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Dukes takes spotlight in loss for Nats
Through a team spokesman, Dukes declined several requests to comment, saying only, “What the [expletive] is there to talk about?”
That left his teammates to explain his actions.
Ryan Zimmerman said Dukes is an emotional player but added, “I don’t know if there’s really a place for that in this kind of game.”
Lastings Milledge defended Dukes’ actions, saying he would have been just as upset if a pitcher threw inside after he hit a homer.
“Don’t make him out to be a bad guy,” Milledge said. “The guy loves the game. The guy plays the game hard. I don’t think he did anything wrong.”
While the Pelfrey-Dukes squabble played out, the Nationals turned a six-run Mets lead into a two-run game. And in the sixth, they tied it up on Cristian Guzman’s two-run homer.
But Saul Rivera gave up four runs in the seventh, though one was unearned after Guzman muffed Rivera’s pickoff attempt at second.
Guzman’s second homer of the game, a three-run blast, brought Washington back within one, but David Wright hit a two-run blast in the eighth for the Mets.
It was also a shot that rendered Dukes’ final at-bat of the night, against former teammate Luis Ayala, moot. He grounded out to second for the first out of the ninth, trotting back to the dugout to one more serenade from the Shea faithful.
Not that he was done taking the spotlight. A few steps from the dugout, he looked up, motioned for the fans to bring it on and blew them a kiss as he hopped down the steps.
“You’ve got to stand for what you know out there. You can’t let them rag you out and get you uncomfortable,” Milledge said. “He made a statement tonight, and that’s that.”
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