Pitching woes continue as Duke gives up 5 runs; Dumatrait returns to DL

Cardinals 6, Pirates 0

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The revolving door that is the Pirates roster spun again last night and will continue to rotate today. After a 6-0 loss to Kyle Lohse and St. Louis, the Pirates announced that left-hander Phil Dumatrait is back on the disabled list and won't start tonight.

Instead, right-hander Yoslan Herrera will make his major league debut against the Cardinals. The Pirates last night also optioned right-hander Luis Munoz back to Class AA Altoona. Munoz, who spent two games in the Pirates bullpen, will start for the Curve tonight.

In addition, the Pirates today will welcome back right-handed reliever Franquelis Osoria (bursitis in his right ankle) from his rehabilitation assignment with Class AAA Indianapolis.

Seems as if recently with the Pirates, if it's not one thing, it's another. And another. And another.

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  • Today
    • Game: St. Louis Cardinals vs. Pirates, 7:05 p.m., PNC Park.
    • TV, Radio: FSN Pittsburgh, WPGB-FM (104.7).
    • Pitching: RHP Todd Wellemeyer (7-4, 3.94) vs. RHP Yoslan Herrera (major league debut).
    • Key matchup: Nate McLouth (2 for 11), Freddy Sanchez (2 for 14), Jason Bay (2 for 13) and Adam LaRoche (2 for 15) are a combined 8 for 53 (.151) against Wellemeyer.
    • Of note: Wellemeyer, showing some promise as a starter after bouncing around as a reliever, has pitched only 181/3 innings in his past four starts, allowing 33 hits and 17 earned runs.

Herrera, 27, defected from Cuba three years ago and signed with the Pirates Dec. 18, 2006. He's 5-8 with a 3.11 earned run average in 17 starts for Altoona. He also won a spot start for Indianapolis June 27, allowing Columbus two runs in seven innings.

"He's a strike thrower with a three-pitch mix," said general manager Neal Huntington, who watched Herrera pitch in Altoona last week. "He's not afraid. Hopefully he'll come up and attack the [strike] zone."

Dumatrait was on the disabled list because of bursitis in his left shoulder. He was activated and started against Houston last Monday night but lasted only 31/3 innings. He began feeling discomfort in his left side Wednesday and will return to the DL.

"It's not nearly what it was," Huntington said. "We just opted to take the ultra-conservative approach."

This most recent round of roster moves occurred after Lohse silenced the Pirates for seven innings, pitching yet another gem in front of a sellout Fireworks Night crowd of 37,113. The right-hander, who hasn't lost since May 9, is 8-0 with a 2.18 ERA in his past 10 starts.

"Lohse has been pretty much locked in," Pirates starter Zach Duke said.

Duke allowed 10 hits and five runs in six innings. That performance did permit the Pirates to give more rest to their bullpen, which was sapped by four consecutive short starts from Sunday through Wednesday. In those four starts, the starters contributed a total of only 14 innings.

"Those four starts really hurt," manager John Russell said. "It took its toll."

The Cardinals, who would love to add a bat to their lineup before the July 31 non-waiver trading deadline, entered last night's game having scored only 25 runs in their first nine games in July. And in half of their previous 26 games, they'd scored two runs or less.

Thus, their four-run third inning ranked as quite the outburst just when it seemed Duke was in control. He had relatively pain-free first and second innings, easily recorded the first two outs of the third and had two strikes on Albert Pujols.

"Then I threw a pitch right down the middle to one of the best hitters in the game," Duke said. "You can't do that."

Pujols, 10 for 22 lifetime against Duke, lined a single into center field. Troy Glaus singled to center, sending Pujols to third base. Yadier Molina lined Duke's next pitch into the left field corner for a two-run double.

On the throw to the plate, Molina raced toward third base, and the Pirates had a good play on him for the third out. However, catcher Ryan Doumit dropped the ball as he went to throw, and Molina reached third without a throw. That proved costly.

Rick Ankiel drove a hanging, breaking ball into the right-center field seats. His 20th home run boosted the St. Louis lead to 4-0. Duke found trouble again with two outs in the fourth when Ryan Ludwick hit a home run into the left-field seats.

The Pirates threatened that 5-0 lead in their half of the fourth. One-out singles by Xavier Nady, Adam LaRoche and Jose Bautista loaded the bases. Duke, who'd yielded eight hits to that point, batted for himself, another indication Russell dearly wanted to rest his bullpen. Lohse stuffed the threat by striking out Duke and retiring Jack Wilson on a well-struck ball to center field on a 3-2 pitch.

The Cardinals added a sixth run against Denny Bautista in the seventh inning. Pujols drew a leadoff walk. Glaus singled him to second. Bautista did get Molina to ground into a double play, but Ankiel's single made it 6-0.


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