Instant Replay: Pirates 11, Phillies 7
Chase Utley slugged a home run in his first plate appearance of the season, legged out an infield hit in the sixth inning and grounded a single to right in the seventh. However, the Pittsburgh Pirates had much more offensive firepower to take an 11-7 victory over the Phillies in the third game of the four-game set.
Because of Sunday’s day-night doubleheader, Phillies manager Charlie Manuel decided to go with a bullpen-by-committee effort instead of calling up a starter from Triple A for a spot start. As a result, the Phillies’ bullpen, sporting the 12th-best ERA in the National League heading into the game, couldn’t keep the Pirates in check following Utley’s homer.
With the loss, the Phillies fell to 36-41 to fall into a tie with the Marlins for last place in the NL East.
Starting pitching report
Raul Valdes took the first turn in bullpen-by-committee and lasted two innings, allowing three runs on a second-inning homer by catcher Michael McKenry. Valdes allowed a pair of hits and two walks on 43 pitches.
For the Pirates, right-hander James McDonald pitched 5 2/3 innings for his seventh win of the season despite allowing four earned runs for the first time in a game this year.
Joe Savery, Michael Schwimer, Jake Diekman and Chad Qualls combined to serve up eight runs and 12 hits in six innings. Antonio Bastardo was the only reliever left unscathed, pitching a scoreless ninth.
At the plate
The Phillies rallied for two runs in the sixth and three more in the seventh and had a chance to tie or take the lead in the seventh when they put two on with no outs. However, the Pirates shut down the Phillies with reliever Brad Lincoln when he struck out Hunter Pence and got Shane Victorino to fly out before he whiffed Jim Thome on three pitches to end the rally.
Otherwise, the Phillies' offense fared well against the Pirates. Carlos Ruiz went 2 for 4 to boost his major league-leading batting average to .364 and followed Utley’s first-inning homer with a solo shot of his own.
Jimmy Rollins also added a pair of hits, including an RBI triple in the seventh and Juan Pierre had an RBI single a few pitches later to notch the 500th RBI of his career.
The Pirates got long balls from Michael McKenry, Casey McGehee and Andrew McCutchen, while Neil Walker picked up three hits.
In the field
Rollins' seventh error in 74 games this season, equaling his total in 138 games last season.
The Phillies close out the season series against the Pirates on Thursday afternoon when Kyle Kendrick (2-7, 5.24) faces righty A.J. Burnett (8-2, 3.24). Kendrick is 4-1 with a 3.38 ERA in seven career outings against the Pirates. He faced them twice this year already, allowing a run in a pair of relief appearances.
After that game the Phillies head to Miami for their first look at the Marlins’ new ballpark.