|Pittsburgh (18-20) «||0||0||0||0||3||0||0||2||x||5||5||4|
Sanchez's three-run double in the fifth inning put Pittsburgh ahead, leading Duke and the streaking Pirates past the Atlanta Braves 5-0 Monday in the first game of a doubleheader.
Duke (2-2) shook off five walks and three errors behind him to limit Atlanta to five hits over six innings, and the Pirates won their sixth in a row -- their longest winning streak since taking 10 consecutive games from June 25-July 5, 2004.
The Braves lost their seventh in a row on the road. They have the majors' best home record (14-4) and worst road mark (4-14).
Atlanta has lost three in a row in Pittsburgh after sweeping a six-game homestand against the Reds and Padres.
"I have no clue while we struggle on the road," Braves rookie starter Jair Jurrjens said. "It's a crazy thing a team goes through during a season and I hope we snap out of it quick, because we need to win some games on the road. Something on the road just doesn't click with us right now."
What is clicking for the Pirates is their starting pitching, which is 4-0 with a 2.29 ERA during the winning streak. Duke was constantly in trouble, with at least two runners reaching in all but one inning, but he induced key outs when he needed them while stranding 10 runners.
"The big key was most of the runners came when we had two outs already, so you can focus on getting that one out. It made it a little easier," Duke said.
"Zach's keeping the ball down, using his sinker and he's getting a lot more ground balls," manager John Russell said. "He's going to give up some hits, but he attacks the zone down with his sinker, mixes in some off-speed pitches, and makes them hit it on the ground."
Duke hadn't won since June 12, a span of 12 outings over two seasons, until beating the Giants 12-6 by yielding three runs over 7 1/3 innings on Tuesday. The left-hander hadn't won successive starts since beating the Brewers and Mets, respectively, on Sept. 11 and 17, 2006, but has allowed three runs or fewer in six of eight starts this season.
After Duke struck out, Sanchez -- 10-for-24 (.417) with eight RBI as a leadoff batter since moving up one spot in the order last week -- cleared the bases with a double to right-center.
"I don't think it makes any difference where he hits," Duke said. "He's steady Freddy, that's what he does."
Jurrjens said, "The pitch, I thought, was a good pitch, a two-seam fastball outside, but he's a good hitter and he hit it for a double. It cost us the game."
|Zach Duke yields five hits and five walks, while striking out three over six scoreless innings. (US Presswire)|
|Players of the Game|
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|Omar Infante, 2B||5||0||0||0||0||1||3||.333|
|Manny Acosta, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|Yunel Escobar, SS||5||0||1||0||0||1||0||.313|
|Chipper Jones, 3B||4||0||3||0||1||1||0||.410|
|Mark Teixeira, 1B||2||0||0||0||0||0||2||.261|
|Greg Norton, 1B||2||0||0||0||1||0||1||.409|
|Jeff Francoeur, RF||5||0||2||0||0||1||4||.262|
|Matt Diaz, LF||5||0||0||0||0||1||4||.269|
|Corky Miller, C||3||0||0||0||1||1||0||.067|
|Gregor Blanco, CF||2||0||2||0||2||0||0||.333|
|Jair Jurrjens, P||2||0||0||0||0||1||4||.133|
|a- Ruben Gotay, PH||0||0||0||0||1||0||0||.250|
|Jeff Bennett, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|b- Kelly Johnson, PH-2B||1||0||0||0||0||0||1||.254|
|a-walked for Jurrjens in the 6th|
|b-hit into fielder's choice for J. Bennett in the 8th|
|2B - Chipper Jones (8, Duke)|
|Team LOB - 15|
|DP - Infante-Escobar-Teixeira, Infante-Escobar-Teixeira|
|PB - Corky Miller (3)|
|Jair Jurrjens (L,4-3)||5||3||3||3||3||5||0||3.10|
|HBP - Bixler (by Jair Jurrjens), Michaels (by Jeff Bennett)|
|Pitches-Strikes - Jair Jurrjens 69-38, Jeff Bennett 44-25, Manny Acosta 16-11|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Jair Jurrjens 5-3, Jeff Bennett 4-1, Manny Acosta 1-1|
|Batters Faced - Jair Jurrjens 20, Jeff Bennett 10, Manny Acosta 5|
|Freddy Sanchez, 2B||3||0||1||3||1||0||0||.255|
|Nate McLouth, CF||3||0||0||0||1||1||2||.308|
|Jason Bay, LF||4||0||0||0||0||2||1||.277|
|Ryan Doumit, C||3||1||2||0||1||0||0||.350|
|Jason Michaels, RF||2||1||0||0||1||0||2||.231|
|Adam LaRoche, 1B||3||2||2||2||1||0||2||.212|
|Jose Bautista, 3B||1||0||0||0||1||1||1||.225|
|Damaso Marte, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|a- Doug Mientkiewicz, PH||1||0||0||0||0||1||0||.200|
|Sean Burnett, P||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||.000|
|Brian Bixler, SS||3||1||0||0||0||0||3||.180|
|Zach Duke, P||2||0||0||0||0||2||3||.118|
|Chris Gomez, 3B||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||.271|
|a-struck out for Marte in the 8th|
|2B - Freddy Sanchez (9, Jurrjens), Ryan Doumit (8, Acosta)|
|HR - Adam LaRoche (4, Acosta)|
|SH - Jose Bautista (4)|
|RBI - Freddy Sanchez 3 (19), Adam LaRoche 2 (13)|
|2-OUT RBI - Freddy Sanchez 3 (11)|
|Team LOB - 6|
|DP - LaRoche|
|E - Jose Bautista (6, Misplayed grounder), Chris Gomez (3, Misplayed grounder), Jason Michaels (2, Misplayed grounder), Freddy Sanchez (6, Throwing)|
|Zach Duke (W,2-2)||6||5||0||0||5||3||0||4.04|
|Damaso Marte (H,6)||2||2||0||0||0||3||0||4.82|
|Pitches-Strikes - Zach Duke 102-54, Damaso Marte 33-25, Sean Burnett 23-13|
|Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Zach Duke 9-6, Damaso Marte 3-1, Sean Burnett 1-1|
|Batters Faced - Zach Duke 28, Damaso Marte 9, Sean Burnett 5|
|Attendance - 0|
|Game Time - 2:34|
|Temperature - 47|
|Umpires - Home - Mike Estabrook, First Base - Kevin Causey, Second Base - Greg Gibson, Third Base - Charlie Reliford|