The pitching, which had been so sharp, went astray. Zach Duke was all over the place, giving up five runs on six hits with five walks and two Ks. it took him five innings and 86 pitches to get there, and the Buc bullpen wasn't much sharper.
The Bucs pulled within a run at 5-4 in the top of the sixth on Delwyn Young's three-run dinger, but Chris Bootcheck gave back two of them in the Reds' half of the frame, and that pretty much set the stage for the fat lady.
The Pirates had six hits all night; Young had three of them.
Tomorrow is the last hurrah; Jeff Karstens and a cast of thousands will line up to pitch the finale. Then comes the hard part, separating the wheat from the chaff.
-- Ryan Doumit may be done for the year. He took a shot off the mask Friday night, and has shown some slight concussion-like symptoms. GW would like to see the Bucs take a little better care of him next year and limit his appearances to maybe 125-130 games behind the plate. Doumit is an accident waiting to happen.
-- Rob Biertempfel of the Tribune Review reports that Brandon Moss is at a crossroads in his career.
"It appears that Brandon Moss will head into next year as the incumbent right fielder. But during Moss’ exit meeting with manager John Russell and GM Neal Huntington, it was made clear that he still has a lot of work to do to establish job security.-- The Pirates are supposedly still in discussions with Perry Hill. If they sweet talk him into returning, all they'll be looking for coaching-wise in the off season will be Joe Kerrigan's new Boy Robin.
'He realizes the opportunity he got this year, and also realizes he really didn’t take advantage of it,' manager John Russell said.
With Jose Tabata and Gorkys Hernandez on their ways up and Andrew McCutchen and Lastings Milledge playing well, there might not be room for Moss in the Pirates’ outfield. His future probably includes a pinch-hitter role."
-- Let's see. Jose Ascanio just had labrum surgery, making his future a coin-toss. Kevin Hart was 1-8 with a 6.92 ERA in the Steel City. Utility man Josh Harrison is in Class A.
John Grabow had a 3.24 ERA in 30 outings with the Cubs. Tom Gorzelanny was 4-2 with a 5.63 ERA as a Windy City starter.
We're not sure that we'd have pulled the trigger on that deal, although as always, we'll hedge our bet by saying we'll find out in 2011. But those early returns...