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09/11/06 10:40 PM ET

Road blues continue for Brewers

Milwaukee drops close series opener to Pittsburgh

PITTSBURGH -- The Brewers' road woes continued as they dropped a 4-3 decision to the Pirates in front of 13,643 at PNC Park on Monday night.

Milwaukee was in the thick of the National League Wild Card race on Aug. 24, following a three-game sweep of Colorado. The Brewers have since lost 14 of 17 games -- a stretch that began with seven straight defeats on the road. The Brewers are now 23-47 on the road.

Lefty Doug Davis was tagged with the loss, as he allowed four runs on six hits and gave up four walks in six innings of work.

"[Davis] was a little erratic with [his] command," Brewers manager Ned Yost explained. "[He] got his pitch count up real high, but made big pitches when he needed to. The pitch that [Chris] Duffy hit was a fastball up and in that he fought off and dunked it over the third baseman's head. Walks hurt him a little bit, and when he hit the guy in the foot, that hurt him. But that's what Doug does, he goes out and throws a lot of pitches but makes big pitches when he needs to."

Davis (10-10) was disappointed with the base on balls he surrendered.

"The walks killed me," said Davis. "Minus those, I think I had a pretty decent outing. I don't know whether I was trying just a little too hard or what it was, but I thought I made some good pitches."

Pirates left-hander Zach Duke hurled eight innings and gave up two runs on five hits. He recorded seven strikeouts. Duke notched his first win since Aug. 11 and upped his record to 9-13 on the season.

"[Duke] did a nice job," said Yost, who noted the southpaw kept his club off-balance. "Along with his fastball, he changed speeds really, really well."

The Pirates wasted no time in producing the game's first run. Duff drew a leadoff walk and advanced to third when Jack Wilson's single glanced off the glove of first baseman Prince Fielder. Duff then came home when Freddy Sanchez bounced into a force out.

The Brewers came right back and tied the score in the top of the second inning. Bill Hall drew a walk followed by a single to left by Kevin Mench. Hall came in to score on a groundout by David Bell.

The Pirates nicked Davis again in the bottom of the third inning. Duke singled and advanced to third on a single to right by Duffy. Wilson put down a bunt single to score Duke, giving Pittsburgh a 2-1 lead.

Hall knotted the score at 2 for the Brewers when he deposited an 0-2 offering from Duke into the center-field bullpen for his 31st home run of the campaign.

The Pirates forged a 4-2 lead in the bottom of the fourth inning as Duffy dumped a two-run single into left field. Davis created his own problems as he hit Jose Bautista with a pitch and walked Jose Castillo.

"The pitch was up and in, but you've got to take your hat off to [Duffy], too, because he put the ball in play -- and that was a tough pitch to put in play," Yost said. "He put it in play and got it over the third baseman's head."

Salomon Torres surrendered a run in the ninth inning on a RBI single by pinch-hitter Geoff Jenkins, but the right-hander picked up his sixth save.

"We put together some hits there finally at the end," Yost stated. "But we fell one short."

The Brewers battled and the way Pittsburgh came away with the victory was tough to digest.

"We put the go ahead run on base and nothing happened after that," Davis said. "We did fight back -- it's not like we laid down. We were just one [flare] from a win. What do you do?"

George Von Benko is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.