MLB: PIRATES 5, PHILLIES 3 -- Bucs rally in the eighth to down Phils
PHILADELPHIA — 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 on 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.
After Andrew McCutchen walked to load the bases, Jeremy Horst replaced Adams and immediately allowed an RBI single to Inge that put the Pirates up 4-3. Horst then retired Neil Walker on a 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 a day earlier. 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 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 the 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. ... 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.