Game 10: Pen Throws Gas on the Flames, Milledge Douses the Fire

Here was the plan tonight: Open gym at the newly reconstructed gym at my church (first time I’ve played ball in four years and it showed). Get home in time to watch the last 4 or so innings on Fox Sports Ohio. It all worked to perfection. And then the walks set in.

The Pirates bullpen imploded and blew a wonderful outing from Zach Duke. The Buccos starter went seven plus and allowed just one run. He was pulled after walking the lead off batter in the 8th with Pittsburgh up 3-0. Joel Hanrahan relieved and got two outs, but also walked another hitter. Lefty side armer Javy Lopez trotted in and walked the next two hitters, forcing in a run. Out goes Lopez and in comes Brendan Donnelley. One more walk made it 3-2 before Paul Janish fouled out to Bobby Crosby at third.

Into the 9th with Octavio Dotel. A lead off triple to Chris Dickerson produced the game tying run when Orlando Cabrera hit a sac fly to score. You could almost see Zach Duke in the dugout bidding a sad farewell to his W.

Nick Masset got two quick whiffs in the home half of the 9th befor Andrew McCutchen singled and stole second. Lastings Milledge drilled a single up the middle to score McCutchen with the game winning run.

Reds rookie starter Mike Leake gave up three runs in the first two innings – aided in part by his own error. But settled in after that to toss seven effective (but wild – 5 walks) innings. Dotel was the winner. Masset took the loss.

The Good
Zach Duke will never be a high strikeout pitcher. How long he can continue to be decent while not fooling anyone remains to be seen. 7+ on 90 pitches with three walks and two whiffs tonight. He gave up five singles and a double.

Eight of the Pirates nine hits were bunched up among the 9, 1 , 2 and 3 place hitters.

The Bad
The Reds scored twice in the 8th without the benefit of a hit. You are welcome.

The Rest
Bucs won despite not getting an XBH. Last time that happened was June 14, 2009 against Detroit.

The 2009 Pirates were also 5-5 after 10 contests.

Duke has allowed two runs or less in each of his 2010 starts. Last time he did that was 5/22/09 to 6/2/09.

Jay Bruce has to be better than this. He drove in his first run on the season with one of the bases loaded walks in the 8th inning. He is hitting .158. He is only 23. So, it’s not over for him if he fails this year. But, I don’t think he is going to wind up like Brandon Larson.

Do you think Reds starter Mike Leake knows that he should be in Houston helping coach the baseball team of his talented but somewhat troubled son?

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