(Sports Network) - The winning streak is over for the Pittsburgh Pirates, but
all is not lost. They will try to start a new streak Wednesday in the middle
test of a three-game series versus the Philadelphia Phillies.
The Pirates still have the best record in the major leagues at 51-31 and are
one of the top clubs at home as evidenced by their 28-14 mark at PNC Park.
Pittsburgh dropped a 3-1 decision to the Phillies in Tuesday's series opener
and starting pitcher Brandon Cumpton, who was recalled from Triple-A
Indianapolis prior to the game, allowed all three runs in five innings.
"He continues to come in, throw strikes, be aggressive," Pirates manager Clint
Hurdle said of Cumpton. "It was efficient and he was sharp through five
Garrett Jones hit a home run for the Pirates, who are two games ahead of St.
Louis for the NL Central lead and will try to avoid losing consecutive games
for the first time since a three-game slide from June 3-5. The nine-game
winning streak was the longest since a 10-game run back in 2004.
After this Keystone State series with the Phillies, the Pirates will visit the
Chicago Cubs for three games. But Jeff Locke will try to even the series
versus Philadelphia when he takes the mound Wednesday. Locke was originally
scheduled to pitch the series opener, but received an extra days' rest.
Locke is 7-0 with a 1.79 earned run average in his last 15 starts since losing
his season debut on April 7 at Los Angeles. He tossed seven innings of two-run
ball in last Tuesday's 9-4 win at Seattle and is 7-1 overall with a 2.06 ERA.
The left-hander faced Philadelphia for the first time on April 23 and spun six
scoreless innings in a 2-0 victory.
Locke is 3-0 in seven home starts this season.
The Phillies halted a two-game slide and improved to 4-4 on a 10-game road
trip. Ryan Howard broke out of an 0-for-22 slump by stroking an RBI single
during a three-run sixth inning and went 2-for-4 with a run scored.
"It felt good to be able to get out there and get a knock and put the team
up," Howard said. "It felt good to get out there and run around a little bit."
Domonic Brown and Delmon Young had an RBI apiece for the Phillies, who lost
three of four in Los Angeles over the weekend. Chase Utley was 0-for-3 with a
run scored and had hit safely in each of his previous nine games.
Phils starting pitcher Jonathan Pettibone held the red-hot Pirates to a run
and three hits in 5 2/3 innings for the win, while the bullpen took care of
the rest. Closer Jonathan Papelbon was the sixth reliever used by the Phillies
and he tossed a scoreless ninth for his 16th save. Justin De Fratus struck out
Jordy Mercer with two out and the bases loaded in the eighth.
"It was great," Pettibone said of the bullpen. "They picked me up big time
tonight from the sixth inning on. Maybe the last couple of games haven't gone
their way, so it was good for them to kind of get back on track."
The Phillies still have two more games in Pittsburgh before heading to
Citizens Bank Park for 10 games versus Atlanta, Washington and the Chicago
John Lannan draws the start for the Phillies Wednesday and he earned his first
win of the season in Friday's 16-1 rout of the Dodgers. Lannan allowed one run
in seven innings to end his winless start to the season and is 1-2 in six
innings with a 4.83 ERA.
Lannan, a left-hander, went 3-for-4 with an RBI and a run scored at Dodger
Stadium and is 1-4 with a 4.53 ERA in nine career starts against the Pirates.
Pittsburgh won three of four in a late April series with Philadelphia and is
7-4 in the past 11 matchups between the Keystone State rivals. The Phils have
not won a series in Pittsburgh since April 25-27, 2008.
The Sports Network