Philadelphia Phillies stifled by Jeff Locke


Sep 8, 2014; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard (6) hits an RBI single during the fourth inning of a game against the Pittsburgh Pirates at Citizens Bank Park. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

The Pittsburgh Pirates’ starting pitcher, Jeff Locke, made it difficult for the Philadelphia Phillies to mount much offense as the Pirates took Monday’s series opener 6-4.

Locke went seven innings strong and struck out nine while allowing just three hits on 96 pitches.

While Locke appeared locked in well enough for a shutout, it was the Phillies who got on the board first as Ryan Howard singled to shallow right in the fourth to plate Jimmy Rollins.

Rollins, who tripled to reach base, then left the game after what was ruled a left hamstring strain.

Freddy Galvis came on to replace Rollins at shortstop, going 0-for-1 at the plate.  Cesar Hernandez pinch hit for Galvis in the eighth and drove in a run on a sacrifice fly.

Hernandez was part of an eighth-inning rally in which the Phillies scored three runs.  Chase Utley tripled to bring in two and make it a two-run game, but the runs stopped there as Mark Melancon recorded his 27th save in the ninth.

The combination of Locke and Melancon shut the door on the Phillies’ offense, but it was Jared Hughes who gave up the three runs in the eighth.

Kyle Kendrick allowed a two-run homer to Starling Marte in the fifth, but got roughed up in the eighth as the Pirates tacked on four runs.  The Phillies’ starter could not record an out after seven innings and gave up five earned runs while striking out eight.

Reliever Jake Diekman struggled to get an out himself in the fateful eighth as he gave up an RBI double to Brent Morel, owner of a .171 batting average.

Pittsburgh outhit Philadelphia 12-5 with Andrew McCutchen going 3-for-4.

In four at bats Phillies’ third baseman Maikel Franco struck out once and singled.