Bats back Harang as Phillies earn split with Pirates

Aaron Harang battled through a difficult first inning but held the Pirates off the board. The Phillies scored two runs in the bottom of the first.

That was all Harang needed.

The best pitcher in the Phillies rotation thus far this season added another win to his total with a eight-inning gem as the Phillies bats gave Harang an early lead in a 4-2 win over the Pirates on Thursday.

Harang worked around a pair of hits in the first to keep the game scoreless. The Phillies struck for the game's first two runs in the bottom of the first.

With the bases loaded and one out, Cesar Hernandez worked a walk to plate a run. Grady Sizemore followed with an RBI single up the middle.

Another run scored in the third as Sizemore hit a grounder to short that could not be handled by Jordy Mercer. The error allowed Freddy Galvis to score.

In the fifth, Ryan Howard provided the fireworks with a solo shot to right to lead off the inning.

Harang cruised from there, firing eight shutout innings allowing five hits, one walk, one hit batter and striking out six and lowering his ERA to 2.03 on the season.

Harang did benefit from strong defense. Cameron Rupp threw out two baserunners attempting to steal second. The Phillies also turned three double plays, including a strike-out-throw-out twin killing in the fourth.

Ken Giles came on for the ninth and allowed two hits, including an RBI double to break up the shutout bid. Another run scored on an RBI groundout by Pedro AlvarezJonathan Papelbon picked up the final two outs for his eighth save of the season. 

Galvis was 3-for-3, reaching base all four times up. It was his seventh three-hit game of the season. Howard was also 3-for-4 on the day. Rupp was also 2-for-3.

Chase Utley was 0-for-4 on the day, lowering his season batting average to .118.

The Phillies improved to 13-23 on the season with their second straight win, splitting the series with the Pirates. They return to the field on Friday night as they open a three-game series with the Arizona Diamondbacks. First pitch of the series opener is set for 7:05 p.m.

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
PIT 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 2 7 2
PHI 2 0 1 0 1 0 0 0 X 4 11 1
W: Aaron Harang (4-3) 
L: Vance Worley (2-3)
S: Jonathan Papelbon (8) 
Attendance: 29,205

Kevin Durso is a contributing writer and editorial assistant for Philliedelphia. Follow him on Twitter @Kevin_Durso.