It took twelve innings. It was dominated by pitching. In the end, Pittsburgh prevailed 2-1 in a contest that saw only 21 baserunners combined between the two teams.
Through five innings, each club had only one hit. The Phillies best chance to score was in the first. Jimmy Rollins singled and stole second. With two outs, Ryan Howard was plunked. But Jeff Karstens induced an inning ending fielder’s choice grounder from Shane Victorino (fresh off the disabled list) to retire the side. Including the Victorino out, Karstens retired the next 13 Philadelphia hitters.
Cole Hamels led off the sixth with a single. Jimmy Rollins connected for his second single of the day. But Placido Polanco lined Josh Harrison, who flipped to Neil Walker to double Hamels off second base. Jimmy Rollins swiped his second bag of the game to move into scoring position and Chase Utley got the clutch two out hit that scored Rollins with the first run.
Pittsburgh tied it up in the bottom of the sixth without the benefit of a safety. Ronny Cedeno walked and moved up on a sac bunt from Karstens. Hamels uncorked a wild pitch that moved Cedeno to third. Jose Tabata lofted a fly ball that scored Cedeno to knot it at one.
Both teams had other chances to score later in the game. The Pirates stranded two in the bottom of the ninth. Philadelphia advanced Carlos Ruiz to third in the top of the tenth. In the home half of the tenth, Lyle Overbay walked and was replaced by pinch runner Pedro Ciriaco. He moved to third on a bunt and a grounder, but Tabata stranded him there. Neil Walker and Dusty Brown were left aboard in the eleventh when Chris Snyder was retired on a fly ball.
The story was different in the twelfth. Phillie reliever Danys Baez got two quick outs before giving up a single to Xavier Paul. He stole second. Tabata – up again with a shot at being the hero – delivered a single off the glove of Chase Utley. Paul beat the throw home and the game was over.
Daniel Moskos retired the Phillies in order in the top of the twelfth for his first Major League win. Baez was the loser. Hamels went eight and gave up just one hit and three walks. He struck out four. Karstens was also stellar. He was pulled after seven and gave up one run on four hits. He walked none and whiffed two.
Continued excellent starting pitching.
Five scoreless innings from the bullpen including two from Daniel McCutchen.
Andrew McCutchen had two of the five hits and through nine was the only Bucco with a knock.
Pirate hitters drew seven walks and struck out only five times.
Only five hits.
Only two runs.
Hamels remains 1-1 against Pittsburgh. Karstens has no decisions in his career against Philadelphia.
In case you are wondering, the Major League record for most times for a single player collecting the only hit(s) for a team in a low hit contest is five. It is shared by Eddie Milner and Cesar Tovar. Having grown up in Cincy, I witnessed live or on TV two of Milner’s such games. One was on WGN with the Cubs Chuck Rainey needing one more out for a no-no on August 24, 1983 when Milner spoiled it. Harry Caray was crestfallen. Thankfully, the Pirates had three hits in extra inning to prevent McCutchen from notching one on his belt.
Pittsburgh is collectively hitting just .213 against Hamels.
Moskos is the first Pirate to pick up his first Major League win in 2011. The last Pirate to earn his first Major League win was Brad Lincoln back on 6/30/10.