Game: Pirates vs. Milwaukee Brewers, 7:05 p.m., Miller Park.
Radio: WPGB-FM (104.7).
Pitching: LHP Tom Gorzelanny (6-7, 6.57) vs. RHP Jeff Suppan (8-7, 4.62).
Key matchup: Suppan vs. Nate McLouth and Adam LaRoche. McLouth is 6 for 12 lifetime against Suppan with three doubles, two home runs and six RBIs; LaRoche is 6 for 15 with a home run.
Of note: This will be Suppan's first start at Miller Park in a month. In four August road he is 3-0 with a 2.89 earned run average.
Pitching coach Jeff Andrews has worked diligently with Duke to try to get those numbers out of the "My-gosh!" realm.
"The whole thing is just to try to get the ball a little tighter at the plate," Andrews said.
That way, Duke's pitches would have more life. His breaking ball would be sharper. His sinker would sink.
"The path to all his pitches is good, but there's just not that explosion that he should have," Andrews said. "That stems back to some rigidity in his delivery. We're trying to get him looser. He tries so hard [that] he has a tendency to over-do everything."
For the first three innings last night, Duke looked like a different pitcher. For one thing, he used a glove-over-the-head windup.
"I'm trying pretty much anything," he said.
Furthermore, he yielded just two hits and no runs, threw only 41 pitches and had a 2-0 lead which he helped produce.
"I had better rhythm," Duke said. "I threw more quality pitches."
His game unraveled in a 32-pitch fourth.
Andy LaRoche made a fine backhand play on Ryan Braun's hard ground ball near the foul line, but the third baseman's throw sailed past first base. With that hit-and-error, the Brewers had their leadoff man on second.
Duke, who had gone 63 consecutive batters without issuing a walk, promptly walked Prince Fielder on four pitches.
Corey Hart drove a pitch off the wall in right-center field -- just out of Nyjer Morgan's reach -- that went for a two-run double. When Jason Michaels muffed the ball twice while trying to pick it up, Hart continued to third.
Duke walked Mike Cameron on a 3-2 pitch. Bill Hall's fly ball to the track in right field put the Brewers ahead, 3-2.
Duke, with Denny Bautista warming in the bullpen, still had some work to do to quiet the inning. Jason Kendall's infield hit moved Cameron to third. Dave Bush sacrificed Kendall to second. Finally, Duke ended the inning by striking out Rickie Weeks on a 3-2 fastball.
Milwaukee inched its lead to 4-2 in the fifth on a leadoff home run by J.J. Hardy, who is 10 for 17 lifetime with four home runs against Duke.
The Pirates built the 2-0 lead for Duke with a run in the first and another in the second.
Morgan began the game with a line drive single into right. Morgan stole second on the first pitch to Freddy Sanchez, who then moved Morgan to third with a bouncer to the right side. Morgan scored on Doumit's bouncer to second.
With two outs in the second, Jack Wilson drove a ball into center. Cameron seemed to make a bad read, and the ball went past him for a double. Wilson scored when Duke dropped an 0-2 pitch into center for a single and his first RBI of the season.
Brandon Moss brought the Pirates within 4-3 in the seventh with a home run deep into the right-center field seats. The Brewers more than offset that with a six-run rally in their half of the seventh.
After the game, the Pirates optioned reliever Romulo Sanchez to Indianapolis. More roster moves will be made today.