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Pirates

Pirates outlast Phillies

| Saturday, Aug. 9, 2008

PHILADELPHIA -- The Pirates haven't allowed a run in 21 consecutive innings. The Philadelphia Phillies haven't scored a run in 23 straight innings.

The intersection of those two streaks Friday night allowed the Pirates to sneak off with a 2-0 victory in 12 innings.

"You just knew it was going to be a nail-biter to the end, and it was," Pirates manager John Russell said.

The Pirates' pitching surge began Wednesday with Jeff Karstens' two-hitter against Arizona. Last night, Paul Maholm picked up the pace by blanking the Phillies through seven innings.

"I don't know what it is, but hopefully, it continues," said Maholm, who wound up with a no-decision. "You just roll with it and let the offense do its job."

Reliever T.J. Beam (1-1) tossed two scoreless innings in relief for the victory. Les Walrond (0-1) took the loss.

The Pirates, held to just two singles through 11 innings, got two doubles and a pair of infield hits in the 12th to win it.

In the ninth inning, Steve Pearce snapped an 0 for 11 funk with a check-swing single off Brad Lidge. In the 12th, Pearce bounced an RBI double just out of the reach of third baseman Greg Dobbs.

"When that fell (in the ninth), I was like, 'I finally got a hit,' " Pearce said. "It gave me confidence going into that next at-bat."

An infield single by pinch-hitter Jack Wilson, who was a late scratch from the lineup due to right shoulder stiffness, loaded the bases. Freddy Sanchez's bouncer up the middle was gloved by shortstop Jimmy Rollins, who had no play, and Pearce scored.

With one out in the bottom of the inning, Craig Hansen walked Jimmy Rollins and Shane Victorino. Chase Utley flied into a double play -- left fielder Brandon Moss made a sliding catch, then fired to second baseman Sanchez, and Victorino was doubled off first base.

"Great play," Russell said. "If that ball gets through, it's a tie game."

It was Hansen's first National League save.

Both teams loaded the bases with two outs in the ninth, but the threats were snuffed by pop-ups. Lidge got Jason Michaels to foul out, and Pirates righty T.J. Beam induced an out from Pat Burrell.

Maholm amassed a career-high 10 strikeouts, which matched the most by a Pirates pitcher this season.

The left-hander went seven innings, and blanked the Phillies on five hits and three walks. It was the 17th consecutive start and 19th out of 23 overall in which Maholm pitched at least six innings.

The Phillies got a runner to second base in each of the first three innings, but Maholm was able to dodge bigger trouble.

Victorino doubled with one out in the first but was stranded at third.

In the second, the Phillies had runners on first and second with one out, but Eric Bruntlett grounded into a double play.

Rollins singled and stole second base in the third. With two outs, Rollins was running again, but Utley struck out swinging. Utley whiffed again with two on and two out in the fifth.

Victorino led off the eighth with a single to center. With two outs and Victorino at second, Burrell hit a deep fly ball to left against reliever Denny Bautista.

Moss drifted back to the wall and made the catch, deflating the sellout crowd of 43,891.

The Pirates couldn't do anything against Joe Blanton. The right-hander worked seven innings and allowed just one hit and two walks. Blanton's seven strikeouts tied his season high.

The Pirates didn't get a hit off Blanton until Doug Mientkiewicz's leadoff single in the fourth. After that, Blanton retired nine consecutive batters until Nate McLouth's leadoff walk in the seventh.

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