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Pirates

Pirates come back but fall to Angels in 10 innings

| Monday, June 25, 2007

ANAHEIM, Calif. -- For the Pirates, going down fighting is getting old.

The Pirates scratched out a run in the ninth inning Sunday to send their game against the Los Angeles Angels into extra innings.

However, the Angels scored in the 10th to claim a 4-3 victory and a sweep of the interleague series.

The Angels won in extra innings in the series-opener, 5-4.

"The only thing we have to hang our hat on is we took what possibly is the best team in baseball to extra innings a couple of times," Pirates first baseman Adam LaRoche said. "It's not good enough, but we were right there. We had a chance."

Los Angeles, off to the best start in franchise history, leads the majors with 49 victories. They tied a club record by winning nine consecutive series.

The loss extended the Pirates' losing streak to five games, matching their season high. They are 13 games under .500 and 12 games behind first-place Milwaukee in the National League Central.

"You're not going to see us lay down," LaRoche said. "That's not the way this clubhouse is. You come, you play, you keep playing, regardless of what happens."

Although he's stuck in a 1 for 19 slump, LaRoche still managed to set up the game-tying run. With two outs in the ninth, LaRoche drew a walk against closer Francisco Rodriguez, who blew his first save since May 6.

Rajai Davis pinch-ran for LaRoche and went to third on a pair of wild pitches. On a 3-1 count, Xavier Nady lined an RBI single to left field.

With one out in the 10th, Howie Kendrick launched a fastball from Matt Capps (3-4) off the wall in left-center field for a double.

"What killed me was falling behind him, 3-1," Capps said. "I made a good pitch, but he got it."

Kendry Morales was intentionally walked, setting up a potential double play. Gary Matthews Jr. flied out to left.

Erick Aybar then hit a single over the head of right fielder Xavier Nady to drive in Kendrick.

"We did everything we could do," Pirates manager Jim Tracy said.

Well, almost.

The Pirates twice loaded the bases -- with none out in the fifth inning and with two outs in the seventh -- but came away with just one run.

Jack Wilson, who after Saturday's loss said the Pirates need to ramp up their effort to match their potential, went 2 for 3. He scored the Pirates' first run and drove in the second.

Trailing 2-0 in the fifth, the Pirates loaded the bases with nobody out, with the middle of their lineup due up.

Jason Bay watched four pitches and struck out. LaRoche drew a full-count walk that forced home Wilson.

Nady then hacked at the first pitch and bounced it straight back to Colon. That started a 1-2-3, inning-ending double play.

The Pirates trailed, 3-2, in the seventh, when a single by Nady, sandwiched between walks to LaRoche and Ryan Doumit, loaded the bases.

But Scot Shields fired three consecutive strikes, and designated hitter Josh Phelps watched them all, ending the threat.

"We were a base hit or two away from winning a couple of these games," Tracy said. "But that's been the story of our season so far."

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