Harang Strong Again in Phils Matinee Win


6. Final. 2. 4. 4

The Phillies came to play on a gorgeous afternoon at Citizens Bank Park, fighting their way to a series split with the visiting Pittsburgh Pirates thanks to a 4-2 victory.

The Phils broke out on top with a pair of first inning runs. Ben Revere led it off by reaching on an error by Bucs 2nd baseman Neil Walker, and Freddy Galvis followed with a base hit to right. One out later, Ryan Howard singled to load the bases.

Pirates starter and ex-Phil Vance Worley then walked Cesar Hernandez, forcing in the first run of the game. Grady Sizemore followed with a single to center, and Galvis scored to make it a 2-0 game. Odubel Herrera then grounded into a 4-6-3 double play to keep the Pittsburgh damage to a minimum.

In the bottom of the 3rd, the Phillies got their 3rd run. Galvis led off with a base hit and went to 3rd on a one-out single from Howard. Then with two outs, Sizemore grounded to shortstop Jordy Mercer, whose error allowed him to reach, and Galvis to score.

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Trailing 3-0 and lucky to only be down by that small a deficit, Worley (2-3) was pulled for a pinch-hitter in the top of the 5th. In his 4 innings pitched, he threw 81 pitches, just 46 for strikes. He allowed 8 hits, walked a batter, and struck out nobody.

It didn’t get much better with new Pirates pitcher Radhames Liz as Howard greeted him with a blast to right, his 3rd hit of the game, and the 7th homer of the season from The Big Piece, putting the Phils up 4-0 through 5 innings.

Meanwhile, Aaron Harang was rolling along for the Fightin’ Phils. The big righthander continued his strong season with 8 shutout innings, allowing just 5 hits and a walk, striking out a half-dozen. His season ERA sits at a dominating 2.03 level, and he is increasingly making himself a legitimate trade chip/target.

Harang (4-3) was followed to the mound by Ken Giles, who was sent in to close it out after Jonathan Papelbon threw the previous two games, including last night’s record-setting performance. Giles was not up to the challenge on this day, allowing the Pirates to get back into the game.

Josh Harrison led off the top of the 9th with a single off Giles. With one out, Starling Marte drove an rbi double to center field, cutting the Phils lead to 4-1. That prompted Phils manager Ryne Sandberg to make the move to Papelbon once again.

Papelbon was greeted by Marte bolting for 3rd immediately, where he advanced without a play. When Pedro Alvarez grounded out, Marte scored, and the lead was down to 4-2. Still, there were two outs. Papelbon quickly got two strikes on Mercer, but one strike away from the win, he hit the Bucs shortstop on the back, directly between the numbers.

Now the game was a bit hairy all of a sudden. Pirates manager Clint Hurdle had rested star MVP outfielder Andrew McCutchen in the matinée, and decided to pull him out at this point as the tying run. Papelbon bore down, and won the confrontation, getting Cutch to pop out to 1st base to end the game, recording his 8th Save on the season.

The Phillies will now welcome in the Arizona Diamondbacks to wrap up this homestand with a three game series over the weekend. In Friday’s 7:05pm opener it will be Chad Billingsley getting his 3rd start, taking on Chase Anderson for the DBacks.