Phillies 10, Pirates 5
PHILADELPHIA (AP)—Chris Coste can add a new chapter to his forthcoming autobiography.
J.D. Durbin (3-2) pitched five shaky innings but left with a five-run lead after an eight-run fifth.
In their sixth try, the Phillies (54-49) finally reached a season-best five games above .500 with their seventh win in eight games. They moved within 3 1/2 games of the NL East-leading New York Mets.
A fan favorite since making his major league debut as a 33-year-old rookie last season, Coste earned a curtain call from the sellout crowd after he connected to give the Phillies an 8-5 lead in the fifth inning.
“The other day when it happened to Aaron Rowand, I said that’s never happened to me,” said Coste, who is writing a book on his baseball career. “I didn’t know what to do. I didn’t know if I should throw my hat into the stands or what. It felt great.”
Rollins, batting in Chase Utley’s No. 3 spot in the lineup, had three hits and fell a homer short of the cycle. Coste tied a career-high with four RBIs, and new second baseman Tadahito Iguchi was 1-for-3 with a walk and sacrifice fly in his first game since joining the Phillies. Iguchi was acquired from the Chicago White Sox on Friday to replace Utley, who had surgery on his broken right ring finger and could miss up to a month.
The Phillies have scored 18 runs in two games without their two All-Star hitters—center fielder Rowand and Utley. Rowand (shoulder) is expected to return Sunday.
“It’s a team,” Rollins said. “We found a way to get it done before.”
Durbin allowed five runs, seven hits and four walks in his first outing since pitching his first career shutout at San Diego last Sunday. Brett Myers finished with a perfect ninth in his first appearance since May 23. He had been sidelined with a shoulder injury.
Freddy Sanchez hit a three-run homer for the Pirates, who have the second-worst record in the majors behind Tampa Bay.
“With an offense like that on the other side, you’ve got to get outs and we didn’t get them,” manager Jim Tracy said.
Trailing 5-2, the Phillies sent 12 batters to the plate in the fifth. Shane Victorino doubled to start the inning and Rollins reached on a bunt single. Ryan Howard walked to load the bases and Pat Burrell walked to force in Victorino. Rollins scored when third baseman Jose Castillo booted Wes Helms’ grounder for an error.
Kuwata replaced Youman and allowed Iguchi’s sacrifice fly to tie it at 5. Coste ripped the next pitch into the left-field seats to give the lead for good.
Despite hitting .328 in 198 at-bats last year, Coste started this season in the minors. He could be heading down again when outfielder Jayson Werth comes off the disabled list, though the Phillies could move catcher Rod Barajas instead.
“That’d be tough,” manager Charlie Manuel said about sending Coste to the minors again. “He has some intangibles. He’s a good player and he steps up at a big moment.”
Teammates call Coste: “Chris Clutch.”
Rollins made it 10-5 with a two-run triple. The 5-foot-8, 174-pound Rollins, normally a leadoff hitter, leads the NL with 243 total bases, including 20 homers and 13 triples. Only Alex Rodriguez has more total bases (276) than Rollins.
Rollins and Coste each had RBI doubles to give the Phillies a 2-0 lead. Sanchez’s three-run shot in the third put Pittsburgh ahead 3-2. Xavier Nady had an RBI single and RBI double.
The Phillies improved to 15-20 against left-handed starters, including 9-5 in the last 14 games. … The eight-run fifth was a season-high for an inning for Philadelphia. … Sanchez tied his career-high with six homers. … A crowd of 45,149 was the Phillies’ 18th home sellout.