The Pittsburgh Pirates captured a series from the Philadelphia
Phillies on Saturday night in front of the largest crowd in PNC
Park history. If they can complete a sweep, they’ll do something
that’s happened only once in the ballpark’s 11-year history.
The Pirates look to reach .500 after June 1 for just the second
time since PNC opened, but Roy Halladay stands in their way Sunday
afternoon as he tries to help the Phillies avoid a season-high
fifth straight loss.
For a franchise that hasn’t finished with a winning record since
1992, getting to .500 means a bit more to the Pirates (28-29) than
Pittsburgh was a game over at 18-17 on May 9 before losing six
straight, but it’s threatening to get back to the break-even point
after a pair of wins against the Phillies. After pulling out a 2-1
victory in 12 innings Friday, the Pirates got three hits apiece
from Andrew McCutchen and Lyle Overbay and seven strong innings
from Charlie Morton to win 6-3 on Saturday in front of a record
crowd of 39,441.
“That was the most energized crowd that I think I’ve ever
pitched in front of,” Morton said after Pittsburgh beat the
Phillies (34-24) at home for the sixth time in seven games. “It was
just an unbelievable atmosphere. It was just pretty awesome.”
The only other time Pittsburgh’s reached .500 after May was June
11, 2005, when it got to 30-30 before losing five in a row.
Getting there Sunday certainly won’t be easy with Halladay (7-3,
2.56 ERA) on the hill. The reigning NL Cy Young Award winner is 1-1
with a 1.13 ERA in three career starts against the Pirates, though
he suffered a 2-1 loss May 18, 2010, at Citizens Bank Park despite
going the distance.
Overbay and Garrett Jones are a combined 6 for 9 against
The right-hander hasn’t exactly been on top of his game in his
last few starts, allowing 21 hits and seven runs over 14 innings,
but he was good enough to win Monday in muggy Washington. Halladay
gave up three solo homers over seven innings and four runs overall
in a 5-4 victory.
“I saw him gut it out,” manager Charlie Manuel told the
Phillies’ official website. “Teams get up for Roy, which is good.
He likes that. That’s part of competing. That’s part of who he is.
That’s part of wanting to be a champion. Some days you’re going to
get hit, but I’d say he passed the test pretty good today.”
James McDonald (3-3, 4.85) tries to help complete the sweep
while building off some strong recent performances. He’s gone at
least six innings without allowing more than two runs in six of his
last seven starts.
McDonald left without a decision in a 5-1 victory on Tuesday
despite holding the Mets to one run over six innings, but manager
Clint Hurdle was impressed after the right-hander neutralized a
threat with a strikeout on his final pitch.
“James pitched outstanding baseball,” Hurdle said. “The way he
finished the sixth inning was impressive as well.”
McDonald has made only two relief appearances against the
There’s a good chance he might not see Jimmy Rollins in his
first start versus Philadelphia, which has totaled seven runs
during its four-game slide. Rollins fouled a ball off his right
knee in the first inning Saturday and left in the third, and though
the injury doesn’t appear serious, it’ll likely keep him out
The Phillies haven’t lost five straight since May 22-27,