Bucs play for pride, Defeat Astros 6-4
Despite losing number 100 on Friday night and the chance to finish the season .500 at home, the Pirates still showed their pride with a 6-4 win over the Astros.
“It’s important for us to finish strong,” Alvarez said. “We can help it carry over to next year and start where we left off.”
Finishing strong, they are. The Pirates are 6-2 with one game remaining on the final home stand at PNC Park this season.
Zach Duke allowed three runs on seven hits through six plus innings. Two back-to-back good outings by Duke, who before those was considered to lose his spot in the rotation.
“Fastball command was a little erratic at times, but the curveball was there for me,” Duke said. “[It was] making big pitches when I need to, really. [It's] just being able to execute a pitch in a big situation. That’s really all it was.”
It was Duke’s final start on the season and perhaps in a Bucco uniform at PNC Park –he is arbitration eligible for the third time. He is 31-31 career at home.
“I don’t know what the future holds, obviously, but time will tell,” Duke said. “The fans have been great to me here, ever since I first came up in 2005, they really embraced me, and I’m very thankful for that.”
“Yeah, I still enjoy it here,” Duke said. “I do. I’ve spent my entire professional career as a Pirate, and I’d like to continue. But it’s not my decision to make at this point.”
Things didn’t go so well for the Astros starter, Bud Norris who struck out 14 during his last start against the Pirates.
Alvarez –who was 0-for-5 against Norris– hit the 2-1 slider over the Clemente wall for his 13th homerun of the season.
“That was a huge home run for us,” manager John Russell said. “We weren’t doing much early, and that really picked us up. That made the game really turn in our favor.”
The Pirates came up big in the fifth, a tie game at three. McCutchen hit a double, Tabata followed with a RBI-single. Doumit hit a two out RBI single.
“They made some adjustments to me as well, and that’s what big league hitters do,” Norris said. “They did a good job executing their game plan.”
The Bullpen allowed one run and closed the game out giving Duke his eighth win this season.