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Phillies Pile Up Runs In Jeff Karstens' Return As Pirates Lose 8-3

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I tuned in to this one a bit late and was immediately treated to a sentence I had never heard from a broadcaster before, something about a play in which the right fielder made an error, the third baseman made an error, the left fielder got struck by lightning, the first baseman got gored by a dinosaur, and the pitcher tripped over an elf. It wasn't a very good play. But that's how the first inning went for Jeff Karstens, as he fell prey to one well-placed ball and poor defensive play after another (Jose Tabata made two throwing errors in the inning, and Pedro Alvarez had one), and after the Phillies piled up four runs as a result, the Pirates never really caught up.

The Bucs looked like they might have a chance to do so in the top of the second after Alvarez and Michael McKenry singled, but Clint Barmes grounded into a double play. (If you're wondering why McKenry was in there, it's because Rod Barajas suffered a knee injury on a play at the plate in the first. See, I told you it was bad.)

The Pirates got one back on an opposite-field homer by Tabata (?!?!) in the third, but the Phillies answered in the bottom of the inning with an RBI single by Placido Polanco. The Bucs got another in the top of the fourth on a Barmes RBI single, but again, the Phillies were ready, answering with a two-run jack by Jimmy Rollins. Andrew McCutchen had an RBI single in the fifth, and Karstens left at the end of that inning, having allowed seven runs, six earned, while striking out four and walking none in five innings.

Meanwhile, the Pirates' comeback attempts against Joe Blanton might have gone better had they not been striking out all the time -- the Bucs struck out eight times in Blanton's seven innings, which was a little annoying, because if you get into a hole against him, it's certainly possible to claw out of it, given his recent propensity to allow a zillion homers a game. The Bucs also hit into three double plays, two of them against Phillies relievers.

The Phillies got one more run in the seventh, when Doug Slaten, pitching his second inning in what might turn out to be his last appearance as a Pirate, allowed a leadoff single and then three straight walks. He then struck out the side to cap a bizarre inning of work.

Lots of fun stuff on the site earlier today, in case you missed it:

-P- Vlad investigates the Pirates' chances of signing players remaining from their draft class.

-P- David Manel's latest on the Pirates' return to average.

-P- The new podcast, with David Todd and me.