Locke locked in for Pirates in 2-0 win

PHILADELPHIA -- The challenge of pitching in cozy Citizens Bank Park is considerable, Pittsburgh Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said.

"This park, it's 27 shots on goal for the whole game," he said, "because (a hitter) can reach anywhere."

That being the case, Pirates rookie left-hander Jeff Locke stood tall in the nets on Tuesday night, combining with three relievers on a four-hitter in Pittsburgh's 2-0 victory over the Philadelphia Phillies.

The 25-year-old Locke (2-1) allowed two hits in six innings. He struck out six, walked two and also hit a batter.

Tony Watson worked a 1-2-3 seventh, striking out two. Mark Melancon followed with a scoreless eighth and Jason Grilli retired the Phils in order in the ninth for his eighth save in as many opportunities.

"That was his best big-league performance," Hurdle said of Locke. "He threw the most competitive pitches he's ever thrown in a start. Only a handful of balls out of his hand were misfired."

Locke said, "Everything just clicked today. The big thing is, I was able to get ahead of guys. That's something I stressed the last few starts. It's a big thing when it's 0-1."

The Phillies, who began the game 10th in the National League in runs (73), were shut out for the third time this season.

"We're going up there, trying to do too much," Phillies outfielder Domonic Brown said. "I can feel it myself. ... All of us are mechanically sound. It's definitely a mental thing right now. We'll get out of it."

Phillies manager Charlie Manuel agreed that his team is "trying maybe a little bit too hard."

"But," he added, "you have to get it done."

Especially, Manuel believed, against a guy like Locke, who challenged the Phillies with fastballs -- fastballs Manuel thought his club would hit.

"It wasn't like he was doing anything fantastic," he said. "He pitched a good game. If you were patient and went up there and looked for a fastball, you probably would get some good balls to hit."

Pittsburgh's Gaby Sanchez hit his second homer of the season, a solo blast off Cole Hamels (0-3) with one out in the eighth inning, as the Pirates won for the fifth time in seven games and the eighth time in 11.

"Probably only a homer here," Hurdle said of the opposite-field shot by the righty-hitting Sanchez.

Hamels pitched eight innings, allowing seven hits and two runs. He struck out six and walked one. It is the first time in his career he has started a season 0-3, and the first time the Phils have dropped five straight starts on his part.

Phillies third baseman Michael Young extended his hitting streak to 14 games with an eighth-inning single off Melancon.

Pittsburgh third baseman Brandon Inge, activated from the disabled list earlier in the day, laced a double to deep center in the fourth to score Neil Walker, who led off the inning with an infield hit.

The Phillies wasted a leadoff triple by John Mayberry Jr. in their half of the fourth. Ben Revere grounded into a fielder's choice, with Inge gunning down Mayberry at the plate, and Erik Kratz bounced into an inning-ending double play.

NOTES: Left-hander Jesse Biddle, considered the top prospect in the Phillies' organization, struck out 16 while allowing one hit in seven innings on Monday as double-A Reading beat Harrisburg 3-2. Biddle retired the first 19 hitters he faced, and his strikeout total was a career high and a modern-day Reading record. "Biddle's got a chance to be a special pitcher," Manuel said, adding that the 6-foot-5, 235-pound Biddle is a "bigger, stronger" version of Hamels. ... Inge, who had been out because of an injured right scapula, hit .150 during his 18-game rehab assignment. ... Outfielder Alex Presley was optioned to Triple-A Indianapolis to make room on the Pirates' roster.