Votto’s Bat, Duke’s Arm Push Reds Over Bucs

Joey Votto stroked a two run double and hit a solo homer late in the game as the Reds took advantage of Zach Duke’s control issues to hand Pittsburgh their 98th loss of the year.

Duke went five innings and allowed five runs on six hits and five walks. He walked five hitters and two of them came around to score. Votto contributed a two run double in a three run fourth that put the Reds up 5-1.

The Pirates didn’t roll over. Delwyn Young hit a three run homer to put the score at 5-4. But Chris Bootcheck and newly recalled Anthony Clagett were each touched for tallies as the Reds pulled away.

Johnny Cueto was the winner. He allowed all four Pirate runs in six innings. He walked four and struck out six. With the the score at 7-4 and two men on, Nick Masset induced an inning ending grounder from Lastings Milledge. Francisco Cordero tossed a scoreless 9th for the win.

The Good

Young had three hits to go along with his three RBI.

LaRoche, still hitting number 2, had a double.

Andrew McCutchen stole his 20th base.

The Bad

Bad way to end an otherwise solid year for Duke.

Jason Jaramillo had a rough one. He whiffed three times, had a passed ball that allowed a run to score and hit into a double play.

The Rest

Cueto is now 6-2 in his career against Pittsburgh.

Welcome Anthony Clagett.

Brandon Moss walked three times – the first such game of his career.

Votto’s three RBI put him at 84 for the season, matching his 2008 total. His homer puts him in a tie for 10th all-time for homers hit by Canadian born players.

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Duke, LaRoche Lead Pirates Over LA

Gomer Pyle: Surprise, surprise, surprise

The Pirates took three of four from the front running Dodgers. Zach Duke was inexplicably pulled from the game sporting an 11-1 lead with no one on and one in with two gone in the 9th. He allowed just one run over those 8-2/3 IP while striking out six. He won his career best 11th of the season.

On the offense, Andy LaRoche busted out with a pair of homers and six RBI. He missed the cycle by a triple. He singled twice and double to total five hits and four runs along with his half dozen ribbies. Is there hope for him yet? Andrew McCutchen singled three times and scored three runs. Garrett Jones dingered for the 21st time and knocked in two runs.

Hiroki Kuroda was victimized for seven runs in four innings. Just three were earned as an error on the first batter of the third inning by Mark Loretta opened the door to a five run outburst by the Smokey City Nine.

The Good

Duke’s effort was deserving of a complete game shot. Not sure why John Russell would pull him. Duke threw 103 pitches.

The newbies – LaRoche, Jones and McCutchen.

The Bad

Bucs made two errors

More of this wasn’t around three months ago.

The Rest

LaRoche’s previous single game best was three RBI back on 6-1-09. Prior to this afternoon, he’d had five games in which he collected three hits and exactly zero four hit games. This was his first career two homer game. This was also the first time he scored more than twice in one game. This was the third game in 2009 in which a Pirates collected six RBI. Andrew McCutchen and (gasp) Craig Monroe have the other two.

This was the 7th time in 2009 that Duke went at least 8 innings. He had just six such outings in the last three seasons combined. He lowered his season ERA to under four with this effort.

Bucs Blow Late Leads Twice, Lose in 13

Matt Capps blew a save in the 9th and sent the game into extra innings. Phil Dumatrait did the same in the 13th and lost the game.

Pirates starter Zach Duke was on. He went 7-1/3 and allowed only four hits and two runs. He whiffed seven. He was in line for the win until Matt Kemp drove in Andre Ethier with two out in the 9th off of Capps.

The Pirates pushed one across in the 13th thanks to an error from Casey Blake and an RBI single from Ryan Doumit. But Phil Dumatrait, called on after gone and Rafael Furcal on first, gave up a two run homer to Ethier to end the game.

The Pirates scored three runs early as Steve Pearce homered and Duke had an RBI single in the second. Dodgers starter Randy Wolf allowed all three runs in seven innings on five hits.

Ethier’s dinger made a winner of former Pirate farmhand Ronald Belisario, who had given up the unearned tally in the 13th.

The Good

Pearce’s homer. We need to see what he can do over the final couple of weeks.

Duke’s effort was stellar.

The Bad

Blowing two leads.

