On Wednesday, the Pirates' plunge continued as the Cincinnati Reds won 5-3 to sweep the four-game series. It was the Bucs' seventh defeat in a row. The Reds jumped ahead 1-0 in the first, the Pirates came back, the Reds took the lead, the Pirates came back and even took a 3-2 lead in the top of the sixth, but three runs by the Reds due to a Neil Walker error in the bottom of the sixth sealed it. Garrett Jones's homer was the 10,000th in franchise history and Brandon Moss also went deep. Starter Zach Duke (10-13) pitched six innings, giving up nine hits, five runs (three of them earned), two homers, walking one and striking out four.
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The Pirates opened a three-game series with the St. Louis Cardinals on Friday with a 14-7 loss. Down 5-0, the Bucs turned on their bats in the bottom of the fifth and briefly took the lead with six runs, including Brandon Moss's two-run triple. But the Pirates couldn't add any too many more runs as the Cardinals added nine with late homers by Albert Pujols and Ryan Ludwick. Kevin Hart (4-5) took the loss, pitching 5 2/3 innings, giving up nine hits, seven runs (five earned), two homers, walking three and striking out three.
On Saturday, the Pirates lost their ninth consecutive game, a 2-1 defeat at the hands of the Cardinals. Ross Ohlendorf gave the Bucs all they could want with one run allowed and 11 strikeouts, but the Bucs couldn't get the bats in gear and an Albert Pujols homer in the top of the 10th put it away. Matt Capps (3-8) took the loss in relief, pitching two innings, giving up two hits, one earned run, one homer and striking out two.
The Bucs salvaged their series against the Cards on Sunday and broke their losing streak with a 6-5 win. Down 5-4 in the last of the ninth, it looked bad for the Pirates but Ryan Dournit's RBI single tied the game and Garrett Jones's walk-off single sent the fans home happy. Paul Maholm started and Jesse Chavez got the win in relief, pitching one inning, giving up three hits, one earned run, one homer and striking out one.
On Monday, the Pirates opened a three-game series against the Chicago Cubs with a 4-2 loss. Daniel McCutchen (0-1) gave up four runs, three on a pair of shots by Derek Lee, over seven innings and only Andy LaRoche's homer and Brandon Moss's RBI double provided the run support. McCutchen pitched seven innings, giving up nine hits, four earned runs, two homers, walking two and striking out five.
Zach Duke (10-14) had a first inning to dream about, and then wake up screaming. On Tuesday against the Cubs, he yielded seven runs in the top of the first as the Cubs had eight consecutive hits. While the Bucs tried to chip away, the Cubs scored solo runs in the fourth and seventh to keep the Pirates at bay. Duke pitched four innings, giving up 12 hits, eight earned runs, one homer, walking one and striking out two.
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