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Pirates 5, Phillies 4

The SportsXchange

PITTSBURGH -- PNC Park might be the most scenic park in baseball as it sits on the shores of the Allegheny River and overlooks downtown.

However, it continues to be a house of horrors for the Phillies, who blew a three-run lead and lost to the Pittsburgh Pirates 5-4 on Sunday afternoon as Andrew McCutchen singled in the winning run in the bottom of the ninth inning.

The Phillies lost two of three game in their season-opening series and are 14-24 at PNC Park since it opened in 2001. The Phillies' .368 winning percentage is their worst in any of the 16 active National League venues.

The Pirates rallied from a 4-1 deficit with two runs in the seventh off Michael Stutes, another in the eighth off Kyle Kendrick and Antonio Bastardo and another in the ninth off David Herndon (0-1).

Casey McGehee hit an RBI double and scored on Alex Presley's single in the seventh to draw the Pirates within 4-3. Pinch hitter Matt Hague's two-out RBI single, his first major-league hit, in the eighth off Bastardo tied it.

McGehee led off the ninth with a double and pinch-runner Josh Harrison scored the winning run when McCutchen drove a single off the center-field fence with two outs.

McCutchen had three hits Sunday.

Joel Hanrahan (1-0), who pitched a perfect 10th, was the winner.

Hunter Pence homered, and he and Juan Pierre each had two hits and two RBIs for the Phillies. However, the Phillies were limited to just five hits in all.

Vance Worley pitched six effective innings his season debut and was in line for the win until the Phillies bullpen failed to hold the three-run lead.

The Phillies took a 2-0 lead thanks to Pence, who doubled in a run in the first inning and hit a long home run over the 410 mark in left-center field to lead off the fourth inning off James McDonald.

Pittsburgh got one run back in the fifth when Pedro Alvarez hit a leadoff homer over the right-field stands off Worley to cut the Phillies' lead to 2-1.

Pierre then gave the Phillies what seemed to be breathing room with a two-out, two-run single in the seventh inning that pushed their advantage to 4-1. Considering the Pirates had scored just two runs in 25 innings in the series to that point, the lead seemed safe.

NOTES -- Jim Thome started at first base for the Phillies, the first time he had played the position since 2007 with the White Sox, and went 0-for-3 before being lifted in the seventh inning when Philadelphia had a 4-1 lead. Thome was exclusively a designated hitter the last six seasons after the Phillies traded him to the White Sox after the 2005 season to make room for Ryan Howard at first base. ... Pierre made his first start for the Phillies, playing left field and batting leadoff. The veteran made the team in spring training after signing a minor-league contract in the offseason. ... The Phillies' home opener is at 1:05 p.m. Monday against the Miami Marlins. Left-hander Cole Hamels will start for the Phillies against Anibal Sanchez. After an off-day, the three-day series will conclude with 7:05 games on Tuesday and Wednesday nights. Roy Hallady will pitch Wednesday for the Phillies against Josh Johnson and Joe Blanton faces Mark Buehrle on Thursday.
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