Karstens, Tabata Lead Pirates To 2-1 Victory Over Phillies

By Chad Carlson
Photo Credit: AP
After a devastating end to their road trip yesterday in New York, the Pirates opened up a 10-game homestand tonight against their cross-state rivals, the Philadelphia Phillies.  This is the one and only time the Phillies would be in town in this 2011 season, so it was a packed house in PNC Park. 
PNC Park has never hosted a playoff game, but the atmosphere inside the ballpark tonight was reminiscent of a game in late October.  With just as many Phillies’ fans as there were Pirates’ supporters, cheers and boos from opposing sides seemed to follow every pitch throughout the evening. 

FFTS Pregame Show:

Cole Hamels took the hill for the Phillies, so most would have predicted that runs would be at a premium for Pittsburgh.  Hamels certainly didn’t disappoint the Philadelphia fans who traveled across the state to see the club, giving up only one run on one hit, while walking three and striking out four in his eight innings of work. 
What most of us didn’t expect was the performance of Pirates’ starter Jeff Karstens.  The Buccos’ right hander, who wasn’t even considered as a starter before the season began, gave up just one run on four hits through seven innings, lowering his ERA to 3.30.
The Phillies struck first in the game in the sixth inning, when Chase Utley singled to shallow right, allowing Jimmy Rollins to cross the plate.  The Pirates responded quickly in the bottom half of the frame, when Jose Tabata hammered a sacrifice fly to deep center field.  Ronny Cedeno scored on the play, tying the game 1-1 as the inning drew to a close.
The story of the evening for both teams was the pitching.  In addition to strong outings from both starters, the bullpens came in and did their job as well.  Evan Meek, Joel Hanrahan, Daniel McCutchen, and Daniel Moskos each pitched scoreless ball for the Buccos, holding the high-powered Phillies’ offense in check and keeping the Bucs in the game into the 12th inning.
With two outs in the bottom of the 12th frame, Xavier Paul smacked a sinking single to center field, dropping right in front of Shane Victorino.  Paul then stole second base to set the stage for Tabata.  The Buccos’ left fielder hit a seeing-eye single just out of the reach of Utley’s glove, and Paul rounded third and beat the throw to home plate, giving the Pirates a 2-1 victory over the Phillies.
FFTS Postgame Show:
This was a HUGE win for the Pirates.  Following the discouraging loss yesterday to the Mets, tonight, and the rest of this series, was a big test for this young team.  While the Pirates, as a team, only managed five hits, they found a way to win the ballgame…which is what the good teams are able to do.  Andrew McCutchen had two of the five hits, while Dusty Brown, Tabata, and Paul added one a piece.  Tabata, though, was the hero of the night, driving home both RBI’s for the Buccos, including the walk-off base hit.
Not to be outdone, Jeff Karstens pitched an outstanding game.  Despite the heroics of the club on the offensive side of the plate, the story of this 2011 season thus far is the pitching unit as a whole, and if the Pirates are going to continue to be competitive, the pitching will have to keep up the pace. 
The Pirates are now 27-29 and are off to a strong start in this current homestand.  Charlie Morton will start for the Bucs tomorrow in the second of three-game set against the Phillies.
Record Vs. Phillies:  1-0
Record Vs. N.L. East: 5-9
Record At Home: 10-14
Overall Record: 27-29
As Always…
Let’s Go Bucs!

Chad Carlson

Co-Editor of Fans From The Stands, Pirates' Beat Writer For Armchair Report, Sports writer for AMN, SteelTownRock And Music City Encore Editor

Leave a Reply