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Pirates' Duke earns another win by slowing Dodgers

CBS SportsLine.com wire reports
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PITTSBURGH -- Zach Duke wasn't perfect, far from it. Only his record is.

Duke became only the second rookie in Pirates history to win his first five decisions as a starter, giving up more than one run for only the second time in his short career in pitching Pittsburgh past the Los Angeles Dodgers 9-4 on Saturday night.

Duke (5-0) permitted four runs and 10 hits in 7 1/3 innings, the first time he has allowed more than one run since giving up three in 7 2/3 innings in his July 2 debut against Milwaukee.

His ERA may have jumped from 0.92 to 1.54, but the 22-year-old is the first Pirates rookie since Whitey Glazner in 1921 to start 5-0. No Pirates rookie has been 6-0. Glazner went 14-5 that season, but finished 41-48 during a five-year career with the Pirates and Philadelphia Phillies and was 14-30 his final two seasons.

"Uh-oh, that means I'm on a bad track, right?" Duke said.

Not quite. The Pirates don't expect a reversal like that from the left-handed Duke, who is 17-3 this season with the Pirates and Triple-A Indianapolis. Not a hard thrower, he relies on a changeup he repeatedly throws down in the strike zone and an excellent breaking ball he used to strike out six -- including all three batters in the seventh. The four runs allowed were two more than in his previous five starts combined.

And this guy slipped to the 20th round of the 2001 June draft?

"It's exciting he didn't have his best stuff and he still kept us in the game," said Jack Wilson, who homered, doubled and scored twice.

The Pirates had allowed 43 runs while losing three of their previous four, yet looked like a different, far-more-confident team with Duke on the mound.

"It seems like that," Duke said. "They seem to play well the days I pitch. I don't know what it is, but it is very positive."

The Dodgers had their chances, getting it to 5-3 in the fifth on Antonio Perez's sacrifice fly before Duke got Mike Edwards to bounce into a force play with runners on first and third and two outs.

"We had something going on in the fifth, it looked like we had a chance to get back in the game, but they cut the inning off," manager Jim Tracy said. "We took some good at-bats off him, we created some opportunity for ourselves ... but from watching him, he's got a crisp fastball and his breaking ball also is very sharp."

Just not this night, his worst in the majors but still not a losing night.

"I was battling myself all night," Duke said. "I couldn't run my fastball inside at all to right-handers, it was right down the middle, so I had to go more to my two-seam fastball and changeup."

Duke wasn't the only rookie contributing to the Pirates' third victory in 11 games, two with Duke on the mound. Center fielder Chris Duffy had four hits for the second time in his 17 career starts, scored three runs and had an RBI, and first baseman Brad Eldred doubled in a run to help the Pirates bounce back from losses of 12-7 (San Diego) and 12-6 (Dodgers) the previous two days.

Last year's NL rookie of the year, Jason Bay, had the biggest hit while driving in three runs - a two-run double after Freddy Sanchez's RBI single in a three-run second that put the Pirates up 4-1. Dodgers starter Odalis Perez (6-6) gave up nine hits and six runs -- five earned -- in six innings to lose for the first time in six starts.

"Sometimes you go to the mound and believe you can go out and perform the way you want, but you feel mad if you can't," Perez said. "I went out there with confidence ... I don't feel about it at all. I feel bad because we lost."

Castillo also drove in two runs, adding an RBI single in the first, and Sanchez had a triple among his three hits and drove in a run.

Olmedo Saenz hit his career-high 12th homer of the season, and second in as many games, and drove in two runs, giving him eight in two games, but the Dodgers still dropped their ninth in 14 games. Saenz's RBI single in the first ended Duke's 14-inning scoreless streak in PNC Park.

Duke left to a standing ovation and cheers of "D-u-u-u-k-e" after giving up Saenz's solo homer, making it 8-4, and Edwards' single in the eighth.

Duke also ended a couple of Pirate streaks against the Dodgers, who had won seven in a row in PNC Park since 2002 and nine straight against Pittsburgh since 2003.

Notes

  • The sellout crowd of 38,579 was the third largest since PNC Park opened in 2001. The Pirates are 3-14 there against the Dodgers.
  • Duke's 0.87 ERA in July was the lowest among all major-league pitchers.
  • Perez was 2-0 over his previous five starts.
  • Duke has 35 strikeouts and 12 walks in 46 2/3 innings. Of his 111 pitches, 80 were for strikes.
 
