For the sixth time this season, the Pirates fell short of extending a four-game winning streak to five. The loss stings a little bit extra because two miscues, two improbable events and a three missed opportunities conspired against the Bucs and contributed to a one-run loss.
With one out in the first, Maikel Franco hit a high pop fly that Neil Walker lost against in the low, heavy, deep gray clouds that hung over the park in the early innings. The ball landed about 20 feet deep on the outfield grass. Walker signaled and appeared to yell early and often that he couldn't see the ball, but Gregory Polanco still pulled up ten feet short on the play. Franco ended up on second with a double and scored when Chase Utley followed with a single.
In the top of the second, Russell Martin attempted to leg out a double on a line drive to left-center field. Domonic Brown made a nice throw to second that beat Martin to the bag by about five feet. Later that inning, Gregory Polanco walked and Jordy Mercer drove him home with a double.
After Freddy Galvis hit a one-out double in the second inning, David Buchanan followed with single up the middle that scored Galvis. Buchanan was batting .040 coming into the game.
In the fifth, Freddy Galvis hit a long leadoff home run deep into the right field seats that tied the game at 3-3. On the night, the Phillies utilityman went 3-for-3, with a single, double and a home run, three runs scored and one RBI. His nine total bases is more than his season total heading into the night (8).
"I left a couple pitches over the middle of the plate," Edinson Volquez said. "The guy hit a homer and the pitcher hit a single through the middle. That was it."
In the fifth, seventh and ninth innings the Pirates had excellent opportunities to tack on runs and failed. For the night, the Bucs when 1-for-8 with RISP.
In the fifth, the Pirates stranded Starling Marte, who hit a one-out double. The ball was originally ruled a home run, but was reversed due to fan interference. Afterwards, Hurdle didn't dispute the reversal, but said that the Phillies still may have caught a break.
"The videotape clearly showed that [ball was not a home run]," Hurdle said. [But] if the fan doesn't touch it [and] it hits the rail, where that bounce goes, I don't know. I don't know. But the fan played, and it may have worked to their advantage."
In the seventh, Andrew McCutchen struck out with with runners on first and second two outs.
In the ninth, Andrew Lambo and Josh Harrison failed to drive home Gregory Polanco, who led off with an infield single and moved over to second on a sacrifice bunt by Jordy Mercer.
"We had three different innings where a base hit would have played well for us," Hurdle said. "We didn't get it."
Volquez frustrated with being pulled
I've mentioned many times that Edinson Volquez is one of the most jovial and talkative members of the Pirates clubhouse. However, after tonight's game he displayed frustration with being pulled in the seventh inning for a pinch hitter and was uncharacteristically reluctant to say much about it afterwards.
Initially, Volquez said he had "no comments" about the evening. When he did begin to talk, he was eventually asked about being removed after the sixth and responded, "Only 90 pitches. I threw only 82 [in my last start] ... I was more than ready to go."
To that point in the game, Volquez had thrown 92 pitches and allowed three runs. Justin Wilson relieved him and allowed the winning run in the seventh on and infield single and a seeing eye single.
"Edinson threw a very competitive game," Hurdle said. "He's growing up. Every time out there he's gaining more self-confidence. That last inning he threw close to 30 pitches and got the big punch-out to end the inning. He continues to compete."
Bucs don't give up ground in wild card
Atlanta, St. Louis, and Milwaukee lost, so the Bucs stay a 1.5 up for the second Wild Card spot.