Hey, another great start. Leadoff hitter Jose Reyes bunted for a base hit when Dewey threw the ball away, and ended up on second. A stolen base and sac fly later, and it was 1-0 Mets. The first play of the game, the first error of the game.
Johann Santana didn't have that worry - he struck out the side in the first, on ten pitches. All he needed in the field was a catcher.
Duke got through the second, giving up a single to Santana and escaping by getting a call at first base from ump Adrian Johnson on a nice barehanded play by Ronny Cedeno against burner Reyes. Santana tossed another 1-2-3 inning.
Duke answered in kind. The Pirates put together another two-men-on-one-base episode again. Cedeno walked, and Duke popped up a bunt. Ike Davis, the first baseman, let it bounce instead of catching it, hoping for a DP.
But RC never left first, assuming it was a pop out, which ruined Davis' plot. So he just strolled over to the sack and tagged them both; Cedeno got a seat and the Zachster the base.
The game evolved into a pitching duel. The Bucs got their first hit in the fifth, when Pedro singled; he would be quickly erased on a Dewey 6-4-3 DP. But the inning wasn't totally wasted. Lastings Milledge, who was sat down for Doumit last night, cranked his fourth homer of the season over the center field wall into the bullpen when he caught a hanging change.
After five, Duke had given up a run on four hits with a walk and five K's; Santana a run on two hits, with a walk and 6 whiffs. But that Bucco pitching bugaboo, the sixth inning, had arrived.
And the Zachster survived. He gave up a one out walk, just missing on a 3-2 pitch, and two out ground ball single, but kept the Metropolitans off the board. Jose Tabata rewarded him by hitting his third long fly into the left field seats on a two-out, hanging change, much like Milledge, to give the Bucs a 2-1 lead.
Duke left after seven. His line was one run on five hits, two walks and five K's after 96 pitches, one of his strongest outings of the year. Evan Meek came on in the eighth, and kept the Mets at bay, yielding only a one-out walk to Carlos Beltran.
Santana stayed on the hill, and polished off the Bucs. Joel Hanrahan came on to finish, and promptly gave up a lead off single. But that was it; he earned his second save and the Bucs broke an ugly stretch of losses with a 2-1 victory.
It wasn't pretty; the Pirates only had four hits and handed the Mets their only run. But finally the starter and pen meshed, and the Jolly Roger was unfurled once again.
Ross Ohlendorf will start the Card series tomorrow night against Kyle Lohse.
-- We were going to run a series on the Big Three arms the Pirates just signed. But after doing pieces on Jameson Taillon and Stetson Allie, Dejan Kovacevic of the Post Gazette beat us to the punch with his story on Luis Heredia. It's a good one; give it a read.
-- Catcher Jason Jaramillo and reliever Sean Gallagher are planning to play winter ball this year. There aren't many guys on the 25-man this season that need the extra work (at least inning-wise); maybe DY, Jeff Clement, Argenis Diaz, and a couple of relievers, so most of the players that trouper on will be from the minor league system.
-- Going into today's game, the Pirates had lost five in a row, 12 of the last 13, and were 6-23 in their last 29 games. The Pirates are on pace to finish 53-109, the worst record since 1952 when the Buccos finished 42-112.
-- Sweet Lou Pinella is calling it quits after today's game. He was going to leave at the end of the season, but his mom is in poor health, and he decided family first. Third base coach Mike Quade will be his replacement for the rest of the season.