The Pirates got a good start from Ivan Nova and three hits from Adam Frazier in a 6-3 win over the Phillies.
Nova was typical Nova. He did get off to a rough start, as a single and double put runners at second and third with nobody out in the first. A ground out brought in one run, but Nova got a pop up and ground out to strand the second runner at third.
After that, a lot of the game was Ivan Nova throwing strikes and getting ground balls. Lots and lots of ground balls. Fourteen ground ball outs. A few of them leaked through for singles, including a pair by Phillies starter Vince Velasquez. But two ended up as double plays.
Meanwhile, the Pirates in the early going didn’t exactly pummel Velasquez, who came into the game with an ERA of 5.63. He especially seemed to solve Josh Bell, who went 0-3 with two whiffs against him. The Pirates tied the game in the third, though, characteristically starting with a two-out single by Frazier. Josh Harrison walked and Andrew McCutchen brought in the run with a line single to right. McCutchen took an outside pitch the opposite way, which was especially good to see. In the fourth, David Freese, who’d been struggling since he returned from the disabled list, lined his fourth HR just inside the foul pole in left.
The Pirates put an end to Velasquez’ outing with a four-run sixth. A one-out walk to Freese, a single by John Jaso and a bad pickoff throw put runners on second and third for Francisco Cervelli, who got them in with a line single to left. Later in the inning, Frazier, who’s now batting .358, and more and more looks like the team’s most indispensable player, got his own two-run single on a hard grounder past third.
The Phillies got to Nova for a second run in the seventh on a ground ball single by Cameron Rupp, but Nova still finished the inning with just 81 pitches thrown. In the eighth Nova gave up a third run on a bunt single and a one-out double. That finished his night. Juan Nicasio got the next two hitters, with the third out coming on a diving stop by Freese. Tony Watson added to his total of saaaavvzz with a 1-2-3 ninth.
Tomorrow Chad Kuhl goes for the series win.