For the second game in a row, the Pirates got a middling start against a pretty good one from one of Philadelphia's better pitchers. Neither Good James McDonald nor Bad James McDonald was anywhere to be seen today; instead, Middling James McDonald made an appearance with the ability to occasionally get some big strikeouts (he struck out Domonic Brown and Ezequiel Carerra with Ryan Howard on third and one out in the second), but he still walked three hitters in 5+ innings and threw a bunch of pitches and left a big mess on the table for Justin Wilson in the sixth inning without recording an out. Wilson mopped things up nicely, though, and Tony Watson followed up behind him to give the bullpen four innings of one-run relief.
That was all the Pirates needed. Facing a 3-1 deficit, they rallied for two runs against a clearly tired Cliff Lee in the seventh inning then picked up three more against the Phillies' terrible bullpen in the eighth. One day after Brandon Inge pinch hit for Garrett Jones and drove in the go-ahead run with a bases-loaded single, Garrett Jones pinch hit for Brandon Inge and delivered a go-ahead bases-loaded double.
Earlier in the game, Gaby Sanchez delivered his second homer of the series and drove in half of the Pirates' six runs. Mike McKenry had the big game-tying single in the seventh. Pedro Alvarez had two singles and two of the longest bases loaded foul balls anyone has ever seen, I think, though he ended up not driving in any runs. Starling Marte had two more hits and drew a walk and scored twice, including once on a sac fly to shallow right-center field. Andrew McCutchen broke his 0-for-17 slump with a two-out single in the seventh that lead to Sanchez and McKenry's run-scoring singles that tied the game.
This was a good series in Philadelphia, is what I'm saying. I can't imagine that too many teams, if any, have won games started by Hamels, Lee, and Halladay on successive days. The Pirates are 13-9 and have won 12 of their last 16. Next up: St. Louis.
I don't want to be mistaken for being optimistic, but the Bucs seem to look like they might have some understanding of possibly how to maybe play the game.
(Did I qualify that enough?)
Tom Singer @Tom_Singer 1h
This was the 18th time Hamels-Halladay-Lee succeeded each other in Phils rotation -- and first time #Phillies have lost all 3. #Pirates #MLB