Pirates See an End To 9-Game Winning Streak
By CHRIS ADAMSKI
PITTSBURGH – Jonathan Pettibone pitched neatly into the sixth inning, and the Philadelphia Phillies snapped the Pittsburgh Pirates’ nine-game winning streak with a 3-1 victory Tuesday night.
The surprising Pirates missed out on a chance to win 10 in a row for the first time since 2004, but the NL Central leaders still have the major leagues best record at 51-31.
Phillies slugger Ryan Howard ended an 0-for-22 slump – 12 strikeouts – with an RBI single in a three-run sixth to open the game’s scoring. Howard and Michael Young each had two hits for Philadelphia, which scored all of its runs against Pirates rookie spot starter Brandon Cumpton.
Pettibone (4-3) won for the first time since May 14 – a span of nine starts – by limiting Pittsburgh’s offense to Garrett Jones’ homer in the sixth. In 5 2-3 innings, Pettibone gave up three hits.
The rookie right-hander was lifted after Jones’ shot, his eighth of the season. Philadelphia’s much-maligned bullpen repeatedly worked around trouble for 3 1-3 scoreless innings to finish off the Phillies’ second win over their past five games.
Cumpton (0-1) got the ball because Jeff Locke was forced to warm up in the bullpen during the 14th inning Sunday.
Jake Diekman got the final out of the sixth and Phillippe Aumont survived four well-hit balls to pitch a scoreless seventh. J.R. Ramirez, Antonio Bastardo and Justin De Fratus worked around two walks and a single in the eighth. Jonathan Papelbon improved to 16 for 20 in save situations with a perfect ninth.
But little else during the victory came easy for the Phillies, who began the day 9 1-2 games back in the National League East. Philadelphia relievers, who entered Tuesday with the worst ERA in the NL, allowed six baserunners over the 2 1-3 innings not pitched by closer Papelbon.
None scored, though. De Fratus stuck out Jordy Mercer swinging with the bases loaded and two outs in the eighth.
After four baserunners reached through five, Cumpton ran into trouble during the sixth inning for the second time over his three career major league starts.
Domonic Brown followed Howard’s RBI single with a sacrifice fly and Delmon Young made it 3-0 when he doubled in Howard.
Those were the first earned runs allowed by Pittsburgh pitchers over a span of 22 1-3 innings. Before the sixth inning Tuesday, the Pirates had allowed one earned run over the prior 36 frames.