Wandy Rodriguez didn’t have his best stuff so the hitters bailed him out.
Pinch hitter Brandon Inge hit a tiebreaking RBI single in the eighth inning and the Pittsburgh Pirates rallied to beat the Philadelphia Phillies 5-3 Wednesday night.
Roy Halladay pitched six innings of one-hit ball and Chase Utley and Ryan Howard hit upper-deck solo homers off Rodriguez, but Mike Adams (1-2) couldn’t protect an eighth-inning lead.
Pedro Alvarez hit a solo homer off Antonio Bastardo in the seventh and his RBI single in the fourth was the only hit off Halladay.
Rodriguez remained unbeaten over 11 starts since Aug. 29, 2012. The left-hander was nearly untouchable in his first three starts, allowing just one earned run and five hits in 16 innings. He allowed three runs and nine hits in 5 2-3 innings and got a no-decision.
“He wasn’t as sharp as the last two times,” Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. “The cold weather was gone and the ball was traveling well. He gave us what we needed.”
Halladay struck out eight and walked two in his third consecutive strong start after two awful ones.
Vin Mazzaro (1-0) retired the four batters he faced to earn the win. Mark Melancon worked the eighth and Jason Grilli finished for his ninth save in nine tries.
Down 3-2, the Pirates came back against Adams in the eighth.
Pinch hitter Jose Tabata walked to start the inning and Starling Marte reached on an infield single. Travis Snider failed to get a bunt down, but then lined a tying RBI single. Andrew McCutchen walked to load the bases.
Jeremy Horst replaced Adams and allowed an RBI single to Inge that put the Pirates up 4-3. Horst then retired Neil Walker on a home-to-first double-play grounder to first baseman Howard.
“I’ll do whatever they want me to do,” Inge said.
Marte hit a bloop triple off Utley’s glove in shallow right to make it 5-3 in the ninth.
“We try to play until the end no matter the score,” Alvarez said. “That’s a very good team, so it was a big win, huge really.”
After Jimmy Rollins was thrown out by McCutchen trying to stretch a hit into a double in the first, Utley drove a 1-0 pitch into the second deck in right field for the Phillies’ first homer off a lefty this season.
Utley batted second for the first time this year as manager Charlie Manuel mixed up his lineup after a 2-0 loss. Michael Young moved into Utley’s No. 3 spot.
Halladay got into two-out trouble in the fourth after walking Garrett Jones and hitting Walker with a pitch. Alvarez, just 9 for 61 to that point, then singled in a run.
Howard drove an 0-2 pitch several rows deep into the second deck in right field to give the Phillies a 2-1 lead in the fourth. The 435-foot blast was only Howard’s second homer.
Rodriguez retired the first two batters in the sixth before Ben Revere reached on an infield single. Humberto Quintero followed with a single and pinch-hitter Kevin Frandsen’s RBI single made it 3-1.
The Phillies squandered several opportunities.
They had runners on second and third with one out in the fourth, but Revere popped out. After an intentional walk, Halladay struck out.
It was first and third with no outs in the fifth after Rollins led off with a double and Utley put down a perfect drag bunt. But Young hit into a second-to-home double play because Rollins initially held up on a sharp bouncer to left and then broke for the plate.
“We had a lot of opportunities to score,” Utley said. “You’re not going to capitalize on every one, but it’s time to start.”
Halladay, coming off an injury-plagued, subpar season, raised concerns when he struggled this spring and then allowed 12 runs and 12 hits in 7 1/3 innings in his first two starts. But two-time Cy Young Award winner appears to be back to his old form. He has a 1.71 ERA in his last three starts.
NOTES: Young was 0 for 4 to snap his 14-game hitting streak. ... Halladay is 4-1 with a 1.04 ERA in seven career starts against Pittsburgh. ... Phillies OF Delmon Young will continue his rehab assignment at Triple-A Lehigh Valley on Thursday. Young, who had ankle surgery, is playing right field after being a designated hitter for Detroit last year. ... Phillies C Carlos Ruiz will play for Double-A Reading on Friday and Saturday before joining the team in New York on Sunday when he’s eligible to be activated following a 25-game suspension. ... Philadelphia’s Cliff Lee (2-1, 2.83 ERA) faces James McDonald (2-2, 4.12) when the teams wrap up the four-game series on Thursday afternoon.
Wandy Rodriguez didn’t have his best stuff so the hitters bailed him out.
Richland's Pecora is one of two local wrestlers in state finals
It has never been easy for Nico Pecora to just be himself on the wrestling mat.
He’s always been the son of legendary Pitt-Johnstown coach Pat Pecora. And the younger brother of standout Marco Pecora.
Bengals make low offer to Hawkins
Johnstown’s Andrew Hawkins grew up with the Cincinnati Bengals while following his older brother Artrell Hawkins Jr.’s NFL career.
The younger Hawkins could see himself wearing a Bengals uniform and playing wide receiver in Cincinnati for years to come. But the Bishop McCort High School graduate knows the business side of the NFL sometimes gets in the way of the storybook ending.
Second place little consolation to contenders
Perspective can be a tricky thing in athletics.
Just ask Richland’s Nico Pecora and Bedford’s Jon Gabriel.
Max Murin won the first 36 matches of his varsity career.
But the Central Cambria freshman was disappointed after he dropped two consecutive bouts on Friday night at the PIAA Class AA Wrestling Championships.
Berlin girls avenge earlier loss to Portage
Berlin Brothersvalley was highly motivated to play Portage on Saturday in their PIAA Class A girls’ first-round basketball matchup at Central Cambria High School.
The Mountaineers, who lost at Portage earlier in the season, held the Mustangs to a single basket in the first half on 1 of 21 shooting Saturday and went on to a 59-42 victory.
Shade girls nip Bishop Carroll
Alexis Meck isn’t the first name that comes to mind when the Shade girls’ basketball team is the topic.
On Saturday, her name was the last in the scorebook as the Panthers edged Bishop Carroll 56-54 in a PIAA Class A first-round game at Pitt-Johnstown’s Sports Center.
Conemaugh Township eliminated
After weathering Summit Academy’s first-half dominance and using the third quarter as a springboard to their first lead of Saturday’s PIAA Class AA boys first-round game, it appeared that District 5 champion Conemaugh Township had solved the Knights.
At the very least, the Indians had frustrated them.
Quaker Valley trips Richland in OT
There were just two shots taken in the overtime on Saturday in the first-round PIAA Class AA boys’ basketball game between Quaker Valley and Richland.
The Quakers had both shots including the game-winner by Winter Fondi with time winding down in a 42-40 victory over the Rams in a nailbiter.
Tomahawks drop key decision
Just two weeks ago, the Johnstown Tomahawks had earned points in five straight games, with four victories during that span.
Not so long ago, Johnstown had moved into a tie for second place in the NAHL North Division.
Pitt slips past Clemson in OT
Lamar Patterson had a career-high 30 points, including a 3-pointer with 3 seconds left, as Pittsburgh overcome a five-point deficit in the final seconds of regulation and beat Clemson 83-78 in overtime Saturday.
Patterson’s 3 with 3 seconds left cut the Tigers’ lead to 67-65.
- More Sports Headlines
- Richland's Pecora is one of two local wrestlers in state finals