There was so much weird stuff in Friday’s 4-3 loss against the Cardinals, it did not all fit the game story you’ll read in tomorrow’s Trib. Some leftovers:
– Zach Duke labored through 31 pitches and gave up two runs in the first inning. It would have been worse if he hadn’t survived — barely — a 12-pitch ordeal against Albert Pujols.
With a runner on first and one out, Pujols fouled off seven straight pitches. One of them hugged the third base line with plenty of distance for a homer, but veered foul.
Finally, Pujols whipped a low, sharp liner that seemed headed for the gap in left-center. At the last instant, shortstop Ronny Cedeno reached out and snagged it.
Pujols flipped his bat as he walked back to the dugout.
Cedeno has drawn management’s ire for his hot-and-cold defensive tendencies. He reared his ugly side against the next batter, Holliday, booting what should have been a double-play bouncer.
David Freese walked, loading the bases.
With Yadier Molina, a right-handed batter, at the plate, second baseman Aki Iwamura was shifted way over toward the second base bag. Molina slapped the ball through the gaping hole, driving in two runs.
“I was just getting settled in,” Duke said. “I made good pitches, but the balls just got through.”
– Duke was lifted after the Cardinals put runners on first and second with one out in the seventh inning. Up to the plate again came Molina … and Iwamura again moved over toward the bag.
Molina poked another single through the hole between Iwamura and first baseman Garrett Jones. But right fielder Ryan Church’s throw to the plate was on line (though a big high), and Doumit blocked the plate and tagged out Holliday.
– Duke went 6.1 innings and allowed three unearned runs on nine hits. He struck out seven, two shy of his career high, and kept Albert Pujols hitless in four at-bats. “I kept the big guys from doing damage,” Duke said. “I’m pretty happy with how it worked out. I feel like we could have and should have won this game.”
– In the sixth, the Cards had runners on first and second and two outs. Skip Schumaker singled to center, scoring Molina. First baseman Garrett Jones cut off the throw and looked to third, but it was too late to get Brendan Ryan. As Jones held onto the ball, and Doumit gestured wildly, Schumaker slipped into second. “I lost track of the guy at first,” Jones admitted.
– Jeff Clement snapped an 0-for-19 skid with a pinch-hit single in the ninth inning.
– The Pirates fell to 0-7 (including three games at PNC Park) when wearing their black jersey alternate uniforms.
– Before Friday’s game, the Pirates honored eight local high school students — Kim Antosz, Stephanie Mitana, Daniel Salmon and Katie Wozniak of Shaler Area and Meg O’NSell, Noah Rosen, Tadhg Schempf and Alimpon Sinha of Fox Chapel — for outstanding volunteer work in their communities.