Jun 26, 2012; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates second baseman Neil Walker (18) throws to first base to complete the double play after forcing Philadelphia Phillies first baseman Ty Wigginton (24) at second base during the eighth inning at Citizens Bank Park. The Phillies defeated the Pirates 5-4. Mandatory Credit: Howard Smith-US PRESSWIRE
The Phillies poked away at Erik Bedard in the early innings, scoring one in the first (on a triple by Hunter Pence and a grounder for an RBI single by Carlos Ruiz), one in the second (on an RBI single by Placido Polanco) and two in the third (on a two-run shot by Ty Wigginton). The Bucs meanwhile, got only one run in that span -- it came in the second inning when Pedro Alvarez doubled and Michael McKenry brought him home with a sacrifice fly.
The Pirates climbed back into the game after that. In the sixth, Andrew McCutchen doubled, and Casey McGehee singled him home. Then in the seventh, Clint Barmes walked, McKenry singled, and Drew Sutton brought Barmes home with an opposite-field double in his first at-bat as a Pirate, making it 4-3. That chased Vance Worley, who'd accumulated five strikeouts, from the game, and the Phillies replaced him with Michael Schwimer, who got a groundout and a double play to end the inning, as John Mayberry easily gunned down McKenry as he tried to come home on a sacrifice fly.
Juan Cruz got through the bottom of the seventh without incident, but gave up a mammoth solo homer to Ruiz to lead off the bottom of the eighth, then allowed a walk and a single before Clint Hurdle called on Tony Watson, who got a strikeout and a double play to end the threat. McKenry homered in the bottom of the ninth, but the Pirates couldn't manage any more offense, and they lost 5-4.
Hopefully the Pirates can salvage this series with what figure to be two good pitching matchups on Wednesday and Thursday. I thought this would probably be the toughest game of the series for them, with Vance Worley on the hill.
UPDATE from David: There was a lot more angst than Charlie let on with his recap as those on Twitter tonight certainly know.
The Pirates were able to come back against Worley. Drew Sutton got the big pinch-hit double in the seventh innning to make it 4-3 and setting up runners on second and third and only one out. Unfortunately, Jose Tabata bounced a 1-0 fastball back to the mound in a pretty terrible at bat. Then, as Charlie mentions, Neil Walker hit a medium fly ball to left and Nick Leyva decided to send The Fort on John Mayberry, Jr. There has been tons of debate as to whether McKenry should have been sent with Andrew McCutchen on deck. As Clint Hurdle mentioned in the postgame, the Phillies were likely to walk Cutch bringing up Garrett Jones. At that point the Phils probably counter with Antonio Bastardo, the Pirates with Josh Harrison. We'll never know, as McKenry got thrown out by a few steps on a perfect throw. Unfortunately, Jerry Meals wasn't behind the plate, because even though the ball arrived well ahead of the runner, Ruiz's tag was high and McKenry probably was safe. I didn't mind the decision to send The Fort, but I know many others did.
Equally disturbing was Cutch leading the eighth off with a roped double off the left field wall against Bastardo and being left there. Josh Harrison came on to pinch-hit for Jones. I'm guessing even if you didn't see the game you know what came next. Hurdle went with the bunt, a decision seemingly universally disapproved of even before the result. Harrison fouled out to the catcher, his third failed sacrifice in a row, and then Casey McGehee popped out to first. Pedro Alvarez had little chance against the tough lefty Bastardo.
Juan Cruz, who continues to put himself in the conversation as to whether it will be he or Chris Resop who gets DFA'd if Chris Leroux is brought back to the 25-man, gave up the massive homer which The Fort (3-3, HR) got back in the ninth, but to no avail.
It was a tremendously frustrating game and I'm sure the comments will reflect all of it.