The Phillies got 3 2-3 scoreless innings from their upgraded bullpen and rallied for two runs in the eighth to beat Pittsburgh 5-4 Wednesday night— their first victory of the season.
After losing 2-1 to Mesa, the closer they cast off following a terrible 2003 season, and the Pirates on Monday, this was more like the Phillies scripted it. Their bullpen was in control and they had just enough timely hitting.
Pat Burrell had two more hits, giving him five in two games, and drove in two runs. Burrell, the left fielder, also made an excellent throw to shortstop Jimmy Rollins as they threw out Raul Mondesi trying to stretch a double into a triple to start the Pirates’ eighth.
Cormier (1-0) preceded Worrell and Wagner with 1 2-3 scoreless relief innings.
“You sit at home at night and go `Rheal Cormier, Tim Worrell and Wagner, hope it works,”’ manager Larry Bowa said. “There will be times when it doesn’t work, but the percentages are in our favor when we get to them. Over 162 games, we’ll be in good shape when we go to those guys.”
The Phillies trailed 4-3 until Pirates reliever Brian Boehringer couldn’t get an out in the eighth, allowing Mike Lieberthal’s single and Jimmy Rollins’ double ahead of walks to David Bell and pinch-hitter Ricky Ledee that forced in the tying run. Marlon Byrd’s RBI force out with Brian Meadows pitching made it 5-4.
“Are we going to blow leads? Of course we are,” said manager Lloyd McClendon, whose bullpen was the NL’s worst last season. “But you hope it’s just one bad outing. Brian Boehringer threw well in spring training.”
After that, Worrell pitched a scoreless eighth and Wagner struck out the side in the ninth for his first save with the Phillies.
“It worked just like they drew it up, but I think our whole bullpen is loaded,” Worrell said.
Wagner, who had never pitched for any team but the Astros, said, “That (the first save) is always the tough one in any season. You always want to impress a new organization after a trade, with all the media hype, you want to do well.”
The Pirates wasted Craig Wilson’s second homer in as many games and a scoreless seventh inning by reliever Mike Johnston in his major league debut. Johnston, the second known major leaguer to have Tourette’s syndrome, struck out Burrell and Bobby Abreu to end the inning with a runner on first.
“Those are the guys I watch on TV when I go home in the fall,” said Johnston, who was pitching with a one-run lead. “I’m just fired up. It’s unbelievable.”
Johnston dropped out of his suburban Philadelphia high school 10 years ago at age 15 mostly because of his Tourette’s, only to be discovered by a college scout two years later at an American Legion game.
The Phillies took a 3-2 lead in the fifth against Kris Benson, who missed the second half of last season with right shoulder tendinitis and was making his first start since July 17. After Byrd singled and Placido Polanco doubled for his third hit, Burrell had an RBI single and Abreu hit a run-scoring force play.
Benson, previously 3-0 with a 1.89 ERA against the Phillies, left after allowing three runs and seven hits and walking three over five. He is 0-5 with a 7.41 ERA in eight starts since last winning on May 27.
Before that, the Phillies ran themselves out of a possible big inning in the third with a baserunning mistake, while two Pirates baserunning blunders ended up netting them two runs.
The Phillies had runners on first and third with none out and a run in after Polanco and Burrell singled around Jim Thome’s double. But as Lieberthal struck out, Burrell broke for second and Thome, trying to sneak home on the play, was thrown out at the plate by rookie second baseman Jose Castillo.
Castillo made his own mistake in the bottom of the inning, getting trapped off second on Tike Redman’s grounder after getting a single in his first major league at-bat. Jason Kendall also took too wide a turn at second on his two-out double against Randy Wolf, but scrambled away from first baseman Thome’s tag— Thome covered second on the play—as Redman scored. Mondesi then singled for his first Pirates hit and RBI.
Wolf, a 16-game winner last season, surrendered four runs, three earned, andsix hits in 5 1-3 innings.
Jim Eisenreich was the first major leaguer known to have Tourette’s, a neurological condition characterized by involuntary, rapid and sudden tics, or movements. Johnston shows few signs of the condition now. … Wolf had been 3-1 against Pittsburgh. … Despite a fireworks promotion, the crowd was only15,126.