- Updated: July 6, 2014
Coming off a losing series in Miami, the Phillies traveled to Pittsburgh to continue their 10 game road trip. PNC Park, one of the most beloved ballparks in America, has never been kind to the Phils. The team has a career losing record at PNC since it opened.
A.J. Burnett started Sunday’s matinee against his old mates in black and gold, looking to deny them a sweep over the Phils. He was given an early 1-0 lead when fellow former Pirate Marlon Byrd singled home Jimmy Rollins. Rollins had reached on a throwing error by third baseman Pedro Alvarez. otherwise it would have been a nine pitch inning for Bucco starter Jeff Locke.
Burnett would strike out the side in the bottom of the first, but not before allowing the Pirates to take the lead. He got the first two batters swinging, then allowed a single to reigning National League MVP Andrew McCutchen. Cutch would take third on a single by second baseman Neil Walker. Walker would then steal second, and both he and McCutchen would score on a double by Russell Martin to give the Bucs a 2-1 lead.
A.J. would give up a third run in the bottom of the third, when Josh Harrison led off with a triple. He would score two batters later on a sacrifice fly from Walker. Burnett did not allow a run from there, finishing with three earned runs in seven innings. He allowed five hits and struck out seven Pirates.
The Phils cut the deficit to 3-2 in the seventh when Byrd hit his 18th home run of the season, a solo shot. Byrd accounted for both Phillie runs today, now with 52 runs batted in for the season.
The Philadelphia bullpen, solid for much of 2014, failed to hold the deficit in the late innings today. Justin De Fratus started the 8th inning, and Harrison would reach base on an error by Cody Asche at third. McCutchen then launched a ball deep to center field that bounced off the wall. Harrison scored to make it 4-2 Pirates.
Jake Diekman would replace De Fratus, and he got one out before walking Martin intentionally. He then hit first baseman Gaby Sanchez unintentionally to load the bases. Starling Marte then singled to left center-field to bring Cutch home for a 5-2 lead. The Pirates tacked on another run in the inning to lead it 6-2.
The Phillies did not score in the ninth inning, and are now 1-5 on this road trip. They were swept for the second time in as many weeks, and this marked the first sweep this season by the Pirates.
The Phils were not patient at all this entire series, making many quick outs and making things easy for opposing pitchers. Jeff Locke made easy work of the Phils today, allowing just three hits in eight innings of work. He allowed two runs, one of which was unearned, and walked only one.
The Phillies had only two chances today with men in scoring position, going 1-2. They left two men on base, but there hardly any men on base all game long.
Burnett was saddled with the loss, his record now stands at 5-8. The Phillies’ record is now 37-51 following another sweep on the road, good for dead last in the National League Eastern Division.
They now head to Milwaukee to begin a four game series with the first place Milwaukee Brewers. Cole Hamels takes the mound against Marco Estrada for the Brew Crew.
Stats Courtesy of Phillies.com
Photo Courtesy of Philadelphia.CBSLocal.com