Phils unable to hang on to early lead

Phils unable to hang on to early lead

PITTSBURGH -- The Pirates and Phillies hooked up in a slugfest on Saturday night at PNC Park in front of a sellout crowd of 38,152 with the Bucs prevailing, 11-6.

Phillies starter Jamie Moyer was rocked for eight runs (seven earned) on nine hits in four-plus innings of work. The 44-year-old lefty was tagged with the loss, falling to 11-9 on the season.

"I take this one -- as a pitcher, you take the W's and the L's," Moyer lamented. "I gave it right back to them. I took the momentum and passed it right back to them and I deserve what I got. I've got to be better than that."

Phillies skipper Charlie Manuel agreed that Moyer wasn't sharp.

"His command wasn't real good," Manuel explained. "I felt like he threw some good pitches, but he just didn't have a good night."

Pirates left-hander Paul Maholm survived a rocky first inning and lasted seven frames. He allowed six runs on 10 hits and grabbed the win, upping his record to 9-14.

"We hit some balls hard," Manuel stated. "[Jayson] Werth hit that one ball hard to right field, and [Abraham] Nunez hit that ball to second and they turned a double play. Those were big plays for them. I felt like we could have got back in the game if those would have went [our way], but they made the plays."

Philadelphia jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the top of the first inning. Red-hot Jimmy Rollins doubled down the left-field line. Ryan Howard knocked in Rollins with a two-out single. Aaron Rowand then singled, and Werth smacked a 1-1 offering from Maholm for a three-run homer, his sixth long ball of the season.

The Pirates offense has been on fire in August and immediately went to work against Moyer. Jose Bautista led off the bottom of the first inning with a walk. Freddy Sanchez followed with a single, and Jason Bay stroked a ground-rule double to left, scoring Bautista. Xavier Nady then singled home Sanchez, and Adam LaRoche doubled off the center-field wall, driving in Bay. Ronny Paulino grounded out to shortstop to send home Nady and tie the game at 4.

The Phillies' high-octane offense put them back on top in the second. Rollins drew a walk, and Pat Burrell clubbed a two-run shot to left-center field, giving the Phillies a 6-4 advantage. It was home run No. 19 on the campaign for Burrell.

The Pirates tied the score at 6 in the bottom of the fourth inning. Maholm singled and scored on a two-out, two-run home run by Sanchez. It was the eighth home run of the season for Sanchez.

The Pirates knocked Moyer out of the game in the bottom of the fifth inning. Nady singled and LaRoche doubled. Right-hander Jose Mesa then replaced Moyer. Phillies third baseman Nunez was charged with a throwing error on Paulino's ground ball, which allowed Nady and LaRoche to score. Jack Wilson dropped down a sacrifice bunt, driving in Paulino and staking Pittsburgh to a 9-6 lead.

Nunez felt he should have made the play.

"It hurts, especially in a key situation like that in a 6-6 game," Nunez said. "I think the game would have gone a different way if I would have made the play. I didn't make the play and it cost us the game.

"He had him if he makes a good throw," Manuel opined. "There was a possibility that we could have got out of that inning only giving up one run."

Pittsburgh added some insurance in the eighth against Phillies reliever Mike Zagurski. Bay doubled and Nady was intentionally walked. LaRoche singled to left, plating Bay. Paulino dribbled a grounder toward third that Zagurski tried to field, but he crumpled to the ground with a pulled hamstring and was replaced by Antonio Alfonseca. Pinch-hitter Josh Phelps drew a bases-loaded walk, scoring Nady and giving Pittsburgh an 11-6 lead.

Following the game, Zagurski was placed on the disabled list and the Phillies recalled right-hander Yoel Hernandez from Triple-A Ottawa.

George Von Benko is a contributor to This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.