If you felt confident going into the top of the ninth inning of tonight’s ballgame, you weren’t alone. Jeanmar Gomez has been more than a pleasant surprise this year for the Phillies. He was an afterthought coming out of spring training, but after several relievers failed to lock down the closer role, Gomez stepped right in and and has been one of the league’s best closers ever since. However, tonight was one of those nights where in which Gomez let one slip away. He entered the ninth inning with a one run lead, but quickly allowed the tying and go-ahead runners to get on base with nobody. Sean Rodriguez then delivered a pinch hit, line drive home run that just barely got out in right field, but it was all the Pirates’ (70-73) comeback needed as it propelled them to a 5-3 victory over the Phillies (64-81).
Both teams were kept scoreless through the first two innings of tonight’s ball game, but Adam Frazier got the Pirates on the board first with an RBI single in the top of the third. The Phillies would tie things up in the bottom of the fourth thanks to an error by Frazier that allowed the speedy Roman Quinn to glide home from second. Ryan Howard hustled to beat out a potential game-ending double play to give the Phillies a 2-1 lead in the sixth. A wild pitch in the seventh inning allowed the Pirates to tie the game back up at three, but Freddy Galvis delivered a go-ahead sac fly in the eighth to put the Phils back on top. However, Rodriguez delivered the game-winning homer in the ninth to complete the Pirates’ comeback. Roman Quinn continued to impress in his third big league start, going 2 for 3 tonight with a walk, and two runs scored. Quinn made his third straight start, this one in left field, so Quinn has made a start in each of the three outfield positions in the last three days. Phillies manager Pete Makanin said he would see plenty of time in the outfield, and going 4 for his first 10 at-bats has only helped his cause. On the other hand, Jorge Alfaro struggled at the plate in his first big league start. Alfaro earned his first big league hit in his first career at-bat last night, but went 0 for 4 with two strikeouts in tonight’s game. He did flash some defense, however, with a basket catch right in front of the backstop on a foul ball in the third inning.
Phillies starter Alec Asher provided and six and a third strong innings of work tonight, and he had the team in great position to win when he exited the ballgame. However, the Phillies bullpen didn’t back him up as he did not factor into the decision into tonight’s game. Asher allowed just two runs on four hits and three walks in his six and a third innings of work. Asher now sits at 1-0 with a 1.46 ERA on the year. As I mentioned, Gomez suffered just his fifth blown save of the season while suffering his fourth loss of the season. Gomez allowed three runs on two hits and a walk while failing to record an out in the ninth. Pirates starter Ivan Nova gave his team six solid innings of work, as he allowed just two runs (one earned) on five hits and a walk, but he also did not factor into the decision in tonight’s game. Pirates deliver Felpie Rivero picked up his first victory of the season and improves to 1-4 on the year with a 3.73 ERA after tonight’s game. Pirates closer Tony Watson pitched a perfect ninth inning on the way to preserving the win for his team and picking up his 12th save of the season.
After splitting the first two games in this four game “Keystone Series,” the Phillies and Pirates will play the third game of this series tomorrow night at 7:05 p.m. Jake Thompson (1-5, 6.05 ERA) will take the mound for the Phils against Pirates starter Steven Brault (0-2, 3.38 ERA) at Citizens Bank Park. Thompson will look to provide a strong outing for the Phils and hopefully put the team in a position to pick up another W against their cross-state rivals tomorrow night in Philly.
Photo via Zimbio.com
Tyler King covers the Phillies for PHLSportsNation.com. To contact him, please email him at firstname.lastname@example.org, or message him on Twitter (@t_king26).