On Wednesday, the Pirates started the week by losing the rubber game of their three-game set with the Houston Astros 5-0. The Bucs could only muster five singles against Wandy Rodriguez, who pitched a complete game. The LaRoche brothers had back-to-back singles in the second inning, but that was as far as any Pirates batter would get all day. Charlie Morton (1-2) started and took the loss, giving up 10 hits, five earned runs, one walk and three strikeouts.
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The Pirates on Friday fell 3-2 to their cross-state rivals, the Philadelphia Phillies. Poor run support doomed Zach Duke's efforts and he fell to 8-8 on the season. Garrett Jones had a homer in the first, but didn't score again until the top of the ninth when Brandon Moss went deep. Duke tossed a complete games, throwing eight innings, giving up five hits, three earned runs, walking three and striking out six.
The Pirates lost blew a 7-3 lead Saturday when the Phillies plated five in the bottom of the ninth to send the Bucs home in the loss column 8-7. Matt Capps (1-5) surrendered five in the frame to seal it. Garrett Jones, Delwyn Young and Andrew McCutchen went deep in the first two innings to put the Pirates up 5-0, but even that and two runs in the top of the seventh weren't enough. Capps pitched a third of an inning, giving up six hits, five earned runs, walking two and giving up two home runs.
The Bucs' gloom deepened on Sunday as they ended the first half with another loss to the Phillies, this time 5-2. Virgil Vasquez's (1-3) career as a starter hasn't been a big success, and he surrendered five runs in the bottom of the first and only got one out in the bottom of the second before he was pulled. For the third straight game, Garrett Jones homered, but again it wasn't enough for the Pirates. Vasquez pitched 1 1/3 innings, giving up four hits, five earned runs, walking three, striking out one and giving up one home run.
The Pirates are off until Friday for the All-Star break.
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