PHILADELPHIA -- As the wheels slowly came off for the Philadelphia 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, have won seven of nine, and their three wins in a row to close out the series came against Cole Hamels, Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee.
"They're a tough team, they have great ballplayers, they have a great pitching staff," said Gaby Sanchez, who went 2 for 4 with a home run and three RBIs. "To come over here and do what we did is definitely something that's uplifting. For us, it's just continuing to take that on to the next series."
Next on the docket: a visit to the St. Louis Cardinals, who just finished a sweep of the Washington Nationals and have won five of their past seven games.
Pirates vs. Cardinals, 8:15 p.m., Busch Stadium, St. Louis.
- TV, Radio:
Root Sports, KDKA-FM (93.7).
LHP Jonathan Sanchez (0-2, 11.12) vs. RHP Lance Lynn (3-0, 3.68).
- Key matchup:
Lynn vs. Clint Barmes, who is 4 for 14 with two doubles against him.
- Hidden stat:
Lynn has won three consecutive starts.
Philadelphia's bullpen again allowed the Pirates to take a late lead. Phillippe Aumont took over for Lee with the score tied, 3-3, in the eighth and hit Clint Barmes in the back with one out.
Travis Snider and Starling Marte singled to load the bases for Brandon Inge. Pirates manager Clint Hurdle opted to pinch-hit Jones to face the right-handed Aumont, and Jones crushed a line drive off the right-field wall for a two-run double.
"As a pinch-hitter, you want to be aggressive and get a pitch to hit," Jones said. "Bases loaded, one out, I was just trying to drive something to the outfield."
Sanchez flied out to shallow right against Chad Durbin, but Marte's speed allowed him to tag and score, and the Pirates led, 6-3.
Aumont took the loss, allowing three runs on three hits in a third of an inning. In five innings of work the past two games, Phillies relievers allowed seven runs on 10 hits and four walks. The Pirates proceeded accordingly.
"We're looking for pitches," Sanchez said. "If we're not getting it, we're doing a very good job of laying off tough pitches and being on what we're looking for. I think that's what's creating those late rallies and creating good at-bats later in the game."
The closing duties Thursday fell to Tony Watson, who pitched two innings for his first major league save. Mark Melancon and Jason Grilli were not available after pitching two consecutive games, but Hurdle needed the left-handed Watson in the eighth inning with left-handers Chase Utley and Ryan Howard due up.
"He had to face that part of the lineup," Hurdle said. "We had an opportunity to send him back out there, we were going to."
Watson allowed two hits and a run.
"I felt good," Watson said. "Good team win, good series win."
The Pirates' other left-handed reliever, Justin Wilson, earned the win with two scoreless innings in relief of James McDonald. McDonald allowed three runs on five hits in five-plus innings, but two leadoff walks and a wild pitch led to two Phillies runs. 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 majority of the time leadoff walks get on, it's going to be a scoring threat," McDonald said. "I need to minimize those leadoff walks and attack guys right off the bat."
After walking Utley in the fourth, McDonald's wild pitch put 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 of the season.
After McDonald walked Frandsen in the sixth, consecutive singles by Utley and Howard prompted Hurdle to replace McDonald with Wilson.
Wilson's wild pitch moved the runners to second and third. Howard tagged and scored on Brown's lineout to center field to put the Phillies ahead, 3-1.
It was Lee's turn to fall victim to the walk in the seventh when he put Marte on base. With two outs, McCutchen broke a streak of 17 at-bats without a hit. Sanchez's RBI single cut the lead to one.
At that point, Phillies manager Charlie Manuel visited the mound as if to remove Lee, who had thrown 114 pitches, but Lee stayed in to face Michael McKenry. McKenry's single scored McCutchen and tied the score, 3-3.mobilehome - pirates
Bill Brink: firstname.lastname@example.org and Twitter @BrinkPG. First Published April 26, 2013 4:00 AM