Stallings’ RBI in 9th sends Pirates to 3-2 win over Phillies
PITTSBURGH (AP) — Jacob Stallings drove in the winning run with a fielder’s choice in the bottom of the ninth inning, giving the Pittsburgh Pirates a 3-2 victory over the Philadelphia Phillies on Saturday night.
With the scored tied 2-all, Bryan Reynolds led off the ninth with a double into the gap in left-center off Jose Alvarado (6-1). Reynolds moved to third on Gregory Polanco’s slow rolling groundout, and John Nogowski followed with a walk, putting runners on first and third.
Stallings hit a chopper toward third baseman Alec Bohm, whose throw home was too late to get Reynolds. It was the seventh game-ending RBI of Stallings’ career, and his fourth this season.
No NL player has more walk-off RBIs since Stallings made his major league debut in 2016.
“Every situation is different,” Stallings said. “I had never faced Alvardo before, never seen him and obviously he has an electric sinker. I was trying to get him in the (strike) zone and put the bat on the ball. Good things usually happen when the infield is in, and you put the bat on the ball.”
Stallings and Pirates manager Derek Shelton credited Reynolds with good baserunning, as he got good reads on the grounders by both Polanco and Stallings.
“We’re trying to be as aggressive as possible and today we won a baseball game because we executed when we were aggressive,” Shelton said.
Chris Stratton (4-0) worked around two two-out singles in the ninth to get the win.
Philadelphia’s Brad Miller and Pittsburgh’s Ben Gamel each had two hits.
The Pirates have won the first two games of the series after losing four in a row. The Phillies have dropped four of their last five and managed two runs in this series.
“You score two runs in two games, in this league it’s not easy to win,” Phillies manager Joe Girardi said. “For whatever reason, we have not hit here in Pittsburgh and hopefully it turns around tomorrow.”
Both starters had strong six-inning outings.
The Pirates’ JT Brubaker allowed one run and three hits with four strikeouts and two walks. However, he remained winless in nine starts since May 29.
“If feels good that I didn’t give up a long ball today,” said Brubaker, who has given up 21 home runs in 102 1/3 innings this season. “I felt good and pitched well against a team in the race for their division. It’s good to get a team win in a game like this.”
The Phillies’ Aaron Nola gave up two runs, three hits and a walk while striking out five. That came after throwing a season-high 116 pitches in 8 2/3 innings to beat Atlanta in his previous start.
The Phillies tied the score at 2-2 in the eighth inning when J.T. Realmuto led off with a double and came home on Bryce Harper’s single.
The Pirates broke a scoreless tie in the third when Rodolfo Castro led off with a single and scored on Kevin Newman’s triple that one-hopped off the fence in right-center field. One out later, Gamel singled home Newman.
The Phillies got one run back in the fifth on a sacrifice fly by Nola.
PHILS REMAKE ROTATION
The Phillies are overhauling their rotation.
Kyle Gibson will make his Phillies’ debut Sunday when he starts the finale of the three-game series. Philadelphia acquired the right-hander from Texas in a trade Friday.
Meanwhile, right-handers Ranger Suarez and Chase Anderson are moving from the bullpen into starting roles. Righty Vince Velasquez and left-hander Matt Moore will now be used as relievers.
Anderson began the season in the rotation, but was moved to the bullpen after going 2-4 with a 6.96 ERA in eight games. He has a 6.17 ERA in five relief appearances.
Suarez recently moved into the closer’s role and has a 1.12 ERA in 27 relief appearances.
Velasquez gave up five runs in two innings in losing to the Pirates on Friday, and is 0-4 with a 12.00 ERA in his last five starts. Moore is 0-3 with a 6.98 ERA in nine starts.
Ian Kennedy is the Phillies’ new closer, replacing Suarez. Kennedy was also part of Friday’s trade and converted 16 of 17 save chances for the Rangers this season.
The Pirates plan to use multiple relievers in save situations following the trade of closer Richard Rodriguez to Atlanta on Friday. Rodriguez was 14 of 17 in save opportunities.
Pirates: Added right-hander Bryce Wilson and infielder/outfielder Hoy Park to the active roster and optioned outfielder Jared Oliva to Triple-A Indianapolis.
Wilson was acquired in the Rodriguez deal. The Pirates traded with the New York Yankees for Park on Monday,
Phillies: LF Andrew McCutchen left the game after the sixth inning because of right knee stiffness. … 1B Rhys Hoskins (groin) sat out his second straight game and is not expected to return until at least Monday. … LHP Bailey Falter is ready to be activated from the COVID-19 injured list but will go on a minor league rehab assignment before activated.
Pirates: INF/OF Erik Gonzalez (right oblique strain) began a rehab assignment with Triple-A Indianapolis on Saturday.
Gibson (6-3, 2.87 ERA) will face RHP Mitch Keller (3-7, 7.04).
Gibson was s selected to his first All-Star Game this year, but lost his last three starts with the Rangers, allowing 16 runs in 17 1/3 innings. Keller will make his first start for the Pirates since June 10 after being recalled from Indianapolis on Friday.
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