After dropping three of four to Yasiel Puig and the red hot Los Angeles Dodgers, the Phillies got a much needed off day Monday. The problem was that flying from Los Angeles to Pittsburgh Sunday night is pretty exhausting, and the Phillies weren’t exactly one of the bad Pirates teams we are used to. Instead they were facing the Pittsburgh Pirates, who led by a crazy good bullpen, had the best record and baseball at 51-30. Oh and they happened to be on a nine game winning streak.
Fortunately the Phillies got really good pitching tonight. Jonathan Peittbone overcame some rough fielding in the third inning, to be able to go five and two thirds of one run ball. It was a solid performance from Pettibone on a humid night, but it left ten remaining outs for the bullpen to hold a three run lead.
The Phils got that three run lead in the top half of the sixth, and the source was relieving. Ryan Howard hadn’t hit in nearly a week, including being benched for two nights, until a sixth inning RBI single which plated Chase Utley. Dom Brown then was able to hit a flyball to center field to score Jimmy Rollins from third and give the Phillies a 2-0 advantage. And Delmon Young finished off a big sixth inning with an RBI double to bring Howard home and put the Phils up by three.
As mentioned, Pettibone did allow one run, which came on a Garrett Jones homerun in the bottom of the first inning. That left the bullpen with a two run lead and ten outs to get. And amazingly, they did it.
The Phillies combination of Jake Diekman and Philippe Amount got through the sixth and seventh, largely thanks to Dom Browns cannon of an arm. In the eighth J.C. Ramirez and Antonio Bastardo loaded up the bases before Justin DeFratus threw a nasty pitch on the outside half of the plate, to finish off the eighth. And in the ninth Jonathan Papelbon threw a one, two, three inning to end the game and give the Phillies a series opening win and end the Pirates nine game winning streak.