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.

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Kemp’s Homer Paces Dodgers in Sweep

Matt Kemp hit a two run dinger in the sixth as Kevin Hart’s solid effort was wasted. Jason Jaramillo drove in the Pirates lone run in the second with a single. It stayed that way until Kemp’s homer. Ronnie Belliard hit a solo tater off of Phil Dumatrait in the 8th for the last score.

Hiroki Kuroda was the winner. He K’d seven, walked none, gave up six hits and just one run in six innings. Hart gave up two runs on seven hits in six innings of toil. But it wasn’t enough.

The Good

The starters have done a swell job in LA.

The Bad

The bullpen – not so much of a good job. Ditto the offense.

The Rest

The Dodger bullpen tossed 12 innings without allowing an earned run.

The Pirates whiffed 11 times overall. Steve Pearce was 0-4 but was the only member of the starting 8 not to strike out.

This was the 26th time that Pirate hitters have whiffed in double digits. Pirate pitchers have hit double digits just 9 times.

As Matt Kemp approaches 100 RBI, let’s look for the last home grown Dodger to reach triple digits. It was Adrian Beltre in 2004. Eric Karros (five times) and Mike Piazza (three times) each did it a bunch. Last farm raised Bucco was Aramis Ramirez in 2001.