Instant Replay: Phillies 3, Pirates 1

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Instant Replay: Phillies 3, Pirates 1

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PITTSBURGH -- Jonathan Pettibone pitched 5 2/3 strong innings, the beleaguered bullpen gutted out the final 3 1/3 innings and the Phillies ended the Pirates’ nine-game winning streak with a 3-1 win at PNC Park Tuesday evening.

The Phillies scored all three of their runs in the sixth inning on a base hit by Ryan Howard, a sac fly by Domonic Brown and a double by Delmon Young.

Six relievers -- Jake Diekman, Phillippe Aumont, J.C. Ramirez, Antonio Bastardo, Justin De Fratus and Jonathan Papelbon -- pitched in and out of trouble but combined on 3 1/3 scoreless innings despite allowing six baserunners and two booming outs to deep center field that Ben Revere tracked down.

With the win, the Phillies improved to 4-4 on the 10-game road trip and 40-44 overall.

The Pirates, who still have the best record in baseball at 51-31, hadn’t lost since June 19 in Cincinnati.

Stat-o-matic
Howard’s sixth-inning RBI single ended an 0-for-22 streak. It was his first hit on the road trip and first RBI since he had four against the Mets on June 22. Howard added an eighth-inning single.

At the plate
Michael Young had two hits to bump his average up to .291, the highest it’s been since May 21. Since June 1, he’s 38 for 111 (.342).

Did you know?
The Phillies improved to 10-35 this year when they score three or fewer runs. They had lost 13 of their last 14 games when they scored three or fewer runs.

On the bases
John Mayberry was picked off by Pirates catcher Russell Martin at second after leading off the top of the ninth with a double.

Starting pitching report
The 22-year-old Pettibone allowed three hits and one run. He left the game after Greg Jones’ two-out solo homer in the sixth cut the Phillies’ lead to 3-1. He needed 102 pitches to get 17 outs.

After a couple sub-par outings against the Brewers and Rockies, Pettibone has allowed just five earned runs and 12 hits over 17 2/3 innings in his last three starts.

Pettibone improved to 4-3 with his first win since May 14. He was winless in his last eight starts.

Pirates starter Brandon Cumpton, making his third major-league start, was sailing along with a two-hit shutout through five before the Phillies scored three in the sixth, knocking him out of the game.

Bullpen report
The bullpen faced 15 batters and six of them reached base, but none of them scored, and Papelbon closed things out with a 1-2-3 ninth for his 16th save.

In the field
Chase Utley saved a run with a diving stop on Andrew McCutchen’s two-out base hit with runners on first and second in the bottom of the third.

Brown picked up his fourth outfield assist this year, throwing out Jordy Mercer trying to stretch a base hit into a double leading off the seventh.

Pirates rightfielder Travis Snider was involved in a bizarre play in the top of the second. First, he let Brown’s routine base hit bounce past him and all the way to the wall. Then, after finally reaching the ball, he dropped it. As Brown steamed around second, Snider fired to second baseman Neil Walker, whose relay throw to third baseman Pedro Alvarez just beat Brown. So Snider was charged with an error and got an assist on the same play.

What’s next?
John Lannan (1-2, 4.83), who won his first game as a Phillie on Friday in Los Angeles, goes for No. 2 on Wednesday against Pirates lefty Jeff Locke (7-1, 2.06). On Thursday afternoon, Cole Hamels (2-11, 4.58) faces Pirates righty Gerret Cole (4-0, 3.70).

Cliff Lee, Kyle Kendrick and Pettibone will face the Braves Friday through Sunday at Citizens Bank Park.

Phillies look to 'keep grinding' after latest rough loss to Rockies

Phillies look to 'keep grinding' after latest rough loss to Rockies

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The Phillies have scored just two runs in 13 innings against a pair of rookie starting pitchers and the eventual outcome has been two losses to the Colorado Rockies the last couple of nights. The latest was an 8-2 setback on Tuesday night (see Instant Replay). That followed an 8-1 loss on Monday night.

What's happening right now at Citizens Bank Park is ugly. The Phillies are in the midst of a freefall that has seen them lose 19 of their last 23 games. They have been outscored 134-91 over that span.

Now, before we completely lose perspective here, the Phillies remain a building team and they were not expected to contend this season. But they weren't supposed to be this bad, either, and right now they are embarrassingly bad at 15-28.

John Middleton, the team's fiery managing partner, watched several innings of Tuesday night's debacle sitting beside Andy MacPhail in the club president's box. Oh, to have been a fly on that wall. Middleton is committed to a patient rebuild from the ground up, but he's also a man who has made it no secret that he likes to win a little. The show that the Phillies are putting on out on the field these days can't sit well with him. Surely it's not sitting well with the fans. Tuesday night's attendance was just 17,109, the lowest of the season, and many in that group headed home after Gerardo Parra's sixth-inning homer gave the Rockies an 8-1 lead.

"We're just in a big rut right now," manager Pete Mackanin said.

