Los Angeles (49-60) at Pittsburgh (46-64)

Fair Currently: Pittsburgh, PA
Temp: 65° F
  • Game info: 7:05 pm EDT Sat Aug 6, 2005
  • TV: KCOP, FSPI
Preview | Box Score | Recap

The Pittsburgh Pirates have been the cure for NL West teams looking to end slumps, especially the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Rookie sensation Zach Duke will try to change that when the teams play the middle game of their series at PNC Park.

Losers of eight of their previous 12 games, the Dodgers took Friday’s series opener 12-6 as Olmedo Saenz homered and drove in a career-high six runs.

The Pirates have allowed 24 runs in their last two games and 43 in losing three of four to San Diego and Los Angeles.

The last-place Pirates have struggled on the mound during their homestand, losing by scores of 11-3, 12-7 and 12-6, with the only victory a 9-8 decision over the Padres on Wednesday.

The fact that the Dodgers won big in Pittsburgh on Friday should not come as too much of a surprise. They have won 14 of 16, including seven in a row, at PNC Park since it opened in 2001 and are 14-1 overall against the Pirates since 2003.

Duke will try to put an end to that alarming trend. Off to the best start by a Pirates rookie in 35 years, Duke has yet to have a bad start for a team that has known nothing but bad times over 12 consecutive losing seasons. He’s 4-0 with a 0.92 ERA in six games and his 0.87 ERA in July was the best of any pitcher in the majors.

“I expected to have some success, but this has surpassed every expectation I had,” the 22-year-old left-hander said. “I’m kind of on cloud nine right now and I’m very confident. But I’m not going to get complacent. I still have a lot of work to do.”

Pittsburgh has dropped 34 of 50 since reaching .500 at 30-30 on June 11.

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Starting Pitchers

O. Perez Was vs. Z. Duke Mil
7-8 Record 8-2
4.56 ERA 1.81
74 K 58
28 BB 23
1.26 WHIP 1.20