Pirates earn 2-0 win

Maholm fans 10; Pearce and Sanchez net RBIs in 12-inning victory

PHILADELPHIA -- For 11 innings last night, the Pirates were dead in the water offensively.

"We weren't really doing anything," manager John Russell said.

But then in the 12th inning, the Pirates "erupted."

Run-scoring hits by slumping Steve Pearce and surging Freddy Sanchez gave the Pirates a 2-0 win against Philadelphia -- which hasn't been doing anything the past few days.

The loss left the Phillies with back-to-back shutouts. They lost to Florida, 3-0, Thursday. And they are 2 for 36 with runners in scoring position over their past four games.

The Pirates, held to one hit through nine innings, came off the mat against rookie Les Walrond in the 12th.

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  • Today
    • Game: Pirates vs. Philadelphia Phillies, 7:05 p.m., Citizens Bank Park.
    • TV, Radio: FSN Pittsburgh, WPGB-FM (104.7).
    • Pitching: RHP Ian Snell (4-8, 6.14) vs. RHP Brett Myers (4-9, 5.34).
    • Key matchup: Snell against two key Phillies. Leadoff batter Jimmy Rollins is 8 for 15 lifetime against Snell with a double, two triples and a home run. Power-hitting first baseman Ryan Howard is 1 for 10 with six strikeouts.
    • Of note: In 12 starts on the road this season, Snell is 1-6. In 58 1/3 innings, he has yielded 88 hits.

Ryan Doumit lined a leadoff double into left-center field. Brandon Moss' slow bouncer to second moved Doumit to third.

Pearce, 5 for 28 at game time, drilled a ball inside third for a double. Moments later, with the bases loaded, Pearce scored on Sanchez' hit behind second.

"That should be a nice confidence boost for him," Russell said of Pearce's double.

"The real confidence booster was that check-swing hit off [Brad] Lidge [in the 10th inning]," Pearce said.

That one didn't lead to anything, though.

No question, Pearce has struggled.

"He needs to start making adjustments," Russell said. "He's always been a very aggressive hitter. [Opposing pitchers are] not giving him a lot of great pitches to hit, and he needs to make adjustments to lay off those pitches.

"We've talked to him about that. It's a process. He's a very aggressive hitter. He loves to swing the bat. Sometimes, that will hurt you more than help you because you try to do too much.

"He's got to start learning how to manage the strike zone, manage his at-bats, be a little more in control of what he's trying to do. You don't want to take away the aggressiveness. You want him to be aggressive but under control -- put himself in a better position to be aggressive.

"We're all about aggressiveness. We're all about swinging the bat with a purpose. Right now he's not quite there. He's taking aggressive swings at too many pitches."

Doesn't matter where the pitch is, either -- inside, outside, high, in the dirt.

"He tries to do a little too much," Russell said.

Things were somewhat better last night.

"It was a big hit for me and the team," Pearce said of his double.

Russell entrusted that two-run lead to right-hander Craig Hansen, acquired from Boston in the Jason Bay trade July 31.

Russell could have used Tyler Yates, but the right-hander has been involved in a family situation with his baby daughter.

"He's been traveling a lot," Russell said.

"It just wasn't a real great night for him to pitch."

Hansen quickly got the first out of the bottom of the 12th, but then walked Jimmy Rollins and Shane Victorino.

That meant he might have to face both troublesome left-handed hitters -- Chase Utley and Ryan Howard.

Turned out, he only pitched to Utley.

Utley lined a ball into left-center field that seemed destined to be a hit.

Moss made a great diving catch, then got to his feet and threw to Sanchez, who, in turn, threw to first to nail Victorino, who was almost around second base, for the final out.

"Utley hit that last ball real good," Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said.

"It was like it was meant for us not to score."

"Stupid," Victorino said. "I shouldn't have been there."

"A great play," Russell said. "If that ball gets through, it's a tie game. [Moss] made an aggressive play. And he didn't panic and just got up and fired the ball."

That double play gave Hansen his first major league save.

Pirates starter Paul Maholm allowed five hits and struck out a career-high 10 in his seven innings.

The left-hander -- perhaps becoming the hard-luck left-hander -- has allowed three earned runs or less in eight of his past 10 starts, but that's netted him just three victories.

Beginning with a start at St. Louis, he has a 2.86 earned run average in his past 13 starts -- but only five wins.

First Published August 9, 2008 4:00 AM


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