Game 5: Duke and Long Balls Put Bucs on Top

Zach Duke is off to another fine start. He won’t blow anyone away. But hopefully he is learning how to pitch to the weaknesses of his hitters and keep them off balance. Whatever gets you through the night. Apologies to John Lennon.

Duke tossed seven strong innings. He allowed two runs, both of which came on a very long homer from Mark Reynolds in the 7th. The Pirates had staked him to a 6-0 lead as both Jeff Clement and Akinori Iwamura hit their first homers as Pirates.

The bullpen almost let it get away in the 8th. Jack Taschner relieved Duke and put the first two runners on. Brendan Donnelley was summoned. Another walk was followed by a sac fly from Tony Abreu (no relation of Bobby Abreu). Andrew McCutchen’s attempt at a double play on the ball from Abreu resulted in a wild throw for an error, allowing both runners to move up. Donnelley whiffed Justin Upton and Javier Lopez relieved to face Adam LaRoche, who also whiffed. Crisis abated.

Octavio Dotel enjoyed a perfect ninth for his first ever Pirate save. Dan Haren gave up five earned runs in 6-2/3 to get the loss.

The Good
Duke’s outing

The longballs

Andy LaRoche had his first multi-hit game of the year. Not panicing. At least not yet.

The Bad
Ryan Doumit is wearing the Golden Sombrero tonight.

The Rest
Duke won consecutive starts for the first time since last May. He has not won three straight starts since his first month in the Show – July 2005. Coincidentally, that was the last time I had hope.

Iwamura, who is sporting the #3 of one of my all-time favorite Buccos – Johnny Ray – equaled his 2009 home run output.

Clement last homered in the Majors on 7/13/08.

Reynolds came into the game with a career mark of .348 against the Pirates.

Haren was 3-0 in six career outings against the Pirates.

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