The Phillies and the host Pittsburgh Pirates started late and ended early, with the Bucs prevailing by a 1-0 score in the opener of a weekend series at PNC Park.
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They began the game an hour late due to rain, and ended early in the morning on Saturday when the action extended scoreless until Pittsburgh finally walked it off with a run in the bottom of the 13th inning at approximately 1:05am Eastern Daylight Time.
As you can imagine, the first dozen innings were all about pitching. For the Pirates, it was starter Jeff Locke hurling a strong 6 innings. He allowed 6 hits and one walk. Locke was followed to the mound by solo shutout innings from 4 relievers, then a pair of shutout frames from righty Rob Scahill. Then they received one final shutout inning from former Phillies lefty Antonio Bastardo (1-1) who was credited with his first Pittsburgh victory.
For the Phillies, newcomer Kevin Correia was sharp in his first MLB start of the 2015 season. The 34-year old veteran allowed just 5 hits in 5.2 innings, with 4 strikeouts and 1 walk. Phils’ relievers Elvis Araujo, Ken Giles, and Jeanmar Gomez each walked a bit of a tightrope before the Pirates finally won it off Dustin McGowan (1-2) in that 13th.
Giles frame was particularly interesting from a Phils perspective. The fireballer recorded the first two outs in the 8th, but then allowed an infield single to Josh Harrison, who advanced to 2nd on Giles’ throwing error. Already upset with himself, Giles was then ordered from the bench to intentionally walk Pedro Alvarez, and he was none too happy with that order, prompting visits from both catcher Cameron Rupp and pitching coach Bob McClure.
After walking Alvarez, Giles was still distracted and walked Francisco Cervelli to load the bases. Giles then bore down and struck out Jordy Mercer swinging to get out of the jam. But as he walked off, Giles made an unprofessional public gesture of his frustration.
Back in the dugout, manager Ryne Sandberg and coaches McClure and Larry Bowa each got in the young pitcher’s face, quite obviously laying down the law about leadership, roles on the team, and professionalism.
Following the loss, Sandberg addressed the situation: “Everything’s taken care of in-house. Everything’s fine. I do like to have players with emotions. There’s a time and a place and a situation to show that.”
Frankly, it’s about time someone around the Phillies showed some amount of public frustration in regards to what is happening with this team. Giles wanted a shot at Alvarez. He was showing his competitiveness. Far too many Phillies seem to be happily laying down without such a fight this season.
The two teams don’t get to sleep late, as they’ll be back at it for a late afternoon Saturday tilt at 4:05pm. Veteran Sean O’Sullivan takes the mound for the Phils, and young ace righty Gerrit Cole goes for Pittsburgh.