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Pittsburgh at New York

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Pittsburgh «0103000105111
N.Y. Mets000000000030

Pirates rookie Duke mystifies Mets to win sixth straight

CBS SportsLine.com wire reports
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NEW YORK -- Twice Thursday night, Pittsburgh Pirates rookie left-hander Zach Duke faced showdown situations against New York Mets slugger Cliff Floyd with runners on base. Each time, Duke reared back and threw third-strike curveballs that measured all of 75 mph.

Those confrontations highlighted Duke's seven innings of two-hit ball as he won his sixth straight decision, beating the Mets 5-0.

Why the curves instead of going right after Floyd?

"He's really a fastball hitter," Duke said, showing he had done his homework.

Floyd was suitably frustrated.

"You can't miss those, especially with someone who has good stuff," the Mets' cleanup hitter said. "It's such a good one. He threw it away and he threw it on the black."

The Mets didn't have many other chances against Duke, who retired the first 11 batters, did not give up a hit until Chris Woodward's double in the fifth and allowed four baserunners. He threw 103 pitches, 69 for strikes.

It was a continuation of an impressive success story for the 22-year-old, who was promoted from Triple-A Indianapolis on July 1 and has been Pittsburgh's best pitcher for two months. He made it look easy.

"It's hardly easy, that's for sure," Duke said. "It's come very quickly for me and that's a little bit of a surprise."

Duke doesn't overpower hitters, something Floyd learned. Instead, he changes speeds, mixes his pitches and keeps hitters off balance.

His six straight wins is the longest streak by a Pirates rookie since Don Robinson won seven straight decisions in 1978.

"He did a nice job," Pirates manager Lloyd McLendon said. "He had the sinker and changeup working. His breaking ball was sharp. He continues to show the ability to throw quality pitches when he has to."

Duke (6-0) struck out five and walked one.

New York's first baserunner came with two outs in the fourth, when right fielder Nate McLouth dropped Carlos Beltran's routine fly ball. The mistake hardly disturbed Duke, who struck out Floyd, ending the inning.

By then, the Pirates had a 4-0 lead on two RBI doubles by Jose Castillo and a two-run homer by Brad Eldred against Victor Zambrano (6-10).

Beltran singled in the seventh for the Mets' other hit off Duke. Duke then struck out Floyd with another 75 mph curve. David Wright walked but Woodward hit into an inning-ending double play.

That finished Duke's night, which included his first major-league hit, a seventh-inning single.

"I felt great," he said. "I controlled the fastball very well. I threw the changeup for strikes when I needed to."

After he was called up, Duke won three games and posted an 0.87 ERA in his first month in the majors and was named NL rookie pitcher of the month for July. Thursday night's win was his third in August and followed his first poor start, when he lasted just four innings and allowed four runs and eight hits at Houston.

Ryan Doumit singled with two outs in the second and scored on Castillo's double.

In the fourth, Zambrano hit Jason Bay with a pitch and Eldred followed with his fourth homer of the season, sending an 0-2 pitch an estimated 400 feet into the left-field picnic area.

Doumit then doubled, took third on a wild pitch and scored on Castillo's second double. He was thrown out at third trying to stretch both doubles into triples.

In the eighth, Pittsburgh bunched singles by Bay, Rob Mackowiak and Doumit for another run.

Notes

  • Chris Duffy was thrown out stealing in the first inning, ending a streak of 10 straight successful steals for the Pirates.
  • Zambrano had allowed three earned runs or fewer in 18 of his 22 starts.
  • Each of Duke's victories have followed Pirates losses, two ending five-game losing streaks.
  • Bay was hit by a pitch from Zambrano twice.
  • Rick White relieved for Pittsburgh, appearing in his 500th major-league game.
 
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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Pittsburgh's Zach Duke allows just two hits and a walk in seven shutout innings vs. the Mets.  (AP)
Pittsburgh's Zach Duke allows just two hits and a walk in seven shutout innings vs. the Mets. (AP)

Players of the Game
Pittsburgh

Z. Duke
IP 7.0
H 2
ER 0
BB 1
K 5
Pittsburgh

R. Doumit
AB 4
R 2
H 3
HR 0
RBI 1
 
Pittsburgh Pirates
Chris Duffy, CF4000112 .357
Nate McLouth, RF4000000 .143
Jason Bay, LF2210000 .305
Brad Eldred, 1B4112012 .268
Rob Mackowiak, 3B4020010 .274
Ryan Doumit, C4231002 .258
Jose Castillo, 2B4022002 .269
Jack Wilson, SS4000000 .233
Zach Duke, P3010000 .050
    Rick White, P0000000 .000
   a- Daryle Ward, PH1010000 .272
    Tike Redman, PR0000000 .260
    Jose Mesa, P0000000 .000
Totals345115138 
a-singled for White in the 9th
Batting
2B - Ryan Doumit (8, Zambrano), Jose Castillo 2 (15, Zambrano, Zambrano)
HR - Brad Eldred (4, Zambrano)
RBI - Brad Eldred 2 (14), Ryan Doumit (24), Jose Castillo 2 (51)
2-OUT RBI - Ryan Doumit (12), Jose Castillo 2 (14)
CS - Chris Duffy (2, 2nd base by Zambrano/Castro)
Team LOB - 5
Fielding
DP - J. Wilson-Castillo-Eldred
E - Nate McLouth (1, Dropped fly)
Pittsburgh Pirates
Zach Duke (W,6-0) 7200150 1.87
Rick White 1000000 3.64
Jose Mesa 1100000 3.43
Pitches-Strikes - Zach Duke 103-69, Rick White 11-7, Jose Mesa 10-7
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Zach Duke 10-6, Rick White 2-1, Jose Mesa 1-2
Batters Faced - Zach Duke 24, Rick White 3, Jose Mesa 4
New York Mets
Jose Reyes, SS4000000 .268
Miguel Cairo, 1B4000000 .274
Carlos Beltran, CF4020000 .271
Cliff Floyd, LF4000023 .290
David Wright, 3B2000100 .302
Chris Woodward, RF3010011 .287
Ramon Castro, C3000011 .248
Kaz Matsui, 2B3000001 .227
Victor Zambrano, P1000010 .119
   a- Gerald Williams, PH1000000 .273
    Juan Padilla, P0000000 .000
   b- Jose Offerman, PH1000000 .228
    Danny Graves, P0000000 .000
Totals30030156 
a-grounded out for Zambrano in the 6th
b-grounded out for Padilla in the 8th
Batting
2B - Chris Woodward (10, Duke)
SB - Carlos Beltran (12, 3rd base off Duke/Doumit)
Team LOB - 4
Fielding
Outfield Assists - Carlos Beltran 1, Chris Woodward 1
DP - Matsui-Reyes-Cairo
New York Mets
Victor Zambrano (L,6-10) 6644131 4.24
Juan Padilla 2411000 2.30
Danny Graves 1100000 6.82
HBP - Bay (by Victor Zambrano), Bay (by Victor Zambrano)
WP - Victor Zambrano (6)
Pitches-Strikes - Victor Zambrano 95-59, Juan Padilla 39-25, Danny Graves 9-6
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Victor Zambrano 7-5, Danny Graves 2-0
Batters Faced - Victor Zambrano 24, Juan Padilla 10, Danny Graves 3
Game Information
Attendance - 35653
Game Time - 2:21
Temperature - 77
Umpires - Home - Angel A. Hernandez, First Base - Chad Fairchild, Second Base - Tom Hallion, Third Base - Greg Gibson