PITTSBURGH (AP)—No matter what interim manager Pete Mackanin accomplishes in the Pittsburgh Pirates’ final 26 games, he can’t prevent their 13th consecutive losing season.
Rookie catcher Ryan Doumit’s errant throw on a rundown play in the 12th inning got Pete Mackanin’s managerial run in Pittsburgh off to a losing start, a 4-2 defeat to Arizona that was the Pirates’ 82nd of the season.
While Arizona ended a five-game losing streak, the Pirates dropped their fifth in a row, 10th in 11 games and 15th in 19 games—a slide that caused manager Lloyd McClendon to be fired earlier in the day. Mackanin, a 13-year minor league managing veteran and the bench coach, succeeds McClendon for the rest of the season.
“It would have been nice to win the first one,” said Mackanin, who was cheered by the small crowd before the game. “You do everything you can think of to put guys in position to score some runs, to have the pitchers out there who give you the best chance of winning, and hope they pull it out.”
As usual, they didn’t.
The game-winning run came on a play that illustrated why both teams have been stuck in long slides since several months into the season, when both were playing .500 ball. The Pirates have lost nine in a row at home, their longest streak since PNC Park opened in 2001.
With Chad Tracy on second, Chris Snyder singled to right to end an 0-for-21 streak. Tracy was halfway down the line at third when he realized he would be out easily. As he scrambled back to third, Doumit’s throw struck him in the lower left shoulder and bounded away, allowing him to score.
“It’s been a while since I had one, and when I rounded first and saw Tracy hung up in-between home and third,” Snyder said. “Fortunately for us the ball finally bounced our way. It was good to come out on the winning end of one.”
The Diamondbacks had runners on first and third and none out in the 10th and couldn’t score against Jose Mesa.
“I saw a lot of things I didn’t like seeing—we missed a hit and run, we had a steal when we’re not supposed to be stealing, a lot of things that usually end up costing you games, but kept on playing hard,” manager Bob Melvin said.
Pirates rookie left-hander Paul Maholm, making his second start, ran his start-of-career scoreless streak to 11 innings before giving up Troy Glaus’ RBI double in the fourth. Maholm pitched eight innings in beating Milwaukee 6-0 on Aug. 30, in what turned out to be McClendon’s final win as manager.
Eldred’s drive to center in the fourth ended an 0-for-21 slump and was only his second hit in 37 at-bats. Wigginton’s solo shot in the fourth was his second homer in 12 games since returning to the Pirates on Aug. 23 following 2 1/2 months in the minors.
Maholm left after permitting five hits and two runs. He has a 1.20 ERA, allowing nine hits and two runs in 15 innings.
The 13 consecutive losing seasons are three short of the major league record. The Brewers also could have a 13th losing season in a row. … Pirates LHP Zach Duke has been out since Aug. 23 with a sprained ankle, but was chosen as the NL rookie of the month in August after going 3-0 over five starts. Duke expects to start again this weekend in Cincinnati. … Pirates batting coach Gerald Perry began his eight-game suspension for shoving Cardinals coach Dave Duncan during an Aug. 24 batting practice dispute. The commissioner’s office turned down his request to reduce the suspension. … RHP Josh Fogg won’t leave the Pirates’ rotation after all; he was pulled after losing Friday to the Cubs, but will start Thursday for the injured Dave Williams (rib cage strain).