Injury-Ridden Phils Fall to the Pirates

The injury-thinned Phillies couldn't pull out a win against the Pittburgh Pirates Thursday night. The Pirates took the Phils down in a 3-2 victory.

Rookies Jose Tabata and Pedro Alvarez drove in a run each as the Pirates beat a team with a winning record for only the second time in 33 games since May 25. Their last victory over an above .500 team was a 6-3 win over San Francisco on June 5.

On Wednesday, Pirates rookie Brad Lincoln won his first in the majors by pitching seven innings during a 2-0 victory in Chicago.

The Phillies lost their third in four games a few hours after learning star second baseman Chase Utley probably won't return until September because of a damaged ligament in his right thumb that required surgery earlier in the day.

Philadelphia has seven players on the disabled list and that doesn't include backup catcher Brian Schneider, who was lifted in the fourth inning with a hyperextended left thumb.

Wilson Valdez, one of the many backups the Phillies need to produce while they fight through injuries that have stripped them of 30 percent of their offense, hit his second homer in three days to tie it at 1 in the third. But Philadelphia's only other run off McCutchen resulted from second baseman Andy LaRoche's throwing error that allowed a run to score in the fifth.

McCutchen (1-3) was 1-5 in 11 career games before limiting Philadelphia to six hits and one earned run, striking out four and walking none in 5 1-3 innings. Four relievers combined to work 32-3 scoreless innings, with Evan Meek pitching a scoreless seventh and eighth.

Meek struck out Ryan Howard and got Raul Ibanez on a fly ball after Jimmy Rollins doubled with one out in the eighth. Octavio Dotel finished up in the ninth for his 17th save in 20 opportunities, striking out Shane Victorino to end the game with a runner on third.

Phillies starter Cole Hamels (6-7) lost his fifth in six decisions despite limiting Pittsburgh to five hits -- all but one a single over seven innings. He struck out eight and walked two.

Bobby Crosby had a run-scoring single in the second, Tabata added another in the fourth and Alvarez -- shifted from sixth to second in the batting order -- had the lone Pittsburgh extra-base hit with a double to left-center in the third that missed by a few feet of being his first career homer.

Alvarez, one of three Pirates rookies in the lineup, had struck out in 16 of his previous 31at-bats.

The Pirates, coming off a 2-7 road trip against the Rangers, Athletics and Cubs, beat an NL East team for only the third time in 12 games.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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