The Pirates won for a change Tuesday night, prevailing 5-3 against the Phillies thanks to six strong innings from Ivan Nova and a ninth-inning three-run homer from Sean Rodriguez.
Nova struck out 11 and walked just one in what was perhaps his strongest statement yet in a long series of strong statements since joining the Bucs. He gave up one run in the fourth, then allowed another in the sixth on a bizarre play. With runners on first and third and one out, Josh Bell fielding Ryan Howard's grounder and threw to second. Jordy Mercer then threw to first, but Howard beat the throw, perhaps in part because first base ump Alan Porter appeared to grab at Adam Frazier on Frazier's way to receive the throw. I've never seen anything quite like that before. Anyway, a run came in, and Clint Hurdle was ejected arguing the play.
The Pirates tied the game at two in the seventh thanks to a series of walks by Alec Asher and Michael Mariot and a wild pitch by Mariot. But in the eighth, the Phillies went up 3-2 as Felipe Rivero (who's been electric, but more than a little erratic, since arriving from Washington) had a wild inning of his own.
Former Pirates reliever and current Phillies closer Jeanmar Gomez entered in the ninth and promptly got into trouble, walking Francisco Cervelli and allowing a double to Mercer. Rodriguez then pinch-hit for Rivero and, on a 2-2 pitch, blasted a line drive over the opposite field wall to put the Bucs up 5-3. Tony Watson pitched a clean ninth for the save.