Pirates rout Diamondbacks, 10-3
Pirates pitcher Zach Duke delivers a pitch against the Diamondbacks during the first inning of last night's game in Phoenix.
Pirates outfielder Brandon Moss scores on an RBI double by third baseman Andy LaRoche as Diamondbacks catcher Miguel Montero waits for the throw during the fourth inning.
Pirates outfielder Garrett Jones rounds third after hitting a two-run home run as Diamondbacks third baseman Mark Reynolds looks away during the fifth inning.
Diamondbacks pitcher Yusmeiro Petit delivers a pitch against the Pirates during the first inning.
Diamondbacks infielder Ryan Roberts, right, is congratulated by third base coach Chip Hale after hitting a solo home run during the third inning.
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PHOENIX -- That Chase Field scoreboard had to make Zach Duke blink from the mound.
Ten Pirates runs?
In one game?
One of his games?
Why, in his nine losses this season, they had mustered just as many runs of support for him: nine.
In his 0-5 losing streak in road games since last winning one April 25 in San Diego, they had mustered just seven runs.
In his 0-4 losing streak in his previous four starts, falling to the Cubs, Marlins, Phillies (in a complete game) and Giants in a row, they had mustered just six runs.
They scored a half-dozen runs in support of him last night, and all those eyesore Duke streaks stopped as the Pirates -- who tacked on four extra runs after his exit -- razed Arizona by 10-3 before 24,911 underneath the Valley of the Sun's signature retractable roof.
Those six they put up for Duke marked an exceedingly important number: This triumph improved the Pirates' record to 30-4 when they score that amount of runs, six-plus. Another significant six: The Pirates went 6 for 10 with runners in scoring position.
"Been a long time, I know that," Duke said of that last one he won on the road, a 10-1 triumph that nearly surpassed the offense behind him for the ensuing seven road starts: 14 runs. "Take all the runs I can get. It's nice to know you don't have to go out there and feel like you have to be perfect."
• Game: Arizona Diamondbacks, 8:10 p.m., Chase Field.
• TV, radio: FSN Pittsburgh, WPGB-FM (104.7).
• Pitching: RHP Ross Ohlendorf (8-7, 4.59) vs. LHP Doug Davis (4-10, 3.95).
• Key matchup: Freddy Sanchez has tormented Davis with a .500 career average -- 17 for 34 -- but only one of those hits, a home run, went for extra bases.
• Of note: Garrett Jones' 10 home runs are most in Major League Baseball for July. No member of the Pirates has led the majors in home runs any month since Willie Stargell's 11 in April 1971.
He wasn't exactly that.
"Wasn't his strongest outing," manager John Russell said. "But to score some runs for him and get him some breathing room really helped."
Duke (9-9), who had lost his past five decisions to go with a pair of no-decisions in seven prior road starts, gave up 10 hits but only three runs in his 6 1/3 innings. One night after the Pirates' bullpen self-immolated while allowing the final seven of 10 unanswered Diamondbacks runs, the relief corps fairly breezed. Joel Hanrahan replaced Duke after a one-out Stephen Drew double and got out of the seventh. Jesse Chavez had a 1-2-3 eighth and yielded a single before finishing the ninth
That also ended the Pirates' ugly sight of a five-game losing streak and losses in 12 of their previous 14 road games.
The Diamondbacks got to the All-Star Duke before the Pirates got to a guy named Yusmeiro Petit, a fellow who entered last night with an 0-4 record and 7.15 ERA and nary an outing past six innings.
Arizona tallied a run in the second on singles by Miguel Montero, Chris Young and Chad Tracy, who drove in Montero from second base. The host club opened the third with a hit off the right-field wall by Stephen Drew, who was called out at third trying to stretch it into a triple. One pitch later, the Diamondbacks made it a 2-0 lead when the ball went over the right-field wall and into the swimming pool off the bat of Ryan Roberts, whose only other major-league homer came 70 games and three years ago -- on Aug. 3, 2006 with Toronto.
The Pirates, though, then began hitting with a purpose.
After going eight innings without an extra-base hit, they proceeded to pummel Arizona pitcher -- both Petit and reliever Esmerling Vasquez -- with a double, a two-run homer, five singles, two walks and a sacrifice fly to conjure a half-dozen runs for a sudden, 6-2 lead.
It started with two out in the fourth inning, when Brandon Moss worked a walk. Andy LaRoche followed with a double to left field to score Moss, and Ramon Vazquez followed that with a single to score LaRoche. That tied it.
The next Pirates turn at bat, Delwyn Young singled for a second consecutive at-bat -- this after striking out five times in his previous six plate appearances. Up came Garrett Jones, who was 0 for 14 with runners in scoring position until a two-run double Thursday, and he promptly lined his 10th homer in just 74 at-bats this season for a two-run shot. Singles by Ryan Doumit and Steve Pearce chased Petit, though Vasquez fared little better with an RBI single by Moss, a LaRoche walk and a Vazquez sacrifice fly.
Vazquez's two RBIs marked a significant number: The Pirates were 3-0 this season when he collected as many, and his employers were 10-3 since 2007 when he recorded at least a pair. Moreover, he only had one RBI in his previous 10 Pirates games.
Arizona scratched a run off Duke in the sixth, when Mark Reynolds opened with a double and scored on a Montero single. When Drew doubled one out into the seventh and the Pirates holding a 6-3 lead, Russell went to the bullpen.
And the Pirates hitters went right back to work. They further beat up the bullpen with the National League's second-highest ERA -- though one against which they went 0-for-12 a night before in an 11-4 defeat -- with three runs off two relievers in the eighth. Jeff Salazar, a Diamondbacks cast-off, got his first hit and RBI as a Pirate in an inning when Andrew McCutchen on a sacrifice fly and Young plus Moss on singles also drove in teammates.
"Zach ... he goes out and pitches great every time he goes out there," Jones said. "It was nice to score some runs for him.
"It was a great win, to be able to drive in as many runs as we did," added Jones, who continued a torrid start that computes to 78 homers and 138 RBI over a 600 at-bat season -- provided he maintained that .342 average. "It's a great confidence-builder."
Duke added of the Pirates winning for the fifth time in eight games after the All-Star Break, "We got some nice momentum built up here. Hopefully, we can keep it going."
First Published July 25, 2009 12:39 am