Not getting any offense after the second

The Rest

That was Duke’s second 7 K performance in 2009. He has not struck out more than that since he was a rookie in 2005. Duke came into the game with an ERA over 7.00 against LA for his career.

Wolf is 7-1 in his career against Pittsburgh and had won his last four starts against the Pirates.

Ethier has 98 RBI and Kemp now has 92. The Dodgers haven’t had teammates with 100 RBI since 2001 when Gary Sheffield and Shawn Green did it.

Belisario has not allowed an earned run in his last 10 appearances, covering 9-2/3 IP. His ERA is below 2.00 on the season, his first in the majors.

 

 

Bucs Can’t Overcome Duke’s Ugly First

Inventing new ways to lose nightly. That could be the motto for next year.

The Cubs opened the game with eight consecutive hits. The Pirates collected just nine hits all game and the Cubs had that many before anyone was out. Amazingly, Zach Duke actually survived that to pitch four innings and give up a total of 12 hits and eight earnies.

Virgil Vasquez got to mop up and the beneficiary of that support was Ryan Dempster. He gave up eight hits in 6-1/3 to get the win.

Aramis Ramirez, Geovany Soto and Kosuke Fukudome each drove in two runs in the seven run first inning. Garrett Jones hit a solo homer for the Pirates – his 19th on the season.

The Good

Jones.

Five innings of two hit ball from the bullpen

The Bad

Are you kidding?

The Rest

The eight straight hits to start the game ties a record. Last time it happened was 9/25/90 when the Bombers did it to the O’s. The victims were rookie Anthony Telford (no outs and six hits allowed) followed by rookie Mickey Weston (gave up the final two hits before pitching three innings overall). Not sure if there is any significance in this, but Kevin Maas hit his 20th homer in that game for the Yanks. Not that I’m comparing him to Garrett Jones.

The first out in tonight’s game was a sac bunt from Dempster. That was kind of Lou Piniella. A groundout from Oscar Azocar was the first out on 9/25/90.

Back on 9/25/90, the Pirates were in the early stages of a seven game winning streak that would keep them ahead of the Mets on their way to the division crown. Also back then, no one knew who Barack Obama was. No one realized that the Rangers (and future president George W.Bush) had made a mistake by trading Sammy Sosa to the White Sox. Pete Rose was still denying his involvement in gambling on baseball. Memories…

 

Reds Sweep Pirates

Any way you look at it, this is getting uglier. The Reds swept the Pirates yesterday behind Homer Bailey and Brandon Phillips.

The Pirates, with help from long balls from Garret Jones and Brandon Moss, held a 3-2 lead going into the bottom of the sixth. Drew Stubbs homered off of Zach Duke to tie it. Rookie and recent call up Neil Walker committed a throwing error, opening the flood gates. After Joey Votto doubled, Phillips drove in a run – his third of the game – with a ground out. Darnell McDonald singled with two outs for the final tally of the inning and the game.

After that, the Cincy bullpen shut the Pirates down, striking out six of the final eight hitters. Bailey struck out eight in 6-1/3. He allowed three runs on seven hits. Overall, the Pirates were struck out 14 times. Duke gave up 9 hits and three earned runs in six innings.

The Good

Jones continues to rake.

Duke had two hits and Ryan Doumit had a pair of doubles.

The Bad

Good grief. 25 games out. A seven game losing streak.

The Rest

Two of Homer Bailey’s five wins in 2009 have come against the Pirates, both after the fire sale.

Phillips is hitting over .400 and has 13 RBI against Pittsburgh this year.

Jones now has 18 HR and 34 RBI. The record for the fewest RBI in a season with at least 20 dingers is Chris Hoiles who drove in 40 runs with 20 taters in 1992. Kevin Maas hit 21 homers in 1990 and knocked in only 41.

This was Duke’s fifth career two hit game.

Walker has started his career 0-5

Bucs Can’t Overcome Duke’s Off Night

There haven’t been too many games like this for Zach Duke in 2009. Thank goodness. Duke gave up seven runs in three innings and Milwaukee held on for the win.

The Beer Maker scored five times in the first. Prince Fielder crushed a three run homer to start things off. Rookie Jason Bourgeois hit a solo homer in the second and Ryan Braun added a solo jack in the fourth off of Chris Bootcheck. Braun’s homer would be Milwaukee’s final hit of the night.

