D’Backs acquire Zach Duke from Pirates for a PTBNL

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From Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com comes word that the Diamondbacks have acquired left-hander Zach Duke from the Pirates for a player to be named later.

Duke had a bit of major league success in 2005 as a 22-year-old, posting a 1.81 ERA and 1.21 WHIP over 84.2 innings.  But he really hasn’t been effective since and wouldn’t have lasted long in a system other than Pittsburgh’s.

The D’Backs will hope that he can find a little consistency in a different setting.  It seems unlikely in the hitting-friendly confines of Chase Field, but it’s not exactly unheard of.

Duke, 27, finished the 2010 season with an 8-15 record, 5.72 ERA and 1.65 WHIP in 29 starts.  He is likely to act as Arizona’s fifth starter in 2011.

Astros extend winning streak to 11 games

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The Astros rallied late to keep their winning streak alive, extending it to 11 games with a 7-4 victory over the Royals on Sunday afternoon. The club is now 48-25, leading the Mariners by a full game in the AL West.

The Royals took a 4-2 lead after three innings, but Brian McCann knocked in a run with a single in the top of the fourth to cut the deficit to one run. Carlos Correa hit a game-tying solo home run in the eighth. The Astros kept their foot on the gas, scoring two more runs on RBI singles from Evan Gattis and Marwin Gonzalez in the top of the eighth and another in the top of the ninth on Correa’s sacrifice fly.

Starter Lance McCullers allowed four runs (two earned) on six hits and two walks with nine strikeouts over six innings. Tony Sipp worked a scoreless seventh. Ken Giles did the same in the eighth. Hector Rondon finished off the win in the ninth, working around a one-out walk with a game-ending double play.

After winning all 10 games on their road trip against the Rangers, Athletics, and Royals, the Astros will head home for a nine-game homestand against the Rays, Royals, and Blue Jays. Each club is below .500.