The Bucs' Garrett Jones hit a two out homer in the first inning. Brandon Moss did the same in the ninth. In between, Pittsburgh did a whole lot of nothing, and went down to the red hot Phils 3-2.
Zach Duke pitched his third complete game of the year - and lost for the second time while going the distance. The Zachster worked eight frames, gave up five hits, walked three, and struck out six. He got 16 of the last 17 Philly hitters out.
But in the third inning, his teammates made a couple of bobbles, and that was all that Philadelphia needed. And all with two outs, yet.
Shane Victorino singled to left, and Chase Utley followed with a single into center. The ball rolled barely behind Andrew McCutchen. He recovered quickly, got the horsehide to Freddy Sanchez, and the throw home beat the oncoming Victorino.
But it was just a yard up the third base line, far enough that Ryan Doumit couldn't reach back to tag The Flyin' Hawaiian. Duke walked Ryan Howard, and Jason Werth banged one off the wall in left center. Howard scored when Jones dropped the ball trying to make the relay.
The Buc bats were AWOL again. Joe Blanton entered the game with a 4.69 ERA, and held the Pirates to a run on four hits in 7-1/3 innings. Brad Lidge (7.03 ERA), who the Bucs usually feast on, gave up a run and tried to hand Pittsburgh the game, but they refused to take it.
After Moss' blast, Jack Wilson blooped a single into left. Delwyn Young was up 3-0, took a pair of strikes on the corner, and finally swung at a slider that Lidge buried in the dirt.
That's the Pirate story; take strikes and flail at shoe-top sliders, hit a blast and a bloop when a bloop and a blast is what's needed, miss a catch or throw when it counts, or walk a guy with two outs. Play just good enough to lose.
Ah well, Philly has now won seven out of eight; the Pirates have taken three of the last dozen. Guess which one is in first place and which one is in last.