Select Page

By Chad Carlson

Photo Credit: Drew Hallowell/Getty Images
The Pirates entered the final game of their most recent seven game road trip trying to avoid a sweep at the hands of their cross-state rivals, the Philadelphia Phillies.  After surrendering 17 runs in the first two games of the series, the Pirates turned to Jeff Karstens to keep the Phillies’ bats under control this afternoon at Citizens Bank Ballpark.

Despite Karstens’ strong performance today, the Phillies still came up with the big hits when they needed to, coming back late to tie the Pirates and eventually stealing a walk-off victory 6-5 in 10 innings in front of their home crowd.

Phillies’ starter Vance Worley pitched six innings, giving up four runs on seven hits, while striking out seven and giving up one homerun on the afternoon.  While he earned a no-decision in the game, his ERA still sits at an impressive 2.33 for the season.

As for Karstens, he gave up just three hits on seven hits through seven innings against the stacked Phillies’ lineup. 

The Phillies took the early lead in the second inning when Raul Ibanez hammered a solo homerun off Karstens.  It would be the first of three hits for Ibanez, who also had another homerun as well as a double, which proved to be very costly to the Pirates.

Pittsburgh took their first lead of the series in the fifth inning when Xavier Paul slapped an RBI single to left field, scoring Brandon Wood and Eric Fryer.  The lead didn’t last long, though, as Jimmy Rollins singled home Brian Schneider and Michael Martinez to give the Phillies the lead right back, 3-2.

Lyle Overbay answered for Pittsburgh with a surprising two-run homerun in the sixth inning, scoring Neil Walker and giving the Bucs a 4-3 lead.  Garrett Jones’ RBI double in the seventh gave the Pirates a 5-3 advantage, and, at the time, it seemed as though the Pirates had that very important insurance run for their almost-always reliable bullpen.

Ibanez’s second hit of the game, which was a two-run homerun to deep left center field, came off Jose Veras and also scored Hunter Pence, tying the game, 5-5.

After the teams traded zeros over the next few half innings, Ibanez closed out the game for Philadelphia with an RBI double off the Bucs’ Tony Watson to right field, scoring Pence once again.  The Phillies, and the capacity audience at Citizens Bank Ballpark, celebrated fanatically, while the Pirates walked off the field in disappointment.

Coming into this series, we, as fans, were hoping for one victory against the Phillies.  Unfortunately, the Pirates’ starters gave up the lead early, the bullpen had a few hiccups, and the offense simply couldn’t keep up with the high-powered Phillies’ lineup.  While it is very disappointing to be swept in this series, it’s important for everyone to realize just where the Pirates stand in comparison to the top teams in the National League.

The Phillies are a phenomenal team, with a complete starting pitching rotation, a dominating bullpen, and an offense that is stacked from top to bottom.  They are the team to beat in the National League, and they proved that in this series against a Pirates’ team who was beginning to garner quite a bit of national attention.

Thankfully, the Pirates are returning home to face a couple of teams at the bottom of the National League standings.  First up are the Chicago Cubs, who will come to PNC Park for a four game series beginning tomorrow night.  The Pirates will send Paul Maholm to the mound.

Record Vs. Phillies: 2-4
Record Vs. N.L. East: 12-19
Record On The Road: 28-27
Overall Record: 54-52

And…

As Always…

Let’s Go Bucs!