The first-place Prince William Cannons continued to struggle offensively, but they ended a five-game losing streak last night with a 3-2 victory over the Lynchburg Red Sox in front of 1,707 at Prince William County Stadium.

While relying on the pitching of Sam Militello, the Cannons scratched out three runs, the decisive score on an eighth-inning sacrifice fly by John Viera that scored Brad Ausmus.

Middle reliever Brent Gilbert (3-0) earned the victory and Mark Ohlms got a Carolina League-best 13th save.

Prince William, whose .225 batting average is second to last in the Northern Division, manufactured the game's first run in the third inning without the benefit of a hit. Viera walked and eventually scored on a series of errors after stealing second.

But the Cannons' pitchers have a league-leading 2.37 ERA and second-best 272 strikeouts.

Lynchburg tied in the fourth when Bruce Chick doubled to right, driving home Jim Byrd, who had reached first on an error.

In the sixth, the Cannons regained the lead on Ramon Jimnenez's second double, which scored Ausmus, who had singled.

The Red Sox, with only two hits, didn't give starter Tim Smith much help. The right-hander struck out six and yielded two runs before exiting after 6 2/3 innings. The loss went to Brad Hoyer (0-1), who gave up the winning run on two hits in pitching one inning.

After striking out nine and giving up just three hits in 7 1/3 innings, Militello departed not much later, after the Red Sox capitalized on a walk, an error, a wild pitch and a fielder's choice by Chick that scored Scott Bethea from third and tied the score at 2.

Keys-Indians, ppd: The opening game of the Frederick Keys' three-game series at Salem was rained out. The game will be made up as part of a doubleheader tonight, beginning at 6.