Bullpen struggles in setback to Bucs

Phillies 'pen struggles in loss to Bucs

PITTSBURGH -- Phillies righty Kyle Lohse stifled the Pirates until the seventh inning, but Pittsburgh rallied to snatch an 8-4 victory in front of 31,277 fans on Sunday afternoon at PNC Park.

Rain delayed the start of the game 44 minutes. Wet weather came again in the bottom of the eighth, delaying play for an hour and three minutes. After resuming, the rain returned, causing another 24-minute delay in the bottom of the eighth. When the game resumed a third time, the Phillies were unable to rally as they dropped two of three.

"It was frustrating, obviously, having to wait and start and then wait and then start again," Phils outfielder Aaron Rowand said. "It was a difficult way to finish the game.

"We definitely could have won these last two games. It didn't work out that way, though."

"That's the game," Phillies slugger Ryan Howard said. "Sometimes you hit a line drive at somebody and then you get an infield hit. That's just how the game works; you never know. It's a little frustrating, but it happens sometimes, and you just try to forget it and go out for the next series starting on Tuesday and try to get it right."

Loshe hurled 6 2/3 innings and allowed four runs on six hits. He notched seven strikeouts and received a no-decision.

"You're out there trying to give the team the best chance," Loshe stated. "We were going pretty smooth there for six innings and just kind of hit a snag and it kind of snowballed."

Lefty reliever J.C. Romero was tagged with the loss, falling to 0-1 on the season.

Pirates starter Ian Snell tossed a solid game, but was victimized by the long ball, giving up four runs on eight hits in seven innings. Snell, who recorded 10 strikeouts, got the victory to raise his record to 8-10.

The Phillies jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the top of the first. Leadoff hitter Jimmy Rollins took Snell deep for his 22nd home run of the season. It marked the 23rd time Rollins has led off a game with a homer and the sixth time he has done it this season, both team records.

Philadelphia upped its lead to 4-0 in the top of the sixth. After Aaron Rowand was hit by a pitch and Greg Dobbs singled, Russell Branyan launched his ninth home run just inside the foul pole down the left-field line.

The Pirates erupted in the bottom of the seventh. The big blow was a bases-loaded three-run double by pinch-hitter Matt Kata, who chased Lohse from the game. Romero came on and surrendered a run-scoring double to Nate McLouth, tying the game. Antonio Alfonseca replaced Romero and walked Jack Wilson. The next hitter, Freddy Sanchez, doubled inside the third-base bag, knocking in McLouth and handing the Pirates a 5-4 lead.

"I thought about taking Lohse out," manager Charlie Manuel said. "Kata's hitting .220 from the left side and I think he's a better right-handed hitter. I still thought Lohse had enough left to get him."

Adam LaRoche was intentionally walked, loading the bases. Xavier Nady delivered a two-run single, upping the Pirates' advantage to 7-4.

Pittsburgh tacked on a run in the bottom of the eighth as Wilson stroked a RBI single for an 8-4 lead.

The Phillies haven't won a series in Pittsburgh since 2001.

"We had a great chance to win one today, but we let it slip away," Manuel said. "Yeah, it's frustrating because we could have got out of here with two out of three and that would have given us a 4-2 trip; instead, we're going home 3-3."

The Phillies return home for a big 10-game homestand starting on Tuesday night against the Dodgers.

"Right now, you just want to try to salvage and try to forget what happened and go home and try to right the ship," Howard said.

Philadelphia remains in second place in the National League East and right in the hunt in the Wild Card race.

"We've got 10 games at home," Manuel said. "We've got games with the Dodgers, Padres and Mets. We've got to go home and have a winning homestand."

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