Pirates Notebook: PNC Park is no-clinching zone

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No opponent -- and surely not the home team -- has had cause to celebrate at PNC Park since its opening in 2001.

The first close call came three years ago, when the New York Mets needed one victory to clinch the East Division title, but the Pirates swept them in three games.

Then, Los Angeles had two chances, Sunday and yesterday, and now must try in San Diego.

"It's baseball, baby," second baseman Orlando Hudson said. "They just weren't going to roll over and let us celebrate on their field."

In a broader scope, the Dodgers looked mostly lousy in losing three of four here, impatient at the plate, reckless on the basepaths and sloppy in the field.

As manager Joe Torre put it, "We'd give the Bad News Bears a run for their money."

To be sure, no one was asking Torre about whether he considered facing the Pirates a "practice series," as happened after Los Angeles swept them earlier in the month. It was the Dodgers who looked like they could use some extra practice.

"It's always dangerous when you play those teams," Torre said. "I hate to say you should beat somebody, but the record tells you should beat them. These are the types of teams you're not comfortable playing."

Revenge for Andy?

Pirates third baseman Andy LaRoche laughed when asked if it was more satisfying to have a big day against Los Angeles, the team that dealt him as part of the Jason Bay trade.

"I didn't care if it was the Dodgers or the Padres," LaRoche said. "I don't feel like they got rid of me. They traded me for Manny Ramirez."

Buried treasure

• Shortstop Ronny Cedeno, out a week with two strained hamstrings, sounded uncertain about when he will return. He still is not running much.

Zach Duke's 11th victory marked a career high.

• Game 2 of the day-night doubleheader tomorrow will be the Pirates' last televised game.

Kevin Hart, the starter tonight, also lines up to pitch the season finale Sunday in Cincinnati.

• Players were packing up the home clubhouse for good, with many going straight to their winter homes from Cincinnati rather than back to Pittsburgh.

Catch more on the Pirates at the PG's PBC Blog . Dejan Kovacevic can be reached at dkovacevic@post-gazette.com .


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