This game was about as tough to watch as baseball games come. Undistinguished rookie Jonathan Pettibone shut the Pirates down over his 5 1/3 innings, striking out six Bucs and walking none. The only runs the Pirates managed against him (or anyone on the Phillies' staff) were two solo homers by Pedro Alvarez and Russell Martin. They went 0-for-8 with runners in scoring position, including leaving the tying run at second base with one out in the ninth. In fact, three doubles
AJ Burnett, meanwhile, labored mightily through his five innings. His fourth inning was particularly excruciating to watch. He loaded the bases up after the first three hitters in the inning, then took ten pitches to strike Erik Kratz out, then struck Pettibone out on four pitches, then hit Jimmy Rollins in the foot to bring a run in anyway. I didn't have a stopwatch out or anything, but I think the inning took about 10 hours in total. Burnett ended up needing 35 pitches and he technically struck out the side, which made it all but certain that the bullpen was going to have another long night.
Martin's homer tied the game up after that, but then Jared Hughes came into the tie game in the sixth and gave up a run to put the Phillies back ahead. That lead to a mystifying sequence of decisions made by Clint Hurdle in the seventh and eighth that lead to Clint Barmes making the final out of the seventh, then being double-switched out for John McDonald who promptly lead off the eighth. Both guys struck out, while Gaby Sanchez never made it off the bench and Alex Presley was used as a pinch runner. How can that be allowed to happen? Antonio Bastardo was on the mound to face Barmes; why not use Sanchez right there?
This game contained exactly one highlight beyond the two homers. With Chase Utley on first base, the Pirates elected to still put a heavy infield shift on for Ryan Howard. Howard hit a sharp grounder between first and second that John McDonald expertly picked out of the dirt. Of course, when your shortstop is playing between first and second with a runner on third base, that means that the double play is going to have to be turned by the third baseman. The third baseman who, in this case, was Pedro Alvarez. McDonald made a nice toss to Alvarez, who nabbed the throw, nimbly floated over the base, and threw a rocket of a strike to first base as if it was the most natural thing in the world. That's probably going to be the only part of this game that I remember for more than 48 hours, and I'm OK with that.