Freddy Sanchez and Jack Wilson combined for 8 hits and pitcher Zach Duke went 6 1/3 innings, allowing three runs as the Pittsburgh Pirates (2-1) beat the St. Louis Cardinals (1-2) 7-4 Wednesday night at Bush Stadium.
Duke, (5-14) last season, showed strong command throughout the evening to record his first career win at Bush Stadium and his first victory over the Cardinals since a complete game on Aug. 11, 2006, at home. Duke struck out four, walked two and scattered five hits on the night.
Freddy Sanchez led the Pirates hit parade going 4-for-5 for his third straight multi-hit game on the season. Sanchez is batting .571 on the season and is at 100% health for the first time in two seasons.
Jack Wilson continued his strong performance at the plate, adding four hits and two RBI‚Äôs. A four run second inning sparked a 17 hit night for the Pirates.
Left fielder Nyjer Morgan went 2-for-6 and is batting .400 on the season and Nate McLouth (1) hit his first homerun on the season in the 6th inning, snapping an 0-for-8 drought.
Right fielder Brandon Moss who was replaced by Eric Hinske in the lineup on Tuesday, went 3-for-4 with two runs scored.
WP: Duke (2-1)
LP: Wellemeyer (0-1)
SV: Capps (2)
TIOPS Post Game Report
Zach Duke (1-0) was sharp, had strong command and tonight‚Äôs performance is a big confidence booster for Duke who is 19-32 since his rookie season.
His fastball was hitting 89-91 and he was using his change up effectively. Pitching coach Joe Kerrigan has worked extensively with Duke during the off-season on improving his off-speed pitches.
After a four hit night, Jack Wilson is hitting .462. Any kind of consistent production from Wilson is a bonus for the Pirates.
When healthy Freddy Sanchez is the real deal. He was not healthy throughout the entire 08 season and after a strong workout regiment in the off-season, Sanchez is off to hot start (8-for-14) batting .571 through three games.
Spring training stats have always meant nothing and talent evaluators don‚Äôt put too much stock into them. Andy LaRoche was among the major‚Äôs top hitter in the spring training and Nyjer Morgan was batting below.200.
Morgan is hitting .400 through three games and LaRoche has yet to record a hit.
LaRoche was replaced in the lineup by Ramon Vasquez tonight and the reason for LaRoche sitting was because of his fielding problems.
He has a team high three errors and went through a 45-50 minute fielding session hours before tonight’s game. Laroche is expected to return to the lineup on Thursday.
Ross Ohlendorf will take the mound for the Pirates Thursday afternoon. Ohlendorf was the Pirates top pitcher in spring training and won the #4 job. The Pirates have high hopes for Ohlendorf who came to Pittsburgh as part of the Xavier Nady trade last summer
Farm Report: Tabata goes 2-for-5 in opener loss
Second baseman Jim Negrych went 4-for-5 with two doubles and three runs scored but it couldn’t keep the Altoona Curve from losing 8-7 to the Erie Seawolves on Wednesday night in an Eastern League opener.
Shortstop Brian Friday was 3-for-5 with a double, a triple and three runs scored and right fielder Jose Tabata was 2-for-5.
Lincoln Holdzkom took the loss in relief as he gave up three unearned runs on a home run by Ryan Strieby in the seventh as Erie rallied from a 7-5 deficit. The homer came after two errors.
Tony Watson started and lasted 3 2/3 innings, allowing five runs on three hits with four walks and two strikeouts. Jeff Sues pitched two scoreless innings.