Thursday, June 28, 2007

Bucco comeback falls short

Zach Duke struggled through another start this afternoon - AP Photo/J. Pat Carter

Zach Duke was hit hard in the final game of the road trip, and the Pirates lost to the Marlins this afternoon, 9-7. Duke was immediately tagged for four runs in the first and ultimately pitched four innings, allowing six runs on 12 hits. Next came Tony Armas, who allowed another two runs in his two innings of work. Adam LaRoche homered in the fourth, but the Bucs still trailed 8-2 entering the seventh inning. This game was over. It was time for the Pirates to roll over and go down quickly and easily. Ronny Paulino led off the seventh with a double. He scored on Jose Castillo's double. Josh Phelps pinch hit and walked. One out later, Jose Bautista singled in Castillo. Freddy Sanchez doubled in Rajai Davis. Bautista scored on Jason Bay's groundout. Xavier Nady singled, plating Sanchez. LaRoche doubled. Finally, Paulino flew out to end the inning. One inning, five runs, and suddenly the Pirates trailed just 8-7. The Bucs were on the verge of a huge come-from-behind victory, one that would complete a sweep and give the team some momentum as they returned home for a ten-game homestand.

But it was not to be. With two on and one out in the eighth, Bautista hit into a double play. A Duffy misplay in the bottom of the inning led to an insurance run, and Kevin Gregg closed things down in the ninth. The Pirates failed to finish the sweep, and Zach Duke pitched poorly yet again. The Bucs' record on the road trip was 3-6. They return home tomorrow to face the Nationals.

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