The battle for this season's Pennsylvania baseball supremacy concluded on Sunday afternoon in Philadelphia, when the Phils downed the Pirates in extra innings to complete a sweep at Citizens Bank Park, thanks to a big day from Raul Ibanez and a key 10th-inning hit from Hunter Pence.
With a brooms looming, thanks to a pair of offensive outbursts that were buttressed by similarly impressive pitching performances by Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee in the first two games, the Phillies sent the rookie Vance Worley to the mound in hopes of taking the final game of the series against the Pirates.
The young righthander, who is 5-0 with a 1.14 ERA in his last seven starts, looked to be the man for the job, and made quick work of the Pirates by striking out four of the first six batters he faced, while being staked to an early lead, courtesy of Raul Ibanez's 15th homer of the year – a solo shot in the second inning.
A see-saw battled ensued over the rest of the afternoon, starting in the top of the fifth inning, when the Pirates grabbed the lead thanks to Xavier Paul, who dropped a two-out single into left field that scored a pair. Their lead was short-lived, however, as the Phillies put two on the board in the bottom of the frame, when Jimmy Rollins roped a single to right-center that scored a pair to put the Phillies on top, only to see their lead disappear in the top of the sixth, when Lyle Overbay hit a two-run blast to give the Pirates the advantage, once again. They would add to that lead with an insurance run in the top of the seventh, thanks to an RBI double from Garret Jones.
Things were looking good for the Pirates and starting pitcher Jeff Karstens, who held the Phillies to three runs over seven strong innings of work, and was in line for his ninth win of the season. However, the ever-resilient Phillies would not go quietly into that good night, as they came bounding back in the bottom of the eighth; doing so on Raul Ibanez's second long-ball of the day, this time a two-run shot that evened things up at five.
Nine innings would not be enough to decide the series finale, and Ibanez's big day carried over into the tenth, when he roped a one-out double that scored Hunter Pence – who doubled earlier in the inning – to give the Phillies the game, and the sweep.
Antonio Bastardo (4-0) gets the win, Tony Watson (0-2) gets the loss, and Hunter Pence gets his first “Phillies Moment.”
With the win, the Phillies move to an MLB-best 68-39, and extend their lead in the division to six games.
They head out on the road for a 10-game stretch, where they will be taking on the Colorado Rockies, the San Francisco Giants, and the Los Angeles Dodgers. On Monday night, Cole Hamels (12-6, 2.61) pitches against Jhoulys Chacin (8-8, 3.50) in the first of a three-game set against the Colorado Rockies.