The Pirates had a one-run lead before they made their first out Friday and were gifted a second run on a sloppy play.
A promising start, but it was ruined by a punchless finish.
The Pirates were held to one hit over the final eight innings by right-hander Jeremy Hellickson and three relievers, and the Philadelphia Phillies rolled to a 7-2 victory.
"It just wasn't our night," manager Clint Hurdle said. "We got out-pitched and out-hit."
It's not like Pirates didn't create chances. Josh Harrison and Andrew McCutchen cracked sharp liners that were snared by third baseman Maikel Franco. Jose Osuna squared up two balls but wound up with a pair of flyouts.
"That's part of the game," Harrison said. "You put a swing on it, and sometimes you hit it right on the screws. Sometimes you just miss it. It's something we've got to live with."
For the Pirates, the loss was another gut punch in a confounding season. One day after racking up 10 runs to win a three-game series against the NL East-leading Washington Nationals, they short-circuited against one of the worst teams in the league.
The Phillies won for just the fourth time in 19 games since April 28.
Harrison led off the first inning with a single. Josh Bell followed with an RBI double to the notch in left-center field. Bell has produced an extra-base hit in seven straight games. In that span, he's collected three doubles and four homers.
It's the Pirates' longest such streak since Sid Bream did it in eight games in a row in May 1986. The longest streak in franchise history is 14 set by Paul Waner in June 1927.
With two outs and Bell on third base, Francisco Cervelli hit a routine grounder to short. Freddy Galvis threw the ball away, though, and Bell scored.
The Pirates forced Hellickson to throw 30 pitches in the first inning. He needed only 53 to get through the next five innings as his curveball and changeup came more into play.
"Not a lot of activity," Hurdle said. "Not a lot of hard contact. He made his pitches."
After Bell's double, the Pirates did not get another hit off Hellickson (5-1), who retired the last 10 batters he faced before leaving with an injury.
By the time the Pirates got their next hit — Bell's leadoff single in the ninth — their two-run lead was a five-run deficit.
The Phillies chipped away against Trevor Williams (2-3).
To start the third, Galvis lined a hit into left field and was awarded a double when a fan scooped the rolling, live ball. With one out, Williams walked Hellickson. Cesar Hernandez bounced an RBI single up the middle.
Hernandez drew a leadoff walk in the sixth. Daniel Nava lofted a soft double that landed just beyond the reach of third baseman David Freese and rolled down the line.
"I made a good pitch," Williams said. "He just got enough wood on it for it to be fair."
Aaron Altherr's groundout scored Hernandez. Nava scored on Tommy Joseph's sacrifice fly to make it 3-2.
Williams went 52⁄3 innings and gave up three runs on three soft hits.
"The hardest ball hit off (Williams) all night was the sacrifice fly," Hurdle said. "So I thought some good things happened for him out there. If he gets another out, it's was a 'quality start.' To me, it was quality, regardless."
Hellickson got an RBI double in the seventh but in the process took himself out of the game. After a big cut for a swinging strike, Hellickson grabbed his right side near his waist. He lined the next pitch, a two-seamer from Josh Lindblom, into left field for the double.
Hellickson continued holding his side when he reached the bag and was removed for a pinch runner.
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