Shortstop Freddy Galvis added that he couldn't remember going through anything this bad.

"We have to keep grinding," he said. "Keep grinding, man. It's pretty tough right now."

Tuesday night's loss offered a tale of two young pitchers. Zach Eflin, the Phillies' 23-year-old right-hander and a veteran of just 18 big-league starts, was hit hard. Meanwhile, German Marquez, the Rockies' 22-year-old rookie, was impressive. He held the Phillies to one run over six innings. He twice faced bases-loaded jams and gave up just one run when he walked a batter.

On Monday night, the Phils were held to one run over seven innings by another rookie, Jeff Hoffman.

Rookie pitchers are often good medicine for struggling teams.

"That's the way I look at it," Mackanin said. "Unfortunately it hasn't happened.

"I know we're better than this. I think the team knows they're better than this. I can't fault the hustle. Someone might say there's no energy. Well, when you don't get any hits, there's no energy."

The Phillies have scored just three runs in the last three games.

The scarcity of runs gives the pitching very little room for error. But in this game, Eflin simply did not keep it close. He gave up 10 hits and eight runs over six innings of work. Phillies killer Charlie Blackmon torched Eflin for a pair of two-run homers and Parra got him for a solo shot.

"A poor outing," Mackanin said of Eflin's work. "He couldn't locate. The ball was up in the zone. He's struggling to keep the ball down.

"When he struck out Blackmon in the first inning, it was a two-seamer with great movement, I thought we're in for a good outing here. But then he couldn't keep the ball down. You have to pitch down or you're going to get hurt."

Eflin has given up 21 hits and 15 runs in his last two starts.

"It's frustrating, but it happens. It's baseball," he said. "There are going to be a lot of times in my career where I give up a lot of hits and a lot of runs. But I'm really not worried about it right now. I know that I'm going to continue to work hard and go out every fifth day and, you know, put up a line of winning baseball."

Blackmon has seven home runs in his last five games at Citizens Bank Park. He has three multi-homer games in Philadelphia.

"He seems to like hitting here," Eflin said. "But I just have to execute pitches. There's no excuse. I just have to be on top of my game."

Right now, the Phillies are at the bottom of their game.

"We have to stay together as a team and keep fighting, try to get out of what's happening right now," Galvis said. "It's a really tough situation, but we have keep playing hard."

Best of MLB: Michael Conforto powers Mets to win over Padres

Best of MLB: Michael Conforto powers Mets to win over Padres

NEW YORK -- Michael Conforto homered twice and had a career-high four RBIs, including three on two hits during the Mets' biggest first inning in 13 years, and Matt Harvey won his first home start since getting suspended as New York routed the San Diego Padres 9-3 on Tuesday night.

Lucas Duda broke out of a slump with three hits and three RBIs, and manager Terry Collins earned his 500th victory with the Mets. His team got a leadoff homer and a two-run single from Conforto in a seven-run first against Jhoulys Chacin.

Given a huge early cushion, Harvey (3-3) labored through five innings to win for the first time since April 11 at Philadelphia. The embattled former ace was 0-3 in his previous six starts and got banned three days by the Mets after skipping a home game this month following a late night on the town.

Chacin (4-4) got only two outs in the shortest and worst of his 145 career starts over nine major league seasons. He gave up seven runs and eight hits (see full recap).

Rendon, Nationals clobber Mariners
WASHINGTON -- Anthony Rendon homered twice and drove in five runs, Joe Ross returned from the minors to allow one run over a career high-tying eight innings, and the Washington Nationals routed the Seattle Mariners 10-1 on Tuesday night.

Bryce Harper added his 14th homer and Jayson Werth hit his seventh off Chris Bergman (1-2), who allowed all of the Nationals' runs and 14 of their 15 hits.

Rendon doubled before his second homer -- and seventh of the season -- completed an eight-run fourth inning. Ryan Zimmerman also had three hits.

Mike Zunino homered off Ross (2-0) in his return from his own minor league stint. Robinson Cano was hitless in his first game back from the disabled list following a thigh injury as Seattle dropped its fourth straight (see full recap).

Lester pitches 4-hitter in Cubs’ win
CHICAGO -- Jon Lester pitched a four-hitter for Chicago's first complete game of the season, and the Cubs beat Johnny Cueto and the San Francisco Giants 4-1 on Tuesday night in a rainy rematch of last year's playoff opener.

Anthony Rizzo hit a two-run homer as Chicago improved to 5-2 on its nine-game home stand. Kyle Schwarber and Jason Heyward also connected, helping the Cubs bounce back from their 6-4 loss to the Giants on Monday night.

Lester and Cueto hooked up in a memorable pitchers' duel in Game 1 of the NL Division Series last October, with Chicago winning 1-0 on Javier Baez's eighth-inning homer. The Cubs eliminated the Giants in four games and went on to their first World Series title in 108 years.

Lester (3-2) was sharp once again in the low-profile reunion. Cueto (4-4) was just OK, striking out eight in six innings, but surrendering each of Chicago's three homers (see full recap).