I never would’ve thought to describe Zach Duke as a stopper. But he came through in a huge way to end the Pirates recent skid that delivered them from above .500 to the cellar.
Duke allowed just one run on four hits over 8 innings. It looked ugly early on. He allowed a two out homer to Albert Pujols (who else) in the first. Ryan Ludwick followed with a single. In the second, the Cards put two more runners on, but didn’t score. After that, Duke settled in.
The offense showed up early. Duke got it going with an RBI single in the second off of Todd Wellemeyer. Nyjer Morgan capped the scoring in that frame with a two RBI triple. All four runs scored with two out. In the fifth, the Pirates extended the lead with some much needed long ball. Adam LaRoche hit a solo homer and Brandon Moss connected for the first time this year with a two run dinger to push the lead to 7-1.
Snapping the streak.
This was Brandon Moss’ third career three hit game. His second of 2009 with the first also coming in a game in which Duke beat Wellemeyer
Seven runs scored in support of Duke
Bucs defense got three “Web Gem” nominees on Baseball Tonight, including a sliding catch from Moss in the 8th.
Matt Capps loaded the bases in the 9th with two walks and a single.
Duke hit two batters for the third time in his career. Last time was 4/20/08 against the Wriglies. Brad Thompson hit Andy LaRoche after Duke plunked Yadier Molina and Cody Rasmus. The Bucs and Cards had some back-and-forth with HBPs earlier in the year. So, the rest of the series should be interesting.
Moss’ last homer was 9/2/08.
Pujols’ career BA at PNC (.386) is – tops amongst his NL Central foes. Too bad for us.