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Hoffman has blown four of seven save chances

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Associated Press
April 29, 2010
— Trevor Hoffman ran into another problem, and again it was named Ryan Doumit.

Doumit homered off the all-time saves leader for the second straight day ,and Garrett Jones’ two-out, run-scoring double in the 14th rallied the Pirates past the Brewers 6-5 on Wednesday.


“It’s easy to kind of say you’re snake bit, or whatever,” the 42-year-old Hoffman said. “Bottom line is I didn’t get it done again.”


Hoffman has blown four of seven opportunities this year—he failed only four times all of last season. His 13.00 ERA is equally startling for someone with 594 career saves.


Both he and manager Ken Macha have said physically that he’s fine. Macha said they’ll do whatever it takes to get him “back on track” as the team travels to start a 10-game road trip in San Diego, where Hoffman’s career blossomed.


Doumit hit the first grand slam Hoffman had ever allowed in the Pirates’ 7-3 win on Tuesday off a fastball. This time, Hoffman only threw changeups to Doumit, who connected on the fourth one by flicking it just over the right-field wall.


“I saw in the paper that that’s what he wanted to work on,” Doumit said. “So I just looked for one of those. The pitch that I hit actually fooled me a little bit. I didn’t really put the best of swings on it but fortunately I got enough of it.”


Both teams scored in the 10th when Andrew McCutchen hit the second of his two homers in the top of the inning and Casey McGehee’s one-out, run-scoring single tied it off Pirates closer Octavio Dotel, setting up the 14th.


After losing 22 straight at Miller Park, Pittsburgh finally won a series in Milwaukee for the first time in nearly four years. The victories Tuesday and Wednesday came after embarrassing losses to the Brewers by 20-0 and 17-3 in the past week.


“I think we earned a little bit of respect, possibly, in the Brewers’ eyes. The last however many games we’ve played against these guys, we’ve been a doormat and we know that,” Doumit said.


“When you’re giving up 17 and 20 runs in a game, you tend not to take a team too seriously.


“In these last two games, I like to think that, in their eyes they know that we’re not going to give up any more and they’re going to be in for a dogfight from here on out.”


In the 14th, Akinori Iwamura singled to lead off and Jones delivered a double down the right-field line off Brewers reliever Manny Parra (0-1). Pirates reliever D.J. Carrasco (1-0) pitched three scoreless innings for the win and retired the final three hitters in order.


“Shows a lot of character for us after we pretty much got beat down. After what we went through, it was easy go give up at any point,” Carrasco said. “We just stayed in the game and battled.”


Both team made mistakes in extra innings that extended the game.


In the 12th, Pittsburgh started with consecutive singles from McCutchen and Jones. But Lastings Milledge popped up a bunt attempt foul that catcher Gregg Zaun caught and doubled off McCutchen at second.


In the 13th, Jim Edmonds led off with a walk and stole second. Alcides Escobar hit a soft single and Edmonds tried to score, but Milledge’s weak two-hop throw from left field got Edmonds because Doumit blocked the plate effectively.


“What happened to Jimmy, he actually stole second base and kind of hurt his back, he was kind of limping coming around,” Macha said. “I didn’t think the ball beat him. Maybe a little jar of the catcher and he doesn’t catch it.”


Edmonds stayed in the game after talking to the trainer between innings, and it may have cost Milwaukee.


On Jones’ double in the 14th, Edmonds had a long run to the corner and appeared to slip a little on the warning track dirt in right field when planting to throw to the infield. The Brewers had no play at the plate.


“The ball down in the corner, he didn’t make a very good throw,” said Macha, who would’ve pulled him for the Brewers’ last position player, backup catcher George Kottaras, if the game had gone another inning.


Pittsburgh didn’t have any extra players after Ryan Church was ejected in the ninth and Andy LaRoche was ejected two innings later for arguing balls and strikes.


Milwaukee is hoping that Hoffman’s stellar career isn’t about to be gone, too.


“You’d have to be pretty cold-hearted not to feel for a class act like him,” Zaun said. “A lot of guys would try to run from that, but he knows it’s just a patch that will pass. He’s going to start getting people out the way he’s used to and everything will be just fine.”


NOTES: Brewers Hall of Fame radio broadcaster Bob Uecker called his last game before his heart surgery scheduled on Friday. Uecker joked during the game that both he and the team are headed west. The Brewers start a trip in San Diego. The hospital where Uecker’s surgery will be performed is a few miles west of Miller Park. Uecker expects to miss 10 to 12 weeks. … McGehee will miss Thursday’s game in San Diego because his wife is expecting their second child. He will rejoin the team on Friday. … A ball boy made a terrific diving grab of a foul ball in the third inning, and had several scrapes on his left knee afterward.



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