Dodger Stadium | 10:10 | Duke vs. Hiroki Kuroda | Box
If you were sitting next to me, you’d see a mid-30s guy with his mouth hanging open for two reasons – it is late at night and the Pirates staged an improbable comeback.
Trailing 6-4 with two gone in the visitor’s half of the ninth, Nate McLouth stepped to the plate. He was hitless and in danger of ending his season long consecutive game hitting streak. Instead, he blasted a game winning three run home run to right field. McLouth’s blast made a loser of Takashi Saito.
The Pirates were in this one throughout. Jose Bautista launched his first HR of 2008 to put the Bucs up 2-0. The Dodgers climbed back into it, in part due to some boneheadedness. LA scored a run on a single, a balk, a passed ball, and a ground out.
The Dodgers went up 4-3 in the sixth when rookie 3B Blake DeWitt singled in James Loney. It stayed that way until McLouth’s AB in the 9th.
In addition to McLouth’s game winning hit, Bautista had two hits and Freddy Sanchez had three. Hopefully those guys will join McLouth and Xavier Nady on the list of players that are swinging the bat well. Tyler Yates picked up the win by pitching a scoreless 8th. John Grabow tossed a scoreless 7th and remains unscored upon in nine appearances this year. Matt Capps notched his fourth save.
Bad stuff – the Pirates drew no walks and starter Zach Duke didn’t strike any LA hitters out – not even the pitcher. In fact, Dodgers starter Hiroki Kuroda picked up his first ML hit against Duke.
Still, the Pirates are a game over .500 at 7-6 and are riding a four game winning streak. I’m going to bed very happy.
Hiroki Kuroda is another in a long line of imported hurlers from the Pacific rim. He is 33 and has made two starts for the Dodgers in 2008. He has pitched well, posting a 2.13 ERA in 12-2/3 innings. But, he was hurt by a pair of unearned runs in his last start and his record stands at 1-1.
He, of course, not seen any of the Pirates in MLB action. Here’s a scouting report on him. Here are his complete stats from Japan. The Dodgers inked him to a three year $35.3 million contract in December.
Zach Duke and Kuroda have pitched the exact same number of innings and have both given up three earned runs thus far in 2008. So, Duke’s ERA sits at 2.13, as well. He has benefited from many opposing base runners being stranded.
A good chunk of this current crop of Dodgers has had some trouble against Duke. They include Juan Pierre (3-17), Jeff Kent (1-11), Rafael Furcal (2-10) and Andruw Jones (1-8). Andre Ethier is 3-6 with five runs driven in. Russell Martin is 4-6 with a homer and two runs knocked in.
As Matt notes below, he is optimistic of Duke’s return to form.