Phillies catcher Chris Coste belted a 3 run homer amidst an 8 run uprising against Pirates’ starter Shane Youman in the 5th inning. Coste and shortstop Jimmy Rollins, going 2 for 3 with 4 RBIs and 3 for 5 with 3 RBIs respectively, carried the bulk of the load while the Phils overcame starter J.D. Durbin’s five shaky innings and a 5-2 Pirates lead to win by a 10-5 score. Durbin was credited with the win despite his shakiness.
By winning, the Phillies picked up a game on the NL East leading Mets who split a Saturday doubleheader at Shea Stadium with the Washington Nationals winning the opener by a 3-1 score while losing the nightcap by a 6-5 score. The Phillies also took over undisputed 2nd place with a one game lead on the Atlanta Braves who lost to Arizona by 4-3 score.
The Phillies took an early 2-0 lead with single runs in the 1st and 2nd innings on Jimmy Rollins’ RBI double to left centerfield and Chris Coste’s RBI double, also to left centerfield.
In the meantime, Durbin retired the first 8 hitters he faced. But, after Durbin got the first 2 outs in the 3rd inning, the Pirates jumped to a 4-2 lead scoring 4 runs on a 3 run homer to leftfield by 2nd baseman Freddy Sanchez and an RBI single by rightfielder Xavier Nady. The Phillies went down in the 4th inning despite a leadoff single by newly acquired 2nd baseman Tadahito Iguchi as Youman retired the next 3 Phils.
The Bucs added a 5th run in the 5th inning as Nady got his 2nd RBI of the game on a double to rightfield. The Pirates entered the Phillies’ half of the 5th with a 5-2 lead. But then came the deluge.
AP Sports Writer Rob Maaddi describes the inning and the Phillies’ bludgeoning of losing pitcher Youman for Yahoo sports;
The Phillies sent 12 batters to the plate in the fifth. Shane Victorino doubled to start the inning and Rollins reached on a bunt single. Ryan Howard walked to load the bases and Pat Burrell walked to force in Victorino. Rollins scored when third baseman Jose Castillo booted Wes Helms’ grounder for an error.
[Masumi] Kuwata replaced Youman and allowed Iguchi’s sacrifice fly to tie it at 5. Coste ripped the next pitch into the left-field seats to give the lead for good.
Despite hitting .328 in 198 at-bats last year, Coste started this season in the minors. He could be heading down again when outfielder Jayson Werth comes off the disabled list, though the Phillies could move catcher Rod Barajas instead.
“That’d be tough,” manager Charlie Manuel said about sending Coste to the minors again. “He has some intangibles. He’s a good player and he steps up at a big moment.”
Teammates call Coste: “Chris Clutch.”
Rollins made it 10-5 with a two-run triple. The 5-foot-8, 174-pound Rollins, normally a leadoff hitter, leads the NL with 243 total bases, including 20 homers and 13 triples. Only Alex Rodriguez has more total bases (276) than Rollins.
The Phils’ 8 run 5th inning was a season-high output for them in an inning.
With a 10-5 lead, the bullpen took over in the 6th inning and held the Pirates to 2 hits over the remainder of the game to lock up the win and give indications of how things could look in the stretch run against the Mets and Braves. Jose Mesa, Tom Gordon, Ryan Madson and Brett Myers combined to completely close down the Pirates, each pitching an inning.
For the scores, boxscores on all of Saturday’s games, click here.
The Phils next travel to Chicago for a 3 game series with the Cubs beginning Monday. The opener is scheduled as duel of evenly matched lefthanders who both own 11 wins as Cole Hamels opposes 8 year veteran Ted Lilly.
The Phils then move on to play a series with Milwaukee beginning on Thursday.
For the scores, boxscores on all of Sunday’s games, click here.