Phillies Pen Blows Late Lead


The Phillies (9-8-1) fell to the Pittsburgh Pirates this afternoon, 6-5, in a game played at McKechnie Field in Bradenton, Florida. Pedro Alvarez was a one-man wrecking crew for the Bucs, cracking a 2-run homer and a pair of doubles.

Despite Alvarez’ heroics, the Phils held a 5-4 lead into the bottom of the 8th. But the Pirates rallied for a run there against Jake Diekman to tie, and then walked the game off with another in the bottom of the 9th.

More from That Balls Outta Here

The Phillies had used the longball to open up an early 3-0 lead in this one. Brian Bogusevic drove his 3rd homer of the spring, a solo shot in the 2nd to open the scoring.

In the 3rd inning, Cody Asche cracked a 2-run shot to right-center for the 3-0 cushion. It was the 2nd straight game with a homer for Asche. Both blasts came off former Phils starter Vance Worley.

Pittsburgh got a run back in the bottom of the 4th when Alvarez drilled a run-scoring double to center off Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez. It was the only run allowed by the Cuban righthander, who remains in the fight for a back-end rotation spot. MAG allowed 5 hits across 3.1 innings, striking out 1 and walking 1.

In the 6th, the Phillies appeared to be pulling away, scoring twice to open up a 5-1 lead. Russ Canzler doubled to score Bogusevic, and Cameron Rupp followed with a single to score Canzler.

For Rupp, a 1-3 afternoon left his average at .364, and he would appear to be solidly ahead of Tommy Joseph in the battle to back up Carlos Ruiz this season behind home plate in Philly.

The Phillies bullpen would not be able to hold the lead. Ken Giles pitched 1.2 shutout innings, allowing just 1 hit and striking out 2, as he followed MAG and kept the game in the Phils hands for a while. But Mario Hollands was roped around by the Bucs for 3 runs in the bottom of the 6th, including the Alvarez homer, cutting their deficit to just 5-4.

Hector Nerris came on for the Phils, and the righty put out the fire started by Hollands, holding the Phillies lead into the 8th. That was when Diekman allowed the tying run to score.

In the bottom of the 9th, former Phils prospect Sebastian Valle doubled off Jeanmar Gomez, scoring Jordy Mercer with the game-winner.

The Fightin’ Phils return to their spring training home in Clearwater tomorrow for a 1:05pm game vs. the Toronto Blue Jays at Bright House Field.

Cole Hamels is scheduled to take the mound for the Phillies in a game that will be broadcast on TV by both Comcast SportsNet and the MLB Network. The game will also be available on both 94FM and 1210AM local radio.