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Ohlendorf, Bucs can't grab win in Arizona finale

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Thursday, Sept. 22, 2011

PHOENIX — No one in the Pirates' front office has told Ross Ohlendorf that his spot on the team next season is in jeopardy, but he knows that it is.

"There's always pressure, especially when you're not doing well," Ohlendorf said. "They don't have to say anything. It's pretty obvious."

Ohlendorf was lit up again Wednesday in an 8-5 loss against the Arizona Diamondbacks, who reduced their magic number to clinching the NL West to two. The right-hander lasted just two innings, allowed seven runs, seven hits and two walks. He also hit a batter.

Ohlendorf is slated to start Tuesday against the Milwaukee Brewers in the penultimate game of the regular season. There's a good chance it will be his final outing in a Pirates uniform.

"He'll get back out there one more time, and we'll see where he takes it," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. "It's on him. He knows that."

In 63 career starts with the Pirates, Ohlendorf is 13-27 with a 4.56 ERA and a 1.42 WHIP. He has won just two games since 2009, when he went 11-10.

This winter, Ohlendorf, 29, will enter his second year of arbitration eligibility, which likely puts him in line for another pay raise. Ohlendorf went 1-11 with a 4.07 ERA last season, yet he won his arbitration case and is making $2.025 million this year.

It seems likely the Pirates will non-tender Ohlendorf and allow him to explore free agency.

Ohlendorf (1-3, 8.29 ERA) has not made it into the fifth inning in three of his six starts since coming off the disabled list. A sore shoulder kept him out more than four months, the second year in a row he was sidelined by the injury.

Last Thursday, Ohlendorf handcuffed the Los Angeles Dodgers in a 4-2 victory. But he took a big step backward yesterday.

"I would have to say so," Hurdle said. "He was behind in the count, up in the zone and didn't really have a breaking ball. He had more velocity last time. There just weren't a lot of useable weapons out there today."

The Diamondbacks took a 3-0 lead before Ohlendorf got the second out of the first inning. Willie Bloomquist and Aaron Hill singled, Justin Upton hit a sacrifice fly and Miguel Montero crushed a changeup for a two-run homer.

Ohlendorf was lifted after giving up three singles and a walk to begin the third. Rookie right-hander Jared Hughes took over and yielded Ryan Roberts' two-run double and Hill's two-run single.

"I tried to go with our hottest hand out there, but it didn't work," Hurdle said.

Over his first eight outings in the majors, Hughes allowed four hits and no runs. In one inning yesterday, he gave up a run and two hits.

Ryan Ludwick hit a solo homer in the second off Diamondbacks' lefty Wade Miley (4-2). Derrek Lee had an RBI single and a solo homer.

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