PHILADELPHIA -- As the wheels slowly came off for the Philadelphia Phillies' bullpen, the Pirates took advantage of every Phillies mistake.
They had some timely hits, none bigger than Garrett Jones' bases-loaded double in the eighth, but they capitalized on walks and a hit batter as well.
The Pirates won, 6-4, Thursday at Citizens Bank Park to take three out of four games from the Phillies. They improved to 13-9 and have won three in a row.
Next on the docket: the St. Louis Cardinals, who lead the National League Central and just finished a sweep of the Washington Nationals and have won five of their past seven games.
Philadelphia's bullpen again allowed the Pirates to take a late lead. Phillippe Aumont took over for Lee with the game tied, 3-3, in the eighth and drilled Clint Barmes in the back with one out. Travis Snider and Starling Marte singled to load the bases for Brandon Inge. Manager Clint Hurdle opted to substitute Garrett Jones against the right-handed Aumont, and Jones crushed a liner off the right-field wall for a two-run double.
Gaby Sanchez flied out to shallow right, but Marte's speed allowed him to tag and score. John Mayberry Jr.'s throw took Erik Kratz away from the plate, Marte slid in safely and the Pirates led 6-3.
Kevin Frandsen doubled and scored in the eighth off Tony Watson.
James McDonald allowed three runs on five hits in five-plus innings, but two leadoff walks and a wild pitch led to two Phillies runs. Chase Utley led off with a walk in the fourth and scored, and Kevin Frandsen walked to start the sixth and came around to score.
The Pirates assembled 10 hits off Cliff Lee, but scored only three runs against him. Two of those runs came in the seventh inning and tied the game.
After walking Utley in the fourth, McDonald's throw to first to keep Utley close went wild, putting Utley on second. Domonic Brown blooped a fly ball into center field just in front of a diving Andrew McCutchen, scoring the first run of the game.
Sanchez evened the score in the sixth with his third home run.
Walking the leadoff batter cost McDonald again in the sixth and forced him from the game without retiring a batter in the inning. After he walked Kevin Frandsen, consecutive singles by Utley and Ryan Howard caused manager Clint Hurdle to replace McDonald with Justin Wilson.
A wild pitch moved runners to second and third. Howard tagged and scored on Domonic Brown's lineout to center field to put the Phillies ahead 3-1. Wilson finished two scoreless innings and struck out two.
It was Lee's turn to fall victim to the walk in the seventh when he put Starling Marte on base. With two outs, Andrew McCutchen broke a streak of 17 at-bats without a hit. Sanchez singled to tie the game.
At that point, Phillies manager Charlie Manuel visited the mound as though to remove Lee, who had thrown 114 pitches, but Lee stayed in to face Michael McKenry. McKenry's RBI single tied the game at 3-3.
Bill Brink: email@example.com and on Twitter @BrinkPG. First Published April 25, 2013 8:45 PM