirates narrowly avoided their first eight-game losing streak since September 9-22, 2001.
Benson (4-4), who had lost four of his previous five outings, lasted a career-worst 2 1/3 frames in his last start but was significantly sharper this time, yielding one run and eight hits.
"I was able to get some ground balls, got some good defense in the field and had some good hits on the offensive side," Benson said. "Anytime I can turn things around is a confidence booster. I felt pretty confident coming into today, and all around it was a good game."
"I thought Benson was OK," Pirates manager
said. "He left a lot of balls up in the zone, had some hard outs and pitched well enough to win, but it wasn't his best stuff."
Benson was pulled after issuing his first walk, to
leading off the ninth, falling just short of recording his fifth career complete game and first in nearly three years.
"Considering the seven-game losing stretch, we were going to do anything we could to get the win," McClendon said of removing Benson in the ninth. "The accomplishments of the team outweighed Benson getting the complete game. We needed a win more than a complete game."
"He pitched well," Arizona manager
said of Benson. "I don't know what else to say. He had no walks, threw a lot of strikes, and it seemed like the only time he went out of the strike zone, he wanted to. He was pretty impressive."
to ground into a forceout before giving up a single to
. The reliever got
to hit a potential double-play grounder to
, but the ball bounced off the third baseman's left foot and trickled into the outfield for a two-base error, allowing Grace to score and make it 5-2.
, the Pirates' closer, replaced Sauerbeck but immediately surrendered a two-run double to pinch hitter
, eliciting boos from the PNC Park crowd. But
struck out pinch hitter
for the second out, then picked up
's check-swing ground ball and outran the batter to first to end the contest and record his ninth save in 11 opportunities.
Pittsburgh gave Benson a three-run cushion in the bottom of the first.
drew a leadoff walk against former Pirate
(3-3) before Giles belted a one-out homer to right field. One out later,
hit his third homer of the season over the wall in left.
"Once we could score a few runs early, it relaxes Benson and he doesn't have to make a perfect pitch every pitch," Giles said.
"He's one of the most consistent hitters in our league and has been for a number of years," Brenly said of Giles. "You cannot afford to make mistakes on him. That's what we did tonight a couple of times."
Giles made it 4-0 with a two-out homer to right one frame later.
"I'm just trying to concentrate harder," said Giles, who returned to action Wednesday after missing nearly a month with an injured knee. "I felt good taking batting practice on the West Coast, and I felt good since the first day back. I am seeing the ball well."
"We miss Giles for four weeks, and what he does for our lineup is unbelievable," McClendon said. "He showed it tonight. He makes players around him better."
Dessens allowed four runs and five hits in six frames, striking out five batters without a walk.
"I think a lot of times is, before they allow him to change speeds, throw a few changeups and put a little on, especially early in the ballgame ... before he gets in the comfort zone, they jump on him," Brenly said of Dessens.