The Pirates trailed the Philadelphia Phillies 1-0 from the first inning on Wednesday, and it stayed that was until the bottom of the ninth, when Brandon Moss's home run tied the game. But in the top of the 10th, Ryan Howard's three-run shot gave the Phillies the lead, and they held it. Paul Maholm was impressive, giving up five hits and one run on a homer through seven innings. Steven Jackson (2-3) took the loss in relief, pitching to just two batters in the top of the tenth and giving up a hit and a walk. Phil Dumatrait gave up the homer, and those two runs were charged to Jackson.
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The Pirates on Thursday completed a successful homestand with a 3-2 win over the Phillies to take the rubber game of the three-game set. The Phils kept the Bucs down 2-1 until the bottom of the eighth, when Garrett Jones' two-run shot gave the Pirates the lead. Denny Bautista (1-0) got the win in relief, pitching two innings and striking out two. Matt Capps pitched an inning for his 24th save.
On Friday, the Bucs opened a three-game series with the Milwaukee Brewers with an 8-6 loss. Losing pitcher Zach Duke (10-12) struggled in this start and the Pirates were down 8-4 after just four innings. Andrew McCutcheon had three hits and four RBIs, but it just wasn't enough to overcome the Brewers eight runs - including five in the bottom of the first - in the first four innings. Duke pitched three innings, giving up 11 hits, seven earned runs, two homers and one walk.
The Pirates continued their struggles on Saturday in a 7-3 loss to the Brewers. They couldn't hold a 3-2 lead gained in the top of the fifth, though, part of which was the result of a two-run shot by Andy LaRoche. Kevin Hart (4-4) tried, but it just wasn't enough. He pitched six innings, giving up six hits, five runs (four of them earned), walking two and striking out four.
The Pirates tried to avoid a sweep on Sunday, but the Brewers had other ideas and the Bucs went down 4-1. The Brewers broke open a 1-1 tie in the bottom of the fourth, and that was it. Losing pitcher Ross Ohlendorf (11-9) held the Brewers to a run but ran into trouble in the fifth. Garrett Jones' solo shot was the only run for the Bucs. Ohlendorf pitched six innings, giving up five hits, four runs, one homer, walking two and striking out six.
The Pirates opened a four-game series with the Cincinnati Reds on Monday with something rare nowadays, a doubleheader. In the first game, the Bucs lost 4-3 when Jesse Chavez's wild pitch in the bottom of the ninth allowed the winning run to come home. Daniel McCutchen gave up three runs in six innings and had an RBI single in his first at-bat in his major league debut. Chavez (0-4) pitched two-thirds of an innings, giving up two hits and one earned run.
Sadly, things didn't improve for the Pirates in the nightcap as the team lost its fifth straight, a 6-3 defeat at the hands of the Reds. Paul Maholm (7-8) got into trouble early, giving up three runs in the first inning, and a late three-run rally in the top of the sixth ended with the bases loaded but no more runs. Maholm pitched five innings, giving up nine hits, four earned runs, one home run, walking three and striking out four.
The Pirates dropped their sixth straight game 11-5 to the Reds on Tuesday. Charlie Morton (3-7) bounced back after the Reds scored four in the bottom of the first, but he was gone and the damage was done after he left. The Bucs closed the gap to 5-4, but the Reds rallied in the fifth, sixth and seventh to put the game away. Garrett Jones had a two-run homer in the third and the Pirates could have scored more than two in the fourth, leaving the inning with the bases loaded. Morton pitched five innings, giving up nine hits, six earned runs, walking four and striking out one.
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