Told ya the Pirates had 'em right where they wanted them. After losing to a guy with a 5.89 ERA and looking bad doing it, the Bucs put together a winning effort against top gun Roy Halladay and took a 2-1 victory against the Phillie's ace.
Zach Duke wormed out of trouble and the back end of the pen was lights out tonight.
Duke's sinker dove again, and he held the baddest bats in the NL to six hits over six innings, walking a pair and whiffing five while getting out of fifth and sixth inning jams (were you watching, Charlie Morton?). He got the win, his third, and his first since April 10th.
The three amigos, Joel Hanrahan, Evan Meek, and Octavio Dotel, allowed one runner - and that on a walk - in the final three frames to ice the win.
Halladay pitched a complete game, but was fortunate to escape giving up just two runs during his 132 pitch outing, the highest pitch count in the majors so far this year.
The Pirates banged out nine hits against him, drew a walk, and were gifted with three Phillie boots, but hit into two DPs, stranded eight and went just 2-for-12 with runners in scoring position.
But those two clutch knocks were enough. Ryan Doumit and Andy LaRoche hit back-to-back doubles in the second with two away, and Lastings Milledge help manufacture the game winner in the sixth after Philly had tied the game and saw the go-ahead run thrown out at home by Andrew McCutchen.
He beat out an infield dribbler, went to second on a hit-and-run ground out by McCutch, and came crashing home on a hard slide to tally on Garrett Jones line drive single into center.
Jones had three hits against Halladay, and Doumit added another pair.
The Pirates are coming home for five games, two against the Brew Crew and three against Atlanta. Brian Burres faces Randy Wolf in the opener.
-- The win broke a streak of 28 road trips for Pittsburgh without a winning record, dating back to 2007 when Russell was still managing in the Phillies' farm system.
-- The last time Halladay and Duke went mano-a-mano was in 2008. The Pirates won that game 1-0.
-- McCutchen's assist was the Pirate outfield's 13th, tops in the majors. They led the league last year, too, with 45 throw-outs.
-- Brendan Donnelly is due back from his oblique injury before the weekend. Brian Burres and Jeff Karstens are the likeliest to go to clear a spot for Donnelly, so Burres has a lot riding on his start against Milwaukee at PNC Wednesday.
And if he gets through this cut, Burres still has Brad Lincoln to worry about in June. Hey, some competition among Pirate pitching? There's a concept for you. For awhile, it looked like no one wanted a job.
-- The Pirates announced the signing of six teen Latino players, four pitchers (two are 6'-7") an outfielder, and a first baseman. They'll all start out in either the Dominican or Venezuelan Summer League.
The most highly touted is 17 year-old Venezuelan outfielder Willy Garcia, who received a $280K bonus. Rene Gayo thinks he has a chance to become a five-tool player.