Zero offense for Duke in Pirates' 1-0 loss
Pirates third baseman Andy LaRoche walks back to the dugout as the Giants mob outfielder Randy Winn who hit an RBI single down the first base line in the 10th inning in San Francisco yesterday. The Giants won the game, 1-0, to complete a three-game sweep.
Pirates relief pitcher Matt Capps walks back to the mound after giving up a single to the Giants second baseman Eugenio Velez in the 10th inning.
Pirates outfielder Garrett Jones reacts after being caught stealing second base against the San Francisco Giants in the seventh inning.
Pirates shortstop Ramon Vazquez argues with second base umpire Mike DiMuro as third baseman Andy LaRochecovers his face with his glove after Giants infielder Juan Uribe was called safe on a steal at second base in the fifth inning.
Pirates itcher Zach Duke delivers against the San Francisco Giants in the first inning.
Pirates outfielder Garrett Jones steals second base and beats the throw to Giants shortstop Edgar Renteria during the second inning.
Giants outfielder Randy Winn, third from right in helmet, is mobbed by his teammates after hitting an RBI single down the first base line with two outs in the 10th inning.
Giants outfielder Randy Winn lines an RBI single down the first base line with two outs off Pirates pitcher Matt Capps during the 10th inning.
Giants second baseman Eugenio Velez, left, celebrates at home plate after scoring the Giants' only run in the 10th inning. At right is Giants catcher Pablo Sandoval. Velez scored from second base after outfielder Randy Winn lined an RBI single down the first base line.
Giants pitcher Matt Cain works against the Pirates during the first inning.
Giants pitcher Matt Cain throws idn the first inning.
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SAN FRANCISCO -- The beginning of the end of the 2009 season, showcasing a Pirates lineup rife with players each owning barely a full season of major-league service, played out across AT&T Park yesterday.
The result looked familiar.
This constantly remodeled club failed to score a run for sixth time in the Pirates' past 21 games, giving it the majors' runaway lead with 17 shutouts to date. This club endured its fifth consecutive game of scoring two runs or fewer -- all losses. This club lost a one-run game, by 1-0 in a two-out, 10th inning to the host Giants, and pushed their record in such close-call contests to a majors-worst 7-17.
And then they traded their three-time All-Star and last remaining polished hitter to the team down the hall.
On a day when its middle infield and two of its longest-tenured veterans were dealt away, Jack Wilson to Seattle and Freddy Sanchez to the San Francisco team that swept this three-game series, the Pirates' parts of the future continued to harp on the storyline of the past four months: sturdy pitching, insufficient hitting.
True, they were facing All-Star pitcher Matt Cain, whose arm injury allowed the Pirates' Zach Duke to attend the midsummer classic, as well. Yet they also lately have faced a stream of pitchers with 4-plus ERAs and varying pedigrees, mostly coming away with little offense to show for it. In that 21-game sampling where they've sustained those half-dozen shutouts, the Pirates have scored three runs or fewer in 15 of them ... which might explain that 6-15 record of late.
• Game: Pirates vs. Washington Nationals, 7:05 p.m., PNC Park.
• TV, radio: FSN Pittsburgh, WPGB-FM (104.7).
• Pitching: RHP Ross Ohlendorf (8-8, 4.51) vs. LHP John Lannan (7-7, 3.25)..
The team that earlier beat Johan Santana, Wandy Rodriguez, Roy Oswalt and Mark Buehrle, among others, has been blanked in July alone by Ricky Nolasco, Braden Looper, Doug Davis, Max Scherzer, Rodriguez and Cain.
"It was going to come down to the first team to crack; unfortunately, we were the one," Pirates manager John Russell said of the duel between Cain, who permitted three hits before yielding to Brian Wilson in the 10th, and Duke, who allowed six hits before John Grabow threw two scoreless innings and Matt Capps got two outs before Randy Winn's walkoff hit scored Eugenio Velez from second. "You're not going to get many runs off Cain. Zach matched him up. It just came down to the end."
"I had to be" shutout perfect, said Duke, who saw the Pirates score six of their 10 runs for him in his last start but return to firing mostly blanks. "Had to be, to match up with him and give us a chance. ... It has been a tough day for us. We've lost some good guys in the clubhouse."
Russell remains undeterred, even for a team that went 17-37 after the trade deadline a year ago: "We'll be fine. It has been a hectic few days. We ran into some buzzsaws. San Francisco has one of the better pitching staffs you're going to see. Arizona threw some good arms at us. And we're awful young offensively. We're still kind of grinding it out."