Zach Duke actually pitched well for the Pirates (11-17) and his pitch count wasn’t even murderously high. But the rest of the team didn’t bring enough to beat the Nationals (12-17) and a struggling Austin Kearns.
Kearns drove in the go-ahead run in the 8th off of John Grabow (1-1), raising his batting average to .194 on the season. (Yes, I said raising.) Luis Ayala (1-1) got the win and Jon Rauch (S 6) got the save.
Pittsburgh’s offense was a no-show, though. The two runs were provided by solo-shots from Freddy Sanchez and Ryan Doumit. And only two runners were left on base. Although it didn’t lead to a victory, the players should rest comfortably knowing that somewhere, Dusty Baker is smiling.
Phil Dumatrait pitches for the Pirates tonight, hoping an offense shows up behind him because he’s likely to need it. He faces John Lannan at 7:35pm EDT.