PITTSBURGH -- Carl Pavano didn't give his offense a chance to turn another big ninth inning during the Indians-Pirates interleague series into a potentially huge comeback.
Zach Duke allowed one run in six innings, Adam LaRoche drove in three runs and the Pirates didn't wait to get into Cleveland's slumping bullpen to start scoring, roughing up the struggling Pavano during a 10-6 victory over the Indians on Wednesday night.The Pirates ended a five-game losing streak by scoring three runs in the second and six in the fourth. They finished with 14 hits against five pitchers, leading 10-1 before Cleveland scored five runs with two out in the ninth on Kelly Shoppach's two-run homer and Grady Sizemore's three-run shot against Steven Jackson.The night before, the Pirates trailed 5-0 going into the ninth, only to score four times and load the bases before LaRoche's fly ball out on a 3-2 pitch ended Cleveland's 5-4 victory. Cleveland's bullpen went into Wednesday's game with an 0-4 record and 8.78 ERA in its previous seven games.Pavano wondered what would have happened if he had gotten out of the fourth, when he quickly retired the first two batters only to have the final five hitters he faced reach base."Those five runs put us in a huge deficit," said Pavano, pitching for the first time in ninth days because of right shoulder discomfort. "We ended up scoring six. That's not what you want to do. You want to pick your guys up, not let it unfold like that."Or unravel like the Indians' season appears to be doing.They lost their seventh in eighth games as Pavano (6-6) gave up 11 hits and eight runs, three earned, in 3 2/3 innings. Pavano appeared to be on his way to a good season after winning six of seven decisions from May 1-June 5, but he has a 12.15 ERA in his last three starts."I thought my ball was a little flat, and when it flattens out like that, those are the kind of games I get -- a lot of contact and a lot of balls down the lines and in the holes," Pavano said.Pavano's ERA climbed to 5.80, even though shortstop Luis Valbuena's throwing error on Freddy Sanchez's grounder meant the Pirates' final five runs in the fourth were unearned."He was over the plate a little more than he would like," manager Eric Wedge said. "He wasn't able to clip both sides of the plate like he does when he's going good."The Pirates also had four consecutive hits against Pavano in the second, including Andrew McCutchen's two-run single. McCutchen has a 12-game hitting streak, the longest by a rookie this season."Good things are happening right now, and hopefully I can keep having good at-bats," said McCutchen, who is hitting .322.LaRoche contributed a two-run single in the fourth and a solo homer in the sixth. Jason Jaramillo finished off the fourth with a two-run drive off reliever Jensen Lewis.Duke (8-5) was efficient and effective, again pitching much better at home than he does on the road. The left-hander gave up five hits and one run in six innings to improve to 6-2 in PNC Park, where he has gained his last five victories. He is 2/3 on the road.Another win or two before the break, and Duke might find himself in St. Louis as the Pirates' All-Star representative."If it happens it would be great, but I'm not going to judge my season based on that," Duke said. "If the opportunity came, it would be a great honor."No doubt Duke appreciated the unaccustomed run support; the Pirates scored a combined four runs in his five losses.The left-hander also kept the ball in the park after yielding six homers in three starts, allowing only one extra base hit -- Jamey Carroll's double to start the game.
The Indians have 17 of their top 19 draft picks under contract. ... Cleveland sent RHP Greg Aquino outright to Triple-A Columbus. ... Pirates top prospect Pedro Alvarez, the No. 2 pick in the June 2008 draft, hit his first homer for Double-A Altoona on Wednesday, his second game with the Curve. ... Cleveland is 4-10 in interleague play, Pittsburgh is 5-6.