Team finishes 2-5 on road trip with loss in 10th at Philadelphia
Phillies' Hunter Pence, right, scores the winning run as Pirates relief pitcher Tony Watson, left, walks off the field in the 10th inning of a baseball game.
Share with others:
PHILADELPHIA -- In two previous games against the Phillies this weekend, the Pirates did not get quality starts or timely hitting.
They got both Sunday afternoon. They just didn't get the win.
Raul Ibanez capped a two home run day with an RBI double in the bottom of the 10th to score Hunter Pence and give the Phillies a 6-5 comeback victory against the Pirates at Citizens Bank Park.
"We couldn't find enough holes on them this weekend," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said.
The Pirates return home today from a two-city road swing, and there might be no more welcomed sight than PNC Park. The Pirates (54-52) lost five of seven games in Atlanta and Philadelphia. The Phillies (68-39) handed the Pirates their first sweep since Cleveland took three consecutive games from them in June.
After starting the road trip with a share of the National League Central Division lead, the Pirates are 4 1/2 games behind the first-place Brewers, who have won six in a row.
Game: Pirates vs. Cubs, 7:05 p.m., PNC Park.
TV, radio: Root Sports; WPGB-FM (104.7).
Pitching: LHP Paul Maholm (6-10, 3.16 ERA) vs. RHP Carlos Zambrano (7-6, 4.59 ERA).
Key matchup: Zambrano vs. Derrek Lee. The Pirates' new first baseman is 3 for 8 against his former teammate with a .944 OPS.
Of note: The Pirates have scored an average of 7.33 runs in the three games Maholm has started against the Cubs this season.
The Pirates blew a two-run, eighth-inning lead and were flat on offense in the final innings.
Ibanez punished the Pirates one day after Ryan Howard tortured the pitching staff and two days after Chase Utley dominated. Ibanez went 3 for 5 with two home runs and four RBIs, including the winning RBI double.
He hit a two-run home run off Jose Veras in the eight inning as the Phillies rallied from a 5-3 deficit. That homer pushed the game into extra innings.
Veras said he put the pitch low and away, right where he wanted it.
"He hit it with the end of the bat," he said. "I don't know how the ball went out. He was hot today. It was his day."
Pirates reliever Tony Watson, who took the loss after offering up the winning RBI, said Ibanez took advantage of his mistake. "[The pitch] ran back over the middle, and he did what he's supposed to do," he said.
The bullpen's struggles mitigated a strong outing from starter Jeff Karstens, who allowed three earned runs and struck out five in seven innings.
"He changed speeds, he hit his spot, he kept the ball down," Hurdle said.
When Karstens left the game before the start of the eighth inning, things began to unravel.
Reliever Joe Beimel gave up a double to Howard before Veras entered the game. Hurdle said he and pitching coach Ray Searage talked about sending closer Joel Hanrahan in to pitch a four-out save before Veras pitched to Ibanez.
"We shot it down immediately," Hurdle said. "He just did it three days ago, and we said 'No. Not that quick.'"
The Pirates had just one baserunner in the ninth and 10th.
They got some production earlier in the game from unlikely candidates. First baseman Lyle Overbay and right fielder Garrett Jones helped score runs, though both face uncertain futures after the recent acquisitions of first baseman Derrek Lee and outfielder Ryan Ludwick.
Overbay hit a two-run home run in the sixth, giving the Pirates a 4-3 lead. Jones had an RBI double in the seventh.
The Pirates had success against Phillies rookie starter Vance Worley, who allowed four earned runs in six innings, his second highest run allowance of the season. He had allowed just five runs in his previous 451/3 innings.
"We played harder," Hurdle said. "We played smarter. We just couldn't put it away in the eighth inning."
Worley struck out five consecutive batters between the first and third innings, and after a double to Andrew McCutchen in the first, he retired 11 of the next 12 batters he faced. But the Pirates got to him in the fifth.
Brandon Wood and Eric Fryer hit back-to-back, one-out singles to left field, and Xavier Paul scored both on a line-drive single to put the Pirates up, 2-1, their first lead of the series.
Karstens made two mistakes on the afternoon. The first was a changeup to Ibanez in the second, which the left fielder hit for a home run. It was the 18th homer Karstens has surrendered this season and tied him for the sixth highest total in the National League.
The second was another changeup, this time to Jimmy Rollins, who hit a two-RBI single in the fifth.
First Published August 1, 2011 12:00 am