The Pirates comeback came up short. It was mostly the work of super-rook Andrew McCutchen. He hit a two run double in the second and a two run homer in the sixth. In between. Steve Pearce drove in two with a double. But that was all the Pirates could do.

The Bucs brought the tying run to the plate in the 8th and the 9th, but couldn’t manage a clutch hit.

Duke was the loser, allowing 11 hits and seven runs in three innings. Brewers starter Manny Parra was slightly better. He held on to work five innings and get the win. He gave up 10 hits and six runs. Trevor Hoffman struck out the side in the 9th for the save.

The Good

McCutchen – as always.

Lastings Milledge had two hits.

The bullpen looked good. That’s a nice change.

The Bad

Tough to get on Duke as he has been pretty solid all year, but this outing was awful.

The Rest

Milledge has two hits in five of his last 10 games and has brought his average up 40 points.

This was the second time that Cutch has knocked in four runs or more. Last time was August 1 when he hit three homers off of Washington.

Parra had allowed just three earned runs over 11-2/3 IP in his two previous starts against the Pirates.

Duke falls to 3-5 career against Milwaukee.

Fielder has double digit career HRs against every NL Central team.

’79 Champs Witness Bucs Rise to 5th Place

I was supposed to be in the audience tonight. But a business trip looms tomorrow. Thusly, I witnessed the game courtesy of Fox Sports Ohio. 22 members of the 1979 World Series champs were honored before the game and they got to watch Zach Duke, Ryan Doumit and Garrett Jones pitch and pound the Reds into submission. And into the cellar.

The Pirates took over 5th place with their fifth straight win. Duke allowed two runs on eight hits and no walks in seven innings. The Pirates got on Justin Lehr in the first inning with three runs. Doumit was in the middle of it. With the Pirates already up 1-0, one gone in the first and Jones on third, Doumit hit a high bouncer back to Lehr. The Reds hurler wanted to get two and end the inning, but Doumit hustled down the line and was credited with a fielder’s choice RBI. He then swiped second based and scored on a single from Lastings Milledge.

Doumit hit a two run homer high into the seats in right in the fifth to make it 6-1. Jones added a two run double in next frame and the route was on. The Pirates added four more in the 7th. Steve Pearce had a two run single. Had it not been for an acrobatic stop by Brandon Phillips off the bat of Delwyn Young that Phillips helped turn into a double play, it could’ve been worse.

Lehr allowed six runs on 8 hits in five innings.

The Good

Five straight wins.

Fifth place.

Doumit had three hits, scored three times and drove in three.

Jones also had three hits and three runs knocked home.

Duke picks up win #10.

The Bad

Nothing at all, other than me not being in the Steel City tonight.

The Rest

The 19 players from the 1979 team on hand were:

Matt Alexander, Dale Berra, Bert Blyleven, John Candelaria, Mike Easler, Phil Garner, Grant Jackson, Bruce Kison, Lee Lacy, Bill Madlock, Omar Moreno, Steve Nicosia, Ed Ott, Dave Parker, Don Robinson, Jim Rooker, Manny Sanguillen, Rennie Stennett and Kent Tekulve. Chuck Tanner and coach Al Monchak were there along with trainer Tony Bartirome. Willie Stargell’s wife was also there.

Among the deceased in addition to Stargell are Bill Robinson, John Milner, Dave Roberts and Dock Ellis (not on post-season roster). Living players who did not come back were Jim Bibby, Doe Boyland (not on post-season roster), Joe Coleman (not on post-season roster), Tim Foli, Gary Hargis (not on post-season roster), Alberto Lois (not on post-season roster), Rick Rhoden (disabled most of the season), Enrique Romo, Frank Taveras (traded early on for Foli), Ed Whitson (traded for Madlock in June)

This was Doumit’s fifth career game with three runs scored. It was the third time he reached three RBI and three runs scored in one contest.

Jones has six RBI in the last two games.

Duke reached double figures in wins for the second time in his career.

Each of the starting 8 had a hit and scored a run.

Last five game winning streak was May 15 to 20th against Colorado and Washington. Each of the starters were the winning pitcher during the current winning streak.The bullpen picked up three wins during the earlier winning streak.

Luis Cruz got his third start of the year in place of Ronny Cedeno who has a fractured finger.

Welcome back Phil Dumatrait who pitched a scoreless inning, his first game since July 7, 2008.