Winning one-run games usually is a key to a successful season.

Conversely, the Alexandria Dukes are in last place in the second-half standings of the Northern Division of the Carolina League because they lose one-run games. Overall this season, the Dukes are 8-20 in such games.

Yesterday, Alexandria wasted 6 1/3 innings of no-hit pitching by Art Ray. The Dukes stranded nine runners, seven in scoring position, in losing to the Salem Redbirds, 2-1, in 10 innings, before 796 at Four Mile Run Park. t

steve Murray doubled just inside the first-base bag off losing pitcher Kerry Keenan (1-2) to score Ray Etchebarren, nephew of former Oriole catcher Andy Etchebarren, with the winning run.

"We've got the team running and stealing bases, but sometimes you just can't get the runners past third base," said Duke Manager Mike Toomey. "You do have to give their pitchers credit. They both pitched excellent ball in the clutch."

For six innings the teams were scoreless. Salem took the lead in the seventh on its first hit off Ray. Jerry Davis walked and Brian Greer's end-of-the-bat single eluded right fielder Jim Felt. Davis scored and Greer went to third before Ray pitched out of the jam.

Alexandria tied it in the eighth after Felt walked and Joe Fiori sacrificed. One out later, Benny de la Rosa lined a single to right to score Felt.

The Dukes had good scoring chances in the ninth and 10th innings, but were unable to score off reliever Pat Malinski (6-2). Scott Lovekamp pitched 7 1/3 strong innings for Salem, allowing only three singles and striking out seven.

Alexandria could not get a hit when one was needed. The Dukes, 1-9 in extra-inning games, stranded five runners in the last two innings.