(Sports Network) – The Pittsburgh Pirates try to avoid their 11th straight loss this evening, as they attempt to salvage the finale of their three-game interleague set with the Chicago White Sox at PNC Park.
There was a buzz in the in the Steel City air on Wednesday with the debut of Pirates third baseman Pedro Alvarez. However, it was not enough to get the Bucs untracked, as Carlos Quentin had two hits and drove in a pair of runs to back John Danks’ eight solid innings in Chicago’s 7-2 win.
Paul Konerko had three hits while Alex Rios and Juan Pierre each had a pair of hits and scored twice for the visitors, who took advantage of six Pittsburgh errors to win for the sixth time in seven games.
The six errors matched the most by any Pittsburgh team since May 9, 1988.
“They’re young,” Pittsburgh manager John Russell said of his club, which now has three rookies starting in the field. “They’re going to make a few mistakes. There is going to be some development still at this stage. There is still going to be some learning. There’s still going to be some anxiety on the field.”
Danks (6-5) yielded a pair of runs on four hits while walking three and striking out six for Chicago, which has won 22 of its last 30 interleague matchups.
White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen cites “good pitching” and “clutch hitting” for the team’s better play of late.
Pittsburgh starter Zach Duke (3-8) took the loss after yielding five runs on eight hits over 5 2/3 innings. He walked one and fanned two for the Pirates, who also lost 10 in a row in August of 2008. However, they haven’t lost 11 straight since a 13-game slide from June 15-28, 2006.
Alvarez, considered the Pirates’ best prospect since Barry Bonds, ended his big league debut 0-for-2 with a walk and a run scored.
“I thought I had some pretty good at-bats and some good looks at some pitches,” Alvarez said. “I think that’s the most important thing is that I saw some pitches, I got into some deep counts and kind of slowed down the game a little bit as the game went on.”
Things don’t figure to turn around for the Pirates tonight, as they face left- hander Mark Buehrle, who is 3-0 with a 1.80 ERA in four starts against them. Two of those three wins have come at PNC Park.
Buehrle is also coming off one of his best efforts of the season his last time out. The 31-year-old hurler scattered eight hits over 6 2/3 scoreless innings to beat the Chicago Cubs on Saturday, upping his mark to 4-6 on the season and lowering his ERA to 4.93.
Chicago had intended to start Jake Peavy tonight, but he is being skipped with what is being called a “tired arm”. He could pitch this weekend against the Washington Nationals.
Pittsburgh, meanwhile, will turn to winless Ross Ohlendorf tonight. Ohlendorf fell to 0-4 Friday in Detroit, as the Tigers hit him for six runs and 10 hits in six innings to raise his ERA to 4.95.
He has faced the White Sox twice (one start) and is 0-1 with a 7.45 ERA in those outings.
Chicago took two of three from the Pirates last season and has won seven of the last eight meetings between the teams.