Game #64: Duke Beats Unit

PNC Park | 12:35 | Duke vs. Randy Johnson | Box
Call me shocked. Not only did Zach Duke pick up the win and Randy Johnson pick up the loss, but Duke actually struck out more hitters than the Unit did. Duke went six plus and gave up two earned runs on five hits. In 5-2/3 Johnson gave up five runs (four earned). Duke struck out five. Johnson only struck out three.
Tempers came out a couple of times. Bob Melvin was ejected after a home run was reduced to a double. Mark Reynolds high fly was caught by fan in right who leaned over the fence to catch it. Reynolds was stranded. Reynolds would later homer and double again.
In the third, Johnson and Doug Mientkiewicz began some verbal sparring after Mientkiewicz backed out of the box a couple of times much to the chagrin and dismay of Johnson. The benches and bullpens emptied, but no punches or shoves were seen. Johnson eventually walked Doug, committed and error on a comebacker from Jose Bautista, gave up a single to Duke and then walked Luis Rivas to force home a run. He then settled in to retire the next three hitters without incident.
Rivas and Jack Wilson drove home a run each in a two run sixth for the Pirates final scores. Damaso Marte, Tyler Yates and Matt Capps finished up the game. Marte was called on in the seventh with two on and nobody out to replace Duke. He escaped without further damage.
Snakes catcher Miguel Montero earned a golden sombrero for his 0-4 with four whiff effort. He also committed an error. Ryan Doumit was hitless and is 1-12 since his return.

Pre-Game Thoughts
Five Cy Young Awards. 10 All-Star teams. Second all-time in strikeouts. Nearing 300 wins. Yep, it is Big Unit time. Randy Johnson has chewed up the Pirates along with plenty of other teams in his career. He is winless in his last three starts despite allowing just six earned runs over 19-1/3 innings pitched. He is 4-2 overall in 2008 with an ERA+ of 114.
Johnson is 9-5 against the Pirates in 14 career starts. His career ERA is 2.21. He has faced the Pirates just once since 2005. That most recent appearance was May 20, 2007.
43 whiffs vs just six walks. That’s what the Pirates have compiled against Johnson all-time. The team has just 31 hits in 128 at bats. Chris Gomez is 12-40. Jack Wilson is 3-16 with seven strikeouts.
Opposing the certain first ballot HOFer is Zach Duke. He won his last start, going a season’s best 7-2/3 innings. Overall he is 3-4 with a near league average ERA.
He has not faced Arizona since 2006. He is 0-1 with a 6.55 ERA in two career starts. Only five of the D-backs postion players. Those five are 12-33 all told.

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