The Philadelphia Phillies struck for four runs in the sixth inning, and the Pittsburgh Pirates’ bullpen was unable to save a game for rookie starter Gerrit Cole. The results were a 6-4 win for the Phillies (41-45) over the Pirates (52-32) on the Fourth of July at PNC Park in Pittsburgh, and a 2-games-to-one win in their three-game series with the Bucs.
Cole left the game with one out and two runners on base in the sixth inning and the Bucs leading 2-1, but reliever Vin Mazzaro, who had pitched five perfect innings in his last outing on Sunday, could not retire a batter, allowing three consecutive singles and hitting a batter. Mazarro departed without retiring a batter, and Tony Watson relieved to end the Phillies’ rally. Randy Reid allowed the other Philadelphia run in the eighth inning.
The Phillies scored on an RBI single and an RBI groundout by Ben Revere, a two-run single by Carlos Ruiz, an RBI single by Kevin Frandsen, and a sacrifice fly by Michael Young. Andrew McCutchen contributed a two-run single for the Pirates, while Garrett Jones singled home another run, and a fourth scored when McCutchen hit into an eighth-inning double play.
In five-and-one-third innings, Cole (4-1; 3.94 ERA) was charged with three runs, allowed eight hits, struck out five batters and walked one. The loss stopped Cole’s winning streak at four games. He had become the first Pittsburgh pitcher since Nick Maddox in 1907 to win all of his first four Major League starts. Phillies starter Cole Hamels (3-11; 4.38 ERA) won for only the third time this season. Jonathan Papelbon recorded his 17th save.
On Friday afternoon, the Pirates, who still lead by two games over St. Louis in the National League Central Division, will visit the Chicago Cubs for the first game of a three-game series at Wrigley Field (4:05 PM). Francisco Liriano (7-3; 2.23 ERA) is scheduled to face the Cubs’ Jeff Samardzija (5-7; 3.34 ERA). Saturday’s scheduled starters are Charlie Morton (1-1; 2.50 ERA) for Pittsburgh and Edwin Jackson (4-10; 5.75 ERA) for Chicago. The Bucs’ A.J. Burnett (4-6; 3.12 ERA) may come off the disabled list to face the Cubs’ Carlos Villanueva (2-4; 3.45 ERA) on Sunday. Burnett pitched a simulated game early this week, and threw in a bullpen session on Thursday morning. If Burnett is not available to go, the Pirates will start Jeanmar Gomez (2-0; 2.70 ERA).