PHILADELPHIA -- Chase Utley needed 90 at-bats to hit his first career home run against the Pirates. For the Philadelphia Phillies, the wait was well worth it.
Utley's two-run home run off Tyler Yates in the seventh inning broke a 3-3 tie and gave the Phillies a 6-3, rain-delayed victory against the Pirates at Citizens Bank Park.
As important as Utley's home run was, three unearned runs scored by the Phillies -- on no hits -- also helped turn the game against the Pirates.
"When we play well, we can play with anybody," Pirates first baseman Doug Mientkiewicz said. "When we don't play well, we're not very good."
- Game: Pirates vs. New York Mets, 1:10 p.m., Shea Stadium.
- TV/Radio: WPGB-FM (104.7).
- Pitching: LHP Zach Duke (4-10, 5.13) vs. RHP Pedro Martinez (3-3, 5.79).
- Key matchup: Martinez vs. the long ball. He has given up 13 home runs in 56 innings this season.
- Of note: Duke is winless on the road since May 27, 2007, when he won at Cincinnati.
The Pirates were pretty awful on a key play in the third inning that erased their 1-0 lead. Starter Jason Davis turned in a solid start with the exception of one "pitch" in that inning.
Davis walked leadoff batter Carlos Ruiz on a 3-2 count after being ahead 0-2. Phillies starter Jamie Moyer then put a bunt down close to the first-base line.
Catcher Ryan Doumit had an easy play on the ball and called off Davis, but the pitcher didn't get the message and collided with Doumit.
"I said, 'I got it' -- loud," Doumit said. "He was being aggressive. He wanted to get it, too."
"A little bit of miscommunication," Davis said. "And then [Doumit] stepped on my foot when I went to throw."
Davis' throw was wide of first base.
As Moyer, lumbering as a 45-year-old baseball player will, made the turn toward second, he collided with first-base umpire Randy Marsh, who tumbled to the ground.
"Randy was right in front of me and I was like, 'Oh, hi,"' Moyer said. "I tried to grab him, but I think I ended up pushing him. As I continued to run, I saw him fall down and I said, 'Oh, my gosh."'
"I told [Marsh] that was a moving pick," Mientkiewicz said. "I said, 'Your feet were moving. It should have been a block."'
Right fielder Jason Michaels, in turn, whizzed a throw past second base, which permitted Ruiz to score and Moyer to wheeze into third.
"There was no oxygen on first or second," Moyer said. "They had the oxygen tank at third. I felt like I was in Little League."
Moyer then plodded home on Jimmy Rollins' sacrifice fly to center.
The Pirates regained the lead with two runs in the sixth inning, scoring twice on Michaels' two-out double off Moyer.
But Yates, who hadn't pitched since Aug. 4 because of a medical situation with his newborn daughter, gave up the lead in the space of three pitches in the seventh.
Ruiz doubled on the first pitch. Two pitches later, pinch-hitting sensation Greg Dobbs tucked a run-scoring double inside third base. That made Dobbs 21 for 51 with 15 RBIs as a pinch-hitter this season. The 21 hits is a season record for the Phillies.
Dobbs moved to third on a wild pitch with Rollins at the plate and Yates almost kept him there as Rollins grounded out to first and Shane Victorino flied to short left.
Utley's fly ball to right went much deeper and landed in the seats. Utley has now homered against every National League team.
"I was just trying to hit the ball hard -- just put the ball in play," the Phillies second baseman said.
The Phillies added another unearned run in the eighth against Craig Hansen. Jayson Werth drew a leadoff walk, moved to second on a ground ball to the right side, went to third on a wild pitch and scored on a passed ball charged to Doumit.
Davis, starting in what was Yoslan Herrera's spot, allowed four hits and four walks in six innings.
"He had great stuff," Doumit said.
His effort was good enough that he will remain in the starting rotation, according to Russell.
"As of now, yeah," Russell said. "Not taking anything away from Jason, but it's no secret -- and it's a nice thing to be able to say because we haven't been able to say this all year -- we have some options at [Class AAA Indianapolis].
"But he has the pitches [to be a starter]. He has the velocity. It's a good opportunity for him."
The Pirates, who waited out a one-hour, 47-minute rain delay before batting in the first, scored three runs or less for the seventh time in nine games in August. In the past five games, the starting pitching has allowed only five earned runs in 35 innings, but the Pirates have won just twice.
"You hate those cycles when you pitch well but don't score or you score but you don't pitch well," Russell said. "You'd like to put them together at the same time."
Paul Meyer can be reached at 412-263-1144. First Published August 11, 2008 4:00 AM