Pirates hand Phillies 4th straight loss 6-3

The Philadelphia Phillies are still struggling to score runs,

and they might have to find a way out of that funk without their

leadoff hitter.

Charlie Morton pitched seven solid innings and the Pittsburgh

Pirates sent Philadelphia to its fourth consecutive loss, 6-3

Saturday night.

The Phillies, who have scored only seven runs during the losing

streak, played the final six innings without shortstop Jimmy

Rollins, who fouled a ball off his right knee during the game’s

first at-bat and was taken out of the game by the bottom of the

third with a bruise.

”It’ll be a couple of days before I’m back, in my mind, but I

don’t think it will be a DL thing,” Rollins said. ”If it stays

swollen for four days with no improvement then we’d probably have

to look into it. I’m limping but I can still walk, so I see that as

a good sign.”

Rollins went down a day after the Phillies had their entire

regular everyday lineup healthy and available for the first time

this season. It hasn’t yet translated into offense.

”You’ve got to stay with it. You’ve got to stay up,”

Philadelphia manager Charlie Manuel said. ”We can’t be dragging

and moping and stuff like that. Actually, we’ve got to concentrate

on our at-bats and hitting strikes. Tonight, we had our chances and

we tried to fight back at the end, which was a good sign, but we’re

in a serious funk and we need to get out of it.”

The Phillies managed two runs against Morton, who has won four

of his past five decisions to improve to 6-2. His ERA stands at

2.52 – fourth in the NL – after allowing a total of six earned runs

over his past five starts.

Placido Polanco hit a two-out single off of closer Joel Hanrahan

with the bases loaded in the ninth, but Chase Utley flied out to

end the game.

Andrew McCutchen and Lyle Overbay each had three hits and

Brandon Wood homered for Pittsburgh (28-29), which has won four of

five and could complete a sweep of first-place Philadelphia on

Sunday to reach .500.

”Charlie’s the man. He’s got a super sinker,” Wood said. ”I

don’t want to face him.”

Not many were saying that last season, when Morton was 2-12 with

a 7.57 ERA as the Pirates lost 105 games.

Morton was charged with two runs on six hits and two walks with

five strikeouts Saturday, his trademark sinker inducing 11

groundball outs to only two outfield putouts.

”He was very good,” Rollins said. ”I even came over to tell

(two-time Cy Young winner Roy Halladay) that the first couple of

pitches I saw, he really was looking like Roy on the mound. It was

pretty funny.

”He moved the ball around. He got his ground balls – he’s been

doing that better than anybody – and he threw a lot of

strikes.”

The Pirates, 15th in the NL in home attendance, drew the largest

crowd in 11-year-old PNC Park’s history, 39,441, helped by plenty

of Philly fans.

”That was the most energized crowd that I think I’ve ever

pitched in front of,” Morton said. ”There was a lot of hostility

toward us from a lot of Philly fans, and a ton of supportive fans.

It was just an unbelievable atmosphere. It was just pretty

awesome.”

After the game, Rollins was walking with a pronounced limp but

did not seem overly concerned the injury was serious. No x-rays

were taken, and Manuel said Rollins is day-to-day, though he is not

expected to be in the lineup Sunday.

Polanco and Raul Ibanez each had two hits for the Phillies.

With Joe Blanton on the disabled list and Vance Worley in the

minors, Kyle Kendrick (3-4) made his third start of the season for

Philadelphia and first since May 19.

He was charged with four runs on eight hits with no walks or

strikeouts in five innings.

”For making a spot start, he was all right,” Manuel said. ”A

lot of times, you give up four runs, you give us a chance to win

the game. Nowadays, though, it’s not good enough.”

Notes: The Phillies made a roster move involving relievers,

optioning LHP Mike Zagurski to Triple-A Lehigh Valley and recalling

RHP David Herndon. Zagurski had a 5.40 ERA while Herndon had a 2.45

for Lehigh Valley. He had a 6.32 ERA in 14 relief appearances with

Phillies earlier this season. … Morton came into the game leading

the majors with a 1.91 groundball-to-flyball out ratio. … The

Pirates have won six of seven at home against the Phillies and are

22-12 against them at PNC Park.