Pirates rally to win series in Philly
PHILADELPHIA — Stepping to the plate to pinch-hit with the bases loaded and the score tied in the eighth inning is not what Garrett Jones considers a pressure situation.
The pressure at that point, he said, is on the pitcher. On Thursday that pitcher was Phillies reliever Phillippe Aumont (1-3), who had already hit Clint Barmes and given up singles to Travis Snider and Starling Marte with one out.
Jones got a fastball in a hitter's count and drove it to the outfield, just as he'd hoped to do. Two runs scored to spark a three-run inning and another comeback win for the Pirates, 6-4, at Citizens Bank Park.
“He's trying to make pitches, and he's got to come to you,” said Jones, a career .375 batter with the bases loaded. “He doesn't want to walk you, so he's trying to throw strikes, and as a hitter you just want to feel relaxed and get a pitch over the plate and drive it.”
In addition to Jones' two-run double, platoon-mate Gaby Sanchez homered off Phillies starter Cliff Lee in the sixth inning and added an RBI single in a two-run seventh to make the score 3-2 before driving in another run with a sacrifice fly in the eighth.
Lee held the Pirates scoreless on five hits through five innings, but Phillies manager Charlie Manuel left him on the mound to face Michael McKenry in the seventh with one run in, runners on first and third and two outs. McKenry responded with an RBI single to tie it at 3.
The Pirates have a three-game winning streak for the third time this season and have won 10 of their past 13 games. After going 2-4 on their first road trip of the year, they took the series from the Phillies, 3-1, for their first series win in Philadelphia since April 4-6, 2003, when the teams were playing at Veterans Stadium.
“Whenever you come into this ballpark, Philly's a tough team to play, and we all know that,” Sanchez said. “Everybody knows that in the league. To come over here and do what we did, it's definitely something that's uplifting for us.”
James McDonald allowed one run on three hits through five innings but got into trouble in the sixth.
McDonald, one outing removed from the worst start of his major league career, walked Kevin Frandsen and allowed consecutive singles by Chase Utley and Ryan Howard, scoring Frandsen. Manager Clint Hurdle brought in Justin Wilson (2-0), who allowed a sacrifice fly to Domonic Brown to score Howard for a 3-1 Phillies lead.
Still, Hurdle and McDonald felt it was progress for the right-hander, who gave up eight runs in 1 2⁄3 innings on April 15 against the Cardinals then allowed just one run in six innings Saturday against the Braves.
“I went out there and battled and made pitches when I had to,” McDonald said. “I got in a little trouble, but overall I'm happy with the way I competed. … No matter the situation, it felt like I was in control. I was one pitch away from getting out of it.”