pittsburgh – Before the Phillies came to PNC Park, Daniel McCutchen and Ross Ohlendorf had pitched a combined 782/3 innings this season without yielding a victory for the last-place Pirates.
In two days, each Pittsburgh starter collected a victory. And in two days, the Philadelphia Phillies have realized life without Chase Utley and Placido Polanco is far from paradise.
The Pirates beat the Phillies for the second straight game Friday, 2-0. In the process, the Phillies wasted yet another gem by a starting pitcher.
The seemingly ageless Jamie Moyer was masterful at age 47 in his 625th career start, but two infield singles by the Pirates that barely traveled 90 feet combined and Moyer’s throwing error led to Philadelphia’s fourth loss in five games.
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Ohlendorf (1-6) was 0-8 in 16 starts since Aug. 18 before striking out eight and walking one in seven shutout innings against a lineup that also was missing the injured Carlos Ruiz and Shane Victorino, who was rested.
“Before, I really struggled the second time through, the third time through the lineup,” Ohlendorf said. “The last two (starts), I continued to make good pitches. That’s the big difference.”
Despite losing to the Pirates for the second straight night, the Phillies are 41-37, the same record they had at this stage last season.
“We’ve got to keep our heads above water. We got to stay in the race and it’s up to us to do that,” Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said of a team that has seven players on the disabled list. “In the past, we’ve been fortunate enough to do that and that’s what we’ve got to do again. This is a big test for us.”
Still, he said, the Phillies’ struggles should make everyone understand winning isn’t automatic.
“This game’s hard. This is not an easy game, man,” he said. “Just because you hit yesterday doesn’t mean you’ll hit tomorrow.”