Phillies Make Pirates Walk the Plank

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Sep 12, 2016; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia Phillies right fielder Roman Quinn (24) celebrates after win against the Pittsburgh Pirates at Citizens Bank Park. The Phillies defeated the Pirates, 6-2. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 12, 2016; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia Phillies right fielder Roman Quinn (24) celebrates after win against the Pittsburgh Pirates at Citizens Bank Park. The Phillies defeated the Pirates, 6-2. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports /
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The Philadelphia Phillies opened a long homestand with a victory on Monday night over the reeling Pittsburgh Pirates.

In Monday night’s opener of a four-game series between the inter-state rival Philadelphia Phillies and Pittsburgh Pirates, both teams were reeling.

The Phils entered the series having lost three straight games, and having lost 17 of their last 25 contests overall.

The Bucs brought their own three-game losing skid into the game, and had dropped 11 of their last 13 to fall out of the NL Wildcard playoff picture.

By the end of the night, the Phillies had forced the Pirates to walk the proverbial plank by cruising to a 6-2 victory that extended the woes of the western Pennsylvania club.

The two big stars on the night down at Citizens Bank Park were veteran starting pitcher Jeremy Hellickson and rookie center fielder Roman Quinn.

Hellickson (11-9) shut the Pirates down on just three hits and a single unearned run over his 6.1 innings, striking out six while walking three batters.

Quinn, making just his second big league start and his first in front of the home fans, put on a show.

The speedster went 2-4 with a walk, picked up his first career stolen base, and was right in the middle of all the action as the Phils used a big outburst in the 2nd inning to open an early lead.

The Pirates had struck first, scoring their run in the top of the 1st inning when Gregory Polanco reached on a force attempt on which Ryan Howard committed an error, allowing Josh Bell to score the game’s first run.

In the bottom of that 2nd inning, the Phillies got the run back, and then some. They tied it up quickly when Freddy Galvis drilled his 18th home run of the season out on a line to right field off Bucs starter Gerrit Cole.

Odubel Herrera then followed with a base hit, and came all the way around to score the go-ahead run on an RBI double to center off the bat of Cody Asche.

Walks to Hellickson and Cesar Hernandez then brought Quinn to the plate. On a 2-0 pitch, he sliced a fly ball away to left field, bringing home a pair of runs for his first RBI and giving the Phillies a 4-1 lead.

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When Maikel Franco followed that with a ground out that scored Hernandez, the lead was up to 5-1 in favor of the home team, and it was simply up to Hellickson to do the rest.

Quinn wasn’t done with his personal heroics, however. In the bottom of the 6th with Hernandez aboard following a walk, Quinn again doubled, this time to center field. Hernandez easily scored to push the Phillies lead out to a 6-1 margin.

There was one more nice moment for the Phillies when another rookie phenom, Jorge Alfaro, registered his first big league hit.

In the bottom of the 8th, Alfaro came up to pinch-hit for reliever Hector Neris. He dribbled one down the 3rd base line and legged out an infield single.

"“I’m sure Alfaro is going to tell everybody years from now that it was a line drive to center field.”— Phils’ skipper Pete Mackanin, per MLB.com contributors"

Jeanmar Gomez came on in the 9th for the Phillies, and as has been somewhat typical of late, he did not have a clean inning.

He allowed a run on a pair of hits, and committed a throwing error that put the runner who eventually came home into scoring position.

The Pirates, who have enjoyed three straight trips to the NL Wildcard Game in the postseason, have now fallen to four games below the .500 mark and six games out in this year’s NL Wildcard race.

Next: Phils Have No Reason to Rush Crawford

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