Millwood, Rangers fall in Pittsburgh

By: From WIre Reports
By: From WIre Reports

PITTSBURGH (AP) -- Jose Bautista and the Pittsburgh offense provided the pop in a meeting between two of baseball's worst teams, and two starting pitchers who had combined for one victory since April 13.

Bautista homered and had three hits, Xavier Nady and Adam LaRoche each homered, and the Pirates beat the Texas Rangers 7-5 on Tuesday night to snap a three-game losing streak.

Zach Duke (3-6) won for only the second time since April 8, and the Pirates won their first interleague game of the season after getting swept by the New York Yankees last weekend.

"I feel like I'm definitely turning the corner to being back to where I need to be," said Duke, who allowed two runs on eight hits in six innings. "The percentage of pitches I would call good pitches is getting much higher."

The Rangers managed plenty of baserunners against Duke, who entered the game having allowed more hits (104) than anyone in the majors. But poor baserunning and solid defense kept Texas off the scoreboard.

The Rangers grounded into double plays in four of the first five innings and had a runner picked off in the fourth. That meant Duke -- who had won only once since April 8 -- faced the minimum number of batters through four innings.

"You know going in he's not out there to strike out 10, 15 guys," Pirates manager Jim Tracy said. "When he gets it in play for you, you have to make plays for him. And the plays made tonight, those are plays that you expect a good defensive team to make."

Bautista led off the bottom of the first with a shot down the left field line just inside the foul pole. It was his fifth homer of the season and second career leadoff homer.

Pittsburgh added two more runs in the first when LaRoche's double drove in Jason Bay and Nady lined an RBI single to center.

Nady led off the fourth with his 11th homer of the season, driving the first pitch well over the wall in the deepest part of the park in left-center. Later that inning, Duke reached on a throwing error by Michael Young and Bautista's double to right made it 3-0.

LaRoche's eighth homer led off the fifth, and one batter later, Kevin Millwood (2-6) was lifted. He allowed six runs -- five earned -- on eight hits in 4 1-3 innings, walking two and striking out one.

"I haven't seen anything close to this (streak)," said Millwood, who is 0-5 in seven starts since April 13. "It's pretty frustrating right now.

"I thought I was close, but nothing's changing. So what do you do? You just try to keep working and hopefully it'll get better."

Texas closed within 7-5 in the ninth on an RBI double from Brad Wilkerson and a base hit by pinch-hitter Adam Melhuse. But Matt Capps got Ramon Vazquez to line into a double play and struck out pinch-hitter Kenny Lofton for his third save in four chances.

Texas broke through in the sixth on back-to-back RBI doubles by Young and Sammy Sosa.

Sosa drove in Marlon Byrd in the eighth with a single to right, but Gerald Laird struck out against reliever Jonah Bayliss to end the rally.

"It was nice to get off to a good start here," LaRoche said. "Obviously it's great to be back home and get out of New York. Hopefully we can all forget about that real soon."

Notes

Bay snapped an 0-for-12 stretch with a first-inning single. ... Sosa, who has 598 career home runs, flied out to the warning track in right in his first at bat. ... Bautista's other leadoff homer was June 15, 2006 against Mark Mulder of the St. Louis Cardinals. ... Byrd has a 10-game hitting streak after singling to left in the sixth.


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