Pirates nip Phils on late homer


Garrett Jones blasted a two-out, two-run homer in the bottom of the eighth and the Pirates beat the Phillies, 3-2, Thursday night at PNC Park.

The Pirates won for only the third time in 60 games this year when trailing after seven innings.

The Pirates had managed nothing other than Andrew McCutchen’s leadoff homer against Phillies rookie J.A. Happ (10-3), trailing 2-1 entering the eighth.

But Ronny Cedeno lined a pinch-hit single to open the inning and after McCutchen and Delwyn Young flied out to center, Jones drove Happ’s pitch over the center-field wall for a 3-2 lead.

Denny Bautista (1-0), who pitched two innings of scoreless relief, earned the win and Matt Capps, who has struggled so mightily against the Phillies this year, pitched the ninth to earn his 24th save.

McCutchen went 2 for 4 and Steve Pearce was 2 for 3 for the Pirates.

Jimmy Rollins went 3 for 4 and Paul Bako homered for the first-place Phillies, who lost for only the fourth time in their past 16 games.

The Pirates finished their homestand at 7-2 on the heals of a 3-17 skid.

Pirates starter Charlie Morton allowed two earned runs on five hits over six innings. He struck out six to match his career-high, walked four, and needed 106 pitches. But he needed to throw 106 pitches, a number he has surpassed only twice in his previous 27 career starts.

It was Morton’s second effective start since allowing 10 earned runs in one-plus innings of the Pirates’ 17-2 loss at Wrigley Field.

Happ, trying to become the first Phillies rookie to win 11 games since Bob Walk in 1980, entered the game with the best road ERA in baseball (1.72). He showed why he is the likely front-runner for the NL Rookie of the Year, allowing three earned runs on seven hits over eight innings. The 26-year-old left-hander struck out four and walked two.

Before Jones’ 15th home run of the season, the Pirates had advanced only one runner past first base in the third through seventh innings.

The Phillies took a 1-0 lead in the first on Ryan Howard’s run-scoring fielder’s choice, but McCutchen drove a leadoff homer to deep center off Happ to tie the score at 1-1. It was McCutchen’s eighth home run of the season — second most on the team — and his third leadoff homer.

Paul Bako’s one-out solo home run off Morton in the second put the Phillies up 2-1.

By John Grupp