Kris Benson lasted eight-plus innings and Brian Giles hits his first two home runs of the season as the Pirates narrowly avoided their first eight-game losing streak since Sept. 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. Benson was pulled after issuing his first walk, to Matt Williams leading off the ninth.
Sauerbeck induced Mark Grace to ground into a forceout before giving up a single to Danny Bautista. The reliever got Rod Barajas to hit a potential double-play grounder to Aramis Ramirez, 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.
Williams, the Pirates' closer, replaced Sauerbeck but immediately surrendered a two-run double to pinch-hitter Quinton McCracken, eliciting boos from the PNC Park crowd.
But Williams struck out pinch-hitter David Dellucci for the second out, then picked up Junior Spivey'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. Kenny Lofton drew a leadoff walk against former Pirate Elmer Dessens (3-3) before Giles belted a one-out homer to right field. One out later, Randall Simon hit his third homer of the season over the wall in left.
Giles made it 4-0 with a two-out homer to right one frame later.
Biologists detail four new deep-sea 'killer sponges'
Pistorius testifies he didn't consciously pull trigger when he shot girlfriend