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Rinku, Dinesh go to Washington

CINCINNATI — Monday, Rinku Singh and Dinesh Patel attended a reception in Washington, D.C., hosted by President Obama. The minor league pitchers were among 150 Asian-American/Pacific Islander guests who were selected for the event as part of the White House’s Heritage Month.

– As you might expect, Neil Walker was gushing on his first day back in the major leagues. “It feels tremendous,” Walker said. “It seems like just yesterday I was making my debut here.”

Making the two-hour drive from Indianapolis to Cincinnati was nothing new to Walker. Last year, he was called up Sept. 1, when the Pirates were playing a road series against the Reds and made his major league debut that night at Great American Ball Park.

Walker did not get the game ball after notching his first RBI with an eighth-inning double. “It’s more important that we got the win than me getting the ball,” Walker said with a smile.

– Paul Maholm’s decisions have followed a win-loss pattern, with three no-decisons sprinkled in. Although he didn’t get the victory tonight, Maholm seems to be hitting a stride — he’s allowed six earned runs on 18 hits over his past three starts (20 innings).

“I was in a groove, then I had a bad start (May 9 against) St. Louis,” Maholm said. “You have bad starts. I understand that. Tonight, it was just kind of go after them, make sure you don’t walk too many guys to get yourself in trouble and let the defense make plays.”

– Ronny Cedeno has reached base in 16 straight games. … Ryan Doumit has hit five homers in the eighth inning or later this season. The MLB leader is Paul Konerko, with seven. … The Pirates are 17-8 when they score first.

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