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Randa drives in three to lead Pirates past Rockies

PITTSBURGH (AP) -- Maybe hosting the All-Star game was all the
Pittsburgh Pirates needed to regain respectability.

Joe Randa drove in three runs and the Pirates beat the Colorado
Rockies 6-5 Wednesday to win their second consecutive series since
the All-Star break. Pittsburgh won two series in a row for only the
second time this season.

"It's a real good homestand and a real good start to the second
half," manager Jim Tracy said.

Randa, who began the season as the Pirates' starting third
baseman but lost his job after going on the disabled list, went
2-for-4 and has hit .500 (11-for-22) with nine RBI in his last
five starts.

"I have a lot of confidence in myself and feel like I'm healthy
and know I'm doing the things I'm capable of doing," Randa said.
"It was a fun game out there today."

Ronny Paulino had a two-run double and Sean Casey got two hits
and scored two runs for Pittsburgh, which scored all its runs with
two outs -- three each in the third and sixth.

"That's why you get three outs in an inning," Casey said.
"Just because you get two quick outs doesn't mean the inning's
over. We proved that today."

Zach Duke (7-8) won for the first time in more than a month,
allowing four runs and seven hits in six innings, walking two and
striking out five. He last won June 14 against St. Louis.

Mike Gonzalez allowed a run in the ninth but got his 15th save,
a club record for a left-hander. He struck out Matt Holliday and
Ryan Shealy with the bases loaded to end it.

"I was only out there a few minutes, but it seemed like I was
there forever," said Gonzalez, who bested a team record held by
four other players, most recently Ricardo Rincon in 1998. "It's
one of those things you've got to experience. I kind of had to get
to the point where I said, here is my best stuff. Try to hit it and
see what you can do with it."

Shealy had two hits and two runs, and Luis Gonzalez had two RBI
for Colorado, which has lost nine of 10.

"We had a couple opportunities today to get it done and we
didn't get it done," manager Clint Hurdle said.

Hurdle pointed to the ninth inning, when Jamey Carroll failed to
score from second on a single by Garrett Atkins that scored Choo
Freeman from third.

"When he hit the ball, I kind of froze," Carroll said. "I
guess I played it too cautious."

Shealy, who was making his 2006 debut since being recalled from
Triple-A on Monday, scored the game's first run in the second on
Freeman's two-out single.

But the Pirates' first two-out rally came courtesy of Casey's
double off starter Jason Jennings that scored Jack Wilson. Randa
followed with a double that drove in two to give Pittsburgh a 3-1
lead.

"In the big situations, we've been swinging the bats more
aggressively lately," Paulino said.

The Rockies took a 4-3 lead with a two-out rally in the sixth,
when consecutive doubles by Shealy, Yorvit Torrealba and Luis
Gonzalez each drove in a run.

In the sixth, Paulino doubled after three straight two-out
singles by Casey, Jason Bay and Randa, and a walk to Jose Bautista
to put the Pirates ahead 6-4.

"I feel like I made the pitches to get out of the inning,"
Jennings said. "We were winning 4-3 with two outs in the sixth,
and end up falling down 6-4. It's frustrating."

Jennings (6-8), who has not won since June 20, faced the minimum
through three and did not allow a hit until Wilson's triple. But he
ultimately allowed six runs and seven hits in six innings, walking
three and striking out two.

"He wasn't able to get the big outs in both of those big
innings," Hurdle said. "A couple balls dropped in that weren't
hit that hard to score the runs."

The only other time the Pirates, who also took two of three from
Washington last weekend, won two series in a row was when they took
six of seven at home from Houston and Milwaukee from May 26 to June
1.

"We're trying to forget about the first half and not look at
the record," Casey said. "There were 70-some games to go when we
started the second half. Let's go out and play hard in the second
half, go out and win ballgames and win series and quit talking
about the first half."

Game notes
Jennings hit Bautista with a pitch in the third inning,
marking the eighth consecutive game the Rockies have hit a batter,
a club record. ... Sanchez, the NL's leading hitter, went 1-for-4
and has reached base safely in 14 straight games. ... The Pirates
have spent only one day out of last place in the NL Central all
season.