Kyle McPherson, who had his ups and downs, was all ups today. He went five strong frames, pitching scoreless ball on four hits with a whiff. But the bats didn't help; Aaron Cook and Rodrigo Lopez matched him during that spell.
Pittsburgh threatened first in the second frame. With Brad Hawpe on second with two down thanks to an error and wild pitch, Clint Barmes lined a short single to center. Hawpe trucked home, but couldn't beat Ender Inciarte's toss home. Philly tried to get ahead in their half with runners at second and third with two away, by McPherson got former Bucco backstop Erik Kratz to bounce out to Brandon Inge at the hot corner.
In the next frame, Mike McKenry got to third with two outs, but JT smoked a grounder to second to end the inning. The Bucs had runners at first and third with one down in the fourth, but Inge rolled one back to the box for the inning-killing DP.
Philadelphia broke the ice in the sixth off Andy Oliver. The lefty walked leadoff hitter Michael Young, a single sent him to third, and a sac fly brought him in. The Buccos got it back in the next frame off Phillippe Aumont. Neil Walker dropped a pop into center for a leadoff knock and Inge got pinged with a pitch. A Barmes fly moved The Kid to third and he scored on a wild pitch.
Josh Harrison and Andrew Lambo opened the eighth with back-to-back knocks off Jake Diekman, but the inning fizzled when Carlos Paulino whiffed and Jeff Larish banged into a 6-4-3 twin killing. The Phils took the lead in their half when Pete Orr went deep to right off Mike Zagurski to make it 2-1.
With two gone in the ninth, Ivan deJesus kept the Bucs alive with a single and Brett Carroll lined a double to left to put Pirates at second and third. But Cesar Jimenez caught Felix Lie looking, and the Pirates fell 2-1. Pittsburgh was 2-for-15 with RISP, so today's loss was more a matter of the Bucs shooting themselves in the foot rather than Philly dazzling them with stuff.
The Pirates take on Houston in Kissimmee tomorrow at 1:05. Jonathan Sanchez will start against the 'Stros.
- Bill Brink of the Post Gazette reports that Garrett Jones (oblique) will start Friday's game at first base, scheduled for five innings in the field, so that's good news. We thought he'd be out through at least the weekend.