National League Preview from The Sports Network|
Thursday, April 25th
(All times eastern)
Pittsburgh Pirates (12-9) at Philadelphia Phillies (9-13), 1:05 p.m.
Probable Starting Pitchers: Pittsburgh - James McDonald (2-2, 4.12)
Philadelphia - Cliff Lee (2-1, 2.83)
(Sports Network) - It's been 10 years since the Pittsburgh Pirates won a road
series against the Philadelphia Phillies.
The Pirates can end their lengthy drought in the City of Brotherly Love with a
win when the two clubs finish a four-game series Thursday afternoon at
Citizens Bank Park.
Pittsburgh last took a series at Philadelphia from April 4-6, 2003, when the
Phillies called Veterans Stadium home. The Pirates lost the opener of this
series on Monday, but have responded with back-to-back victories, including
Wednesday's 5-3 come-from-behind triumph.
Phillies ace Roy Halladay was cruising to the tune of one run in six innings
with eight strikeouts, but the bullpen imploded and Pittsburgh took advantage.
Trailing 3-1 heading into the top of the seventh, Pedro Alvarez hit a solo
homer to make it interesting. Travis Snider and Brandon Inge each had an RBI
single in the eighth and Starling Marte's run-scoring triple in the ninth
capped the scoring.
Alvarez ended with two RBI and Pirates starter Wandy Rodriguez registered a
no-decision with 5 2/3 innings of three-run ball. He also allowed nine hits,
including a pair of home runs to Chase Utley and Ryan Howard.
"Today I didn't have my best stuff, but I tried to compete," Rodriguez said.
"I tried to hold it together to a run or two. I made three mistakes, and they
scored three runs. I had a couple of mistakes with my location. Like I said, I
was just competing."
Vin Mazzaro earned the win with 1 1/3 scoreless frames and Jason Grilli struck
out one in the ninth for his ninth save.
The Pirates have won 11 of their last 15 games and still have St. Louis and
Minnesota to visit on this current road trip. Toeing the rubber for the
Pirates Thursday will be James McDonald, who won his last outing on Saturday
versus Atlanta with six strong innings. He gave up a run and fanned a season
high nine batters to push his record to 2-2 in four starts with a 4.12 ERA.
McDonald is 1-2 with a 5.73 ERA in six games (4 starts) lifetime against the
Philadelphia looks for a series a split Thursday in the finale of an eight-
game homestand. The Phillies have lost two in a row and seven of their last 10
games, and wasted a golden opportunity from Halladay.
"To me, it seemed like two different games, because we did so many things well
early in the game," said Halladay. "Then, later in the game, we didn't do the
things we did earlier."
Mike Adams was saddled with the loss for giving up two runs in the seventh
inning. Antonio Bastardo gave up Alvarez's homer in the seventh.
"I was just flat-out bad," Adams said.
Jimmy Rollins, Domonic Brown and Utley finished with two hits apiece in
The Phillies, who are scheduled to start a five-game road trip Friday against
the New York Mets, have another ace in the hole for Thursday. Cliff Lee takes
the ball for the Phils in hopes of earning a split with the Buccos and is
coming off his worst outing of the season, a 5-0 loss versus St. Louis on
Saturday. Lee allowed a season-high five runs in a season-low five innings.
Lee had lasted at least seven innings in each of his first three starts and is
2-1 with a 2.83 ERA. The left-hander has made three career starts against the
Pirates and has a 1-0 record and a 3.05 ERA to show for it.
Pittsburgh won four of seven matchups with the Phillies a season ago.
04/25 10:27:26 ET