Ivan Nova went for a season-high 11 strikeouts in his six innings on Tuesday night. Nova’s pitching and a ninth inning three run homer from Sean Rodriguez pulled the Pirates ahead of the Phillies 5-3.
Nova struck out each hitter in the Phillies’ lineup through the first four innings on the game. He ended up going six innings giving up just one earned run. Nova walked just his third batter since joining the Pirates in August.
Pittsburgh took the lead first when Adam Frazier hit an RBI single that scored Jordy Mercer. Frazier tried to take second on his single but was thrown out on the effort. Josh Bell followed with a double of his own that could have scored Frazier. At the end of the third, the Pirates held a 1-0 lead.
But the Phillies answered back with a run of their own in the fourth. Ryan Howard reached on a fielding error by Frazier, which allowed Roman Quinn to score from second.
The game remained tied until the bottom of the sixth after a questionable moment that caused Pirates’ manager Clint Hurdle to be tossed from the game. On a possible double play ball, Mercer seemed to hold on to his throw as Frazier’s lane to first appeared impeded by first base umpire Alan Porter. Frazier stumbled on his way to the bag causing Mercer to delay his throw. On the play, Cesar Hernandez scored from third. Philadelphia led 2-1 by the end of the sixth.
The Bucs did not give up and continued to battle back. In the top of the seventh, Jung ho Kang scored on a wild pitch by Phillies’ reliever Michael Mariot. With bases loaded, Frazier grounded out to end the Pirates’ chances for further damage, but the game was tied 2-2.
However, the game did not stay tied at two for long. In the eighth, Felipe Rivero allowed several walks and a single filling the bases with Phillies. Freddy Galvis then hit a sacrifice fly deep enough to center to allow Quinn to tag up and score. Rivero struck out the next batter, but Philadelphia led at the bottom of the eighth 3-2.
With their last chance to rally, the Pirates did just that off Phillies closer Jeanmar Gomez. Francisco Cervelli took a walk to lead off the inning. Alen Hanson entered to pinch run for Cervelli and ended up at third after a double to right field by Mercer. Rodriguez walked up to the plate to pinch hit for Rivero and crushed his second career pinch-hit homerun. The three run shot sealed the game for Pittsburgh.
Tony Watson entered the game in the bottom of the ninth. He earned his 12th save after throwing a one-two-three outing with two strikeouts.
The Bucs will look to add to their win column as they hand the ball to Steven Brault for his sixth career start Wednesday night. First pitch in Philadelphia will be thrown at 7:05 P.M. ET.