Walker’s two-run homer comes up big in 8th, Bucs sweep Dbacks
The Pittsburgh Kid came through in the late innings as he hit a two-run homerun with two-outs in the bottom of the eighth to lift the Bucs up 4-3 on Sunday afternoon.
“There’s a lot to play for this month,” Walker said after homering for the second time in three days. “It’d be easy to pack it in and call it a season in these last couple weeks, but I think everybody feels like it’s very important for us to kind of form as a team because, obviously, this time of year it’s a tough go.”
“We know we’re not going to make the playoffs, but situations like these can bring teams closer together. I think being able to go out there on a daily basis like we have in this month and really play pretty well, it says a lot about our character.”
With Tabata on-base, Walker launched the ball into the bullpens, his 12th home run of the season.
“They’re still playing hard,” Bucs manager John Russell said of his players. “They’re bouncing around, and the attitude’s been really good. That’s a good sign for a young team. They’re not just waiting for that last day of the season. I think a lot of them wish we could continue to play, and that’s a good thing for us now. We did a nice job in this series.”
Zach Duke pitched 7.1 innings allowing three runs on six hits with a walk and three strikeouts. Sunday’s outing was the deepest he has gone since Aug 22nd and Duke avoided his 15th loss on the season.
“We’ve been working on some mechanical things, and they carried over to this start,” said Duke, the all-time wins leader at PNC Park. “I was able to locate the ball pretty well, the way I wanted, with the exception of the slider to [Adam] LaRoche [who hit an RBI double] in the fourth inning. I left that up. But the offense picked me up in the big way. It’s great to get a sweep.
“It feels good, definitely. But the thing is, I have to keep working. I have to stay consistent. I’m not going to rest on my laurels because of one decent game. I’ve still got a lot of work to do.”
“Zach threw the ball well,” Russell said. “He stayed with what we worked on in New York. His tempo was really good. The one inning, they got a couple hard hits. But they really didn’t hit the ball hard off him until he gave up the home run in the eighth. He did a great job. He got us where we needed to be. I know it probably was a breath of fresh air for him. I know he was really glad he won, because it kind of adds to what he did. If we had lost the game, it still would’ve been a little bit bitter for him.”
Hanrahan struck out two and earned the win, Meek picked up his third save.