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Fourth-inning outburst dooms Phillies in loss to Pirates

By Theo DeRosa, Sports Talk Philly staff 

Final: Pirates 5, Phillies 2 

PHILADELPHIA—As the unflattering stats rolled across the screen, Maikel Franco lifted a ball off the end of the bat to right field.

Tom McCarthy and Ben Davis were discussing the 2017 Phillies' inabilities to score with runners on third and fewer with two outs. The team's average was just .217 in such situations, compared to a surprisingly lofty MLB-wide mark of .323. 

Daniel Nava was on third base and Freddy Galvis on first with one out in the seventh, as the Phillies trailed the Pirates 5-2 at Citizens Bank Park on Wednesday night. Franco stood in and hit a fly ball out to medium-depth right field.

This should be enough to score Nava, McCarthy mused. But it wasn't.

Gregory Polanco snared the ball and fired home. His throw was up the third-base line a bit, but so was Nava. It was an inning-ending double play, putting an abrupt end to the Phils' last credible rally of the night and highlighting once again their struggles to bring home runners in scoring position.

By contrast, the Pirates took a 4-2 lead in the fourth with two outs. On a two-run single. By the pitcher, Gerrit Cole. That was enough offense for the Bucs to beat the Phils, 5-2, on Wednesday and clinch at least a split of the four-game set. 

WP: Gerrit Cole (5-6, 4.38)  ❖  LP: Ben Lively (1-4, 4.28)

Hub:   Game Summary      Starting Pitchers     At the Plate      Bullpen      What's Next

Game Summary

  1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
PIT 0 0 0 4 0 1 0 0 0 5 8 1
PHI 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 10 1

Franco got the Phillies rolling in the first with a two-run shot to left on a fairly obvious mistake pitch from Cole. The hard-throwing righty settled down, though, to get through six innings without allowing any more runs.

Ben Lively, who has tended to get off to rough starts, saved his struggles for his fourth and final inning. The rookie right-hander allowed a triple on a ball off the wall in right with one on and one out in the inning — Nick Williams crashed into the wall but couldn't make the catch — and a sac fly to bring in the first two runs. Polanco singled, Francisco Cervelli walked and Jordy Mercer reached on an error. Then Cole sent a ball up the middle that a diving Freddy Galvis couldn't reach, giving the Pirates the lead.

Mercer tripled in a fifth Pittsburgh run in the sixth when he sent a ball to the wall in right-center that Odúbel Herrera couldn't stop on his route to pick up the ball, scoring David Freese from first.

Cole struck out Andrew Knapp with a runner on to end the sixth and gave way to Hudson in the seventh. Hudson struck out pinch-hitter Ty Kelly with ease but allowed a double to Daniel Nava, who was 3-3 with a walk, and a single to Galvis. Franco flied into the double play to end the threat, though.  

Juan Nicasio pitched a scoreless eighth and Felipe Rivero closed out the Phillies with a scoreless ninth. Rivero struck out the side around one hit, recording the last three of the thirteen strikeouts for Pittsburgh pitching on the night.

Thursday's series finale will begin at an odd time: 6:05 p.m. Chad Kuhl will face Jeremy Hellickson, who pitched very well against the Pirates in his last start against the club.

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Starting Pitchers

Gerrit Cole 6.0 7 2 2 1 8 1 4.43
Ben Lively 4.0 5 4 2 1 4 0 3.80

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At the Plate


  • Maikel Franco: 1-4, R, HR, 2 RBI, .219 AVG
  • Daniel Nava: 3-4, R, 2B, BB, .313 AVG
  • Odúbel Herrera: 2-4, .257 AVG


  • Jordy Mercer: 2-4, 3B, RBI, .256 AVG
  • Gerrit Cole: 1-2, 2 RBI, .133 AVG
  • David Freese: 1-1, R, RBI, 2 BB, .255 AVG

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  • Adam Morgan (5th): 3.0 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 2 SO, 0 HR, 6.23 ERA
  • Luís García (8th): 1.2 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 1 SO, 1 HR, 2.70 ERA
  • Hoby Milner (9th): 0.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 0 SO, 0 HR, 3.38 ERA


  • Daniel Hudson (7th): 1.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 1 SO, 0 HR, 4.42 ERA
  • Juan Nicasio (8th): 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 1 SO, 0 HR, 2.61 ERA
  • Felipe Rivero (9th): 1.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 3 SO, 0 HR, 0.78 ERA

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What's Next

  • Thursday, July 6, 2017: at Boston Red Sox, 6:05 p.m.
    • Citizens Bank Park
    • RHP Chad Kuhl (2-6, 5.26 ERA) vs. RHP Jeremy Hellickson (5-5, 4.48 ERA)
    • TV: CSN; Radio: SportsRadio 94 WIP

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