Pirates rally by Phillies 2-1 in 10 innings

Published April 8, 2012 2:54AM (EDT)

PITTSBURGH (AP) — Alex Presley singled with two outs in the bottom of the 10th to lift the Pittsburgh Pirates to a 2-1 win over the Philadelphia Phillies on Saturday night.

Rod Barajas, brought in by the Pirates to provide some power, doubled off Philadelphia reliever Joe Blanton (0-1) leading off the inning and pinch-runner Mike McKenry came home three batters later when Presley beat out an infield single.

Juan Cruz (1-0), a non-roster invitee to spring training, won in relief. Presley had two of Pittsburgh's six hits.

Shane Victorino and Placido Polanco had two hits apiece for Philadelphia. The Phillies got two baserunners in both the ninth and 10th innings but couldn't break through.

Cliff Lee gave up one run in six innings for Philadelphia.

The Phillies, playing without injured stars Ryan Howard and Chase Utley, have managed just two runs through the season's first 19 innings. Still, it was almost enough for the five-time defending NL East champions to improve to stay perfect.

Philadelphia made Pittsburgh closer Joel Hanrahan labor through the ninth. Hanrahan walked Hunter Pence and Carlos Ruiz but struck out pinch-hitter Jim Thome and Freddy Galvis. The Phillies threatened again in the 10th off Cruz on back-to-back two-out singles by Polanco and Jimmy Rollins.

Pence struck out, however, and Pittsburgh's anemic offense finally showed some life.

Barajas produced Pittsburgh's second extra base hit of the young season — and nearly its first homer — when he took an offering from Blanton and drilled it to center. McKenry moved to third on a bunt then scored when Presley hit a chopper to short and beat Jimmy Rollins' throw by half a step.

It was an unlikely finish after Pittsburgh spent the first six innings floundering against Lee.

Lee nearly matched Philadelphia ace Roy Halladay's dominance in the opener. Halladay limited Pittsburgh to just two hits — both in the first inning — in a 1-0 victory.

Pittsburgh managed to hit the ball out of the infield just once during the lefthander's first two trips through the lineup before finally the Pirates finally broke through for their first run of the season in the sixth.

Pinch-hitter Yamaico Navarro walked with one out, Jose Tabata followed with a single up the middle and Navarro scored two batters later when a pitch skipped past Ruiz allowing Navarro to end a 14-inning scoreless drought.

It was the only mistake during an otherwise flawless night by Lee, who gave up one run on two hits in six innings, walking two and striking out four.

Pittsburgh starter Jeff Karstens, like Erik Bedard on opening day, did his best to keep pace. Coming off a year in which he revived his career — going 9-9 with a 3.38 ERA — Karstens kept the Phillies off balance with his typical mix of offspeed pitches.

Karstens didn't allow a runner past second in his final five innings, giving up one run on five hits with one walk and two strikes.

NOTES: OF Laynce Nix played first base for Philadelphia, just his seventh career start at the position in his 10-year career. . Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said Thome might start at first base in Sunday's finale of the three-game series. It would be Thome's first time at 1B since 2007 when he was serving primarily as the DH for the Chicago White Sox . Pittsburgh RHP Charlie Morton, on the disabled list while recovering from hip surgery, is schedule to make a rehab start Monday for Triple-A Indianapolis. If that goes well, he will be activated on April 14 at San Francisco. . Pirates RHP A.J. Burnett (eye) made his first rehab start for high Class A Bradenton on Friday night and gave up one run and two hits in 4 2-3 innings against St. Lucie in a Florida State League game. He walked one and struck out five. . RHP Vance Worley is scheduled to start Sunday for the Phillies against RHP James McDonald.

By Salon Staff

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