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June 13, 2015

Pirates 4, Phillies 3: Early defensive mistakes cost O'Sullivan, Phils

Unlike Friday night's struggle, the Phillies were able to muster some offense on Saturday in Pittsburgh. The result was the same, though, as the Pirates earned another one-run win with a 4-3 victory over the Phils. It's now nine consecutive road losses for a team that sits at an ugly/hideous/whatever-you-want-to-call-it 7-25 away from Citizens Bank Park. 

Sean O'Sullivan gave up four runs in the first two innings, and a couple of defensive mistakes really came back to bite to Phillies as O'Sullivan and the bullpen kept the Buccos off the board for the rest of the game. That, and a major chance the Phillies' offense blew in the eighth inning with the bases loaded and nobody out. Here's what I saw:


1. The Phillies didn’t score in 13 innings on Friday night, so Ben Revere made sure they got a run in the first inning. He led off with a single, stole second after getting a great jump, and advanced to third on the poor throw by Pirates catcher Chris Stewart. Chase Utley later drove him in with a sac fly.

2. Good day at the dish for both Revere and Maikel Franco against Pirates ace Gerrit Cole, who combined for five hits and two doubles. Franco extended his hitting streak to 11 games and is hitting .432 (19-44) in June.

3. The two guys hitting ahead of Franco in the 3 and 4-holes weren’t having a good day (combined 0-5), which was the continuation of a really bad couple of weeks. That is, until the 8th inning. In that pivotal frame, Chase Utley broke a 0-for-24 slump with a single and Ryan Howard avoided the golden sombrero by drawing a walk to load the bases.

4. That was the ballgame right there. Here’s the situation: Phillies down 4-3 with the bases loaded and nobody out. They got nothing, as Pittsburgh reliever Tony Watson was able to walk the tightrope. Franco and Cody Asche hit infield grounders that the Pirates were able to get force plays at the plate on, and Freddy Galvis grounded out.

Starting Pitcher

1. O’Sullivan’s line isn’t pretty, but he got BABIP’d to a large extent early. The Pirates scored four runs in the first two innings, but they didn’t’ have an extra-base hit and a lot of balls were extremely well placed.

2. When you look at the context, this wasn’t an awful outing for O’Sullivan. He didn’t allow a run after the early trouble and gave the Phillies six innings the night after everyone in the bullpen not named Jonathan Papelbon was used. Final line: 6.0 IP, 8 H, 4 ER, 4 BB, 1 K, 0 HR, 104 pitches (64 strikes).


1. Six up, six down for Justin De Fratus and Jeanmar Gomez.


1. The Phillies’ infield made some aggressive decisions defensively in the first inning, and they didn’t work out. Freddy Galvis tried to cut down an aggressive Gregory Polanco at third on a grounder to short, but the throw pegged the runner in the back. Maikel Franco then tried to throw Polanco out at the plate, and he would’ve been successful if Carlos Ruiz didn’t drop the ball. The Buccos later tacked on a two-out run.

Joe is correct. Asche uncorked a weak two-hopper for his first outfield assist, but they all count the same in the box score!

Up next

Cole Hamels (5-5, 3.19 ERA) is coming off his worst start in a while this past Monday in Cincinnati, and he’ll try to get back on track tomorrow against another NL Central foe. He’ll be opposed by A.J. Burnett (6-2, 2.11), who dominated the Phillies a month ago. If there’s one thing to be learned by Burnett’s last three years, it’s that the 38-year-old pitcher likes it more in Western Pennsylvania than our side of the state. First pitch is scheduled for 1:35 p.m. 

Follow Rich on Twitter: @rich_hofmann