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
 
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Pirates' rookie Chris Duffy picks up four hits for the second time in only 17 career starts. (AP)
Pirates' rookie Chris Duffy picks up four hits for the second time in only 17 career starts. (AP)

Players of the Game
Pittsburgh

J. Bay
AB 5
R 0
H 2
HR 0
RBI 3
Los Angeles

O. Saenz
AB 5
R 1
H 3
HR 1
RBI 3
 
Los Angeles Dodgers
Cesar Izturis, SS5020012 .273
Jason Repko, LF4100013 .233
   a- Hee Seop Choi, PH1000000 .245
Milton Bradley, CF5220020 .284
Jeff Kent, 1B3010210 .301
Olmedo Saenz, 3B5133011 .301
Antonio Perez, 2B3011002 .333
Mike Edwards, RF4010003 .271
Dioner Navarro, C4020001 .222
Odalis Perez, P3000022 .107
    Giovanni Carrara, P0000000 .000
   b- Ricky Ledee, PH1000012 .287
    Wilson Alvarez, P0000000 .000
Totals3841242916 
a-lined out for Repko in the 9th
b-struck out for Carrara in the 8th
Batting
2B - Milton Bradley 2 (11, Duke, Duke)
HR - Olmedo Saenz (12, Duke)
SF - Antonio Perez (1)
RBI - Olmedo Saenz 3 (49), Antonio Perez (19)
2-OUT RBI - Olmedo Saenz (22)
Team LOB - 10
Fielding
DP - Saenz-Perez-Kent, Carrara-Izturis-Kent
E - Olmedo Saenz 2 (2, Misplayed grounder)
Los Angeles Dodgers
Odalis Perez (L,6-6) 6965061 4.67
Giovanni Carrara 1322100 4.97
Wilson Alvarez 1311010 5.87
Pitches-Strikes - Odalis Perez 104-79, Giovanni Carrara 20-12, Wilson Alvarez 29-18
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Odalis Perez 9-4, Giovanni Carrara 2-0
Batters Faced - Odalis Perez 28, Giovanni Carrara 6, Wilson Alvarez 6
Pittsburgh Pirates
Freddy Sanchez, 3B5231001 .275
Chris Duffy, CF5341001 .388
Jason Bay, LF5023001 .296
Brad Eldred, 1B5111035 .275
Jose Castillo, 2B4022001 .263
Michael Restovich, RF3000002 .250
   a- Rob Mackowiak, PH-RF0000100 .269
Humberto Cota, C4000021 .235
Jack Wilson, SS4221000 .231
Zach Duke, P3000021 .000
    Salomon Torres, P0000000 .500
    John Grabow, P0000000 .000
   b- Ryan Doumit, PH1110000 .212
    Jose Mesa, P0000000 .000
Totals3991591713 
a-walked for Restovich in the 7th
b-singled for Grabow in the 8th
Batting
2B - Jason Bay (33, O. Perez), Brad Eldred (4, Carrara), Jose Castillo (11, Carrara), Jack Wilson (15, O. Perez)
3B - Freddy Sanchez (3, O. Perez)
HR - Jack Wilson (6, O. Perez)
RBI - Freddy Sanchez (19), Chris Duffy (7), Jason Bay 3 (61), Brad Eldred (6), Jose Castillo 2 (41), Jack Wilson (26)
2-OUT RBI - Freddy Sanchez (13), Chris Duffy (4), Jason Bay 3 (24), Jose Castillo (11)
SB - Jason Bay 2 (11, 3rd base off O. Perez/Navarro, 3rd base off O. Perez/Navarro), Jose Castillo (1, 2nd base off O. Perez/Navarro)
Team LOB - 7
Pittsburgh Pirates
Zach Duke (W,5-0) 7.11044261 1.54
Salomon Torres0100000 4.34
John Grabow (H,10) 0.2000020 3.41
Jose Mesa 1100010 3.67
IBB - Kent by Zach Duke
Pitches-Strikes - Zach Duke 111-80, Salomon Torres 2-2, John Grabow 9-8, Jose Mesa 14-10
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Zach Duke 6-10
Batters Faced - Zach Duke 34, Salomon Torres 1, John Grabow 2, Jose Mesa 4
Game Information
Attendance - 38579
Game Time - 2:55
Temperature - 80
Umpires - Home - Doug Eddings, First Base - Bruce Dreckman, Second Base - Bill Hohn, Third Base - Gerry Davis