View Count: 167 |  Publish Date: July 03, 2013
Phillies' bullpen seals victory over Pirates
Bob Brookover, Inquirer Staff Writer Posted: Wednesday, July 3, 2013, 3:01 AM
PITTSBURGH - It has been a long time since the Phillies had Pirates envy.
Pittsburghs last winning baseball season - 1992 - turned 21 this year, and when a team strings together that many clunkers, it can drive a fan base to drink.
At the moment, however, the PNC Park patrons are overcome with joy about a Pirates team that entered this three-game series against the Phillies with a nine-game winning streak and the best record in baseball.
Phillies manager Charlie Manuel has been impressed with the Bucs.
More coveragePoll: Should the Phillies trade Michael Young? Follow the Phillies: Download our FREE Pro Baseball app!Poll: How many homers will Ryan Howard hit this season?Forum: Will the Phillies make the playoffs?Latest Phillies videos Special section: Top 25 Phillies prospects Should the Phillies trade Michael Young? Yes.No. View results "I see a lot of hustle, a lot of determination," Manuel said Tuesday before his team pulled out a 3-1 victory. "I see good pitching and young players who play hard. They play a lot of one-run games, extra-inning games, and it seems like they win every one of them. Thats a sign of a bullpen holding people. The starting pitching is good, but the bullpen stands out."
As it turned out, the Phillies patchwork bullpen was charged with holding back the Pirates after Jonathan Pettibone handed the ball over with two outs and a two-run lead in the bottom of the sixth inning.
It took six relievers to get the final 10 outs, but the Phillies escaped with a victory that allowed them to even their record at 4-4 on this 10-game road trip.
Rookie righthander Brandon Cumpton, called up from triple-A Indianapolis to fill in for Jeff Locke, held the Phillies scoreless on two hits through five innings, but then he cracked in the sixth. Ryan Howard, hitless on the trip as he stepped to the plate with one out and two on in the sixth, delivered an RBI single for the games first run.
Domonic Brown followed with a sacrifice fly and Howard scored from first base on an RBI double by Delmon Young to make it 3-0.
Pettibone (4-3) held the Pirates scoreless through five and appeared as if he would get through the sixth as well when he induced a double-play grounder from the dangerous Andrew McCutchen. Garrett Jones, however, followed with his eighth home run of the season, and Manuel decided to turn the game over to the bullpen with the worst earned run average in the National League.
Manuel, of course, is well aware of his teams most glaring weakness.
"We definitely need some of our kids to come quick in our bullpen, I will say that," he said before the game. "More than one."
Jake Diekman relieved Pettibone and walked the first batter he faced before Neil Walker was called out on a pitch that was a foot outside.
Phillippe Aumont came on in the seventh and surrendered singles to the first two batters he faced. The first hitter - Jordy Mercer - was erased, however, when he tried to stretch a single to left field into a double and was nailed by a strong throw from Brown. After Travis Snider singled, pinch-hitter Gaby Sanchez flied out to deep center field. The inning ended with a running catch by Young in right by Starling Marte.
The eighth inning started with J.C. Ramirez trotting in from the bullpen. Less than two weeks ago, he was pitching at triple-A Lehigh Valley with a 6.53 ERA. Now, hes getting the ball in the eighth inning at the big-league level with the game on the line.
Ramirez walked Russell Martin before getting Andrew McCutchen on a deep fly to center field.
Antonio Bastardo came on with one out and struck out pinch-hitter Brandon Inge before surrendering a walk to Pedro Alvarez and a single to Walker.
That left Justin De Fratus to face Mercer with the bases loaded and two outs. He ended the inning by getting Mercer to chase a slider out of the strike zone, leaving closer Jonathan Papelbon with the task of recording the final three outs. He retired the Pirates in order for his 16th save of the season.
Contact Bob Brookover at Follow on Twitter @brookob.
Bob BrookoverInquirer Staff Writer #post2 .pw-icon.ra1-pw-icon-reddit {background: url() 0px 0px no-repeat !important;width: 60px !important;height: 20px !important;margin-right:8px;}#post2 .pw-icon.ra1-pw-icon-email {background: url() 0px 0px no-repeat !important;width: 71px !important;height: 28px !important;}9comments

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