The Phils crush the Pirates, 12-2, for their fourth straight win.

The Phils’ offense scored early and often, as they crushed their cross-state rival, the Pirates, 12-2, increasing their present winning streak to four game while increasing their lead in the NL East to five games over both the Nationals and the Marlins.

The Pirates took a quick 1-0 lead as their lead-off man, Delwyn Young, hit a lead-off home run, his first home run of the year, into the right field seats. The Phils would quickly tie the game up at one-all in their half of the first as Jimmy Rollins, who was returning from a calf injury, hits into an RBI ground out, 3-1, knocking in Shane Victorino, who had earlier singled, stole second base, and then moved up to third on a Placido Polanco ground out, 4-3. The Phils then proceeded to bust the game wide open in the bottom of the third. With the bases loaded, via a single to a returning Carlos Ruiz, who was also returning from an injury, Victorino being hit by a pitch, sending Ruiz to second, and a Polanco single, moving both Ruiz and Victorino up a base, and with two men out, Ryan Howard hits a two-run single, knocking in both Ruiz and Victorino, giving the Phils a 3-1 lead, while sending Polanco up to second base. Jayson Werth then follows with a three-run bomb to right, his eighth home run of the season, scoring Polanco and Howard before him, making it a 6-1 Phils’ lead. The Pirates would make it 6-2 Phils in the fifth as, with a runner on third, and with one man out, Young hits into an RBI ground out, 4-2, knocking in Ronny Cedeno, who had earlier doubled, and had gone to third on a Akinori Iwamura ground out, 1-3. The Phils would get that run back in the bottom of the sixth as, with one man on, and with two men out, Raul Ibanez, who had earlier singled, and had gone to second on a soft grounder by Greg Dobbs, 5-3, scored on center fielder Andrew McCutchen’s fielding error of a Kyle Kendrick fly ball, giving the Phils a 7-2 lead. The Phils added to their lead in the seventh as, with runners on the corners, and with one man out, Werth hits a RBI double, just missing another home run, knocking in Rollins, who had earlier doubled, and had moved up to third on Howard’s single, making it 8-2 Phils, while sending Howard, who had just singled, on to third base. The Phils would then score their final runs in the eight as, with the bases loaded, via a single to Victorino, and then walks to both Polanco and Rollins, and with two men out, Howard hits a grand-slam home run to deep center field, his seventh home run of the season, scoring Victorino, Polanco and Rollins before him, giving the Phils a 12-2 lead. The Phils then gave the ball to Antonio Bastardo, who proceeded to pitch a 1-2-3 ninth, ending the game by getting Ryan Doumit to fly out to center for the final out.

 Kyle Kendrick gets the win as he pitches eight strong innings, giving up just two runs on five scattered hits and a walk, while he strikes out four. His record is now 2-1 with a reduced ERA of 5.24. Antonio Bastrado pitches a 1-2-3 ninth, striking out two. Charlie Morton took the lost as he lasts only four innings, giving up six runs on six hits and a hit batter, while he strikes out three. His record is now 1-7 with an ERA of 9.68. Jeff Karstens pitches two and a third innings, giving up two runs, only one of which was earned, on three hits, while he strikes out two. Jack Taschner pitches an inning and two-thirds, giving up four runs on four hits and two walks.

The Phils’ offense had thirteen hits in the game, with Ryan Howard leading the squad with three hits, two singles and a grand-slam home run, knocking in six runs, while scoring two, as he raised his average to .299. Shane Victorino, a returning Jimmy Rollins and Jayson Werth follow with two hits apiece, with both of Victorino’s hits being singles, as he scores three runs, Rollins’ hits being a single and a double, scoring two runs, while he knocks in one on a ground out, and Werth’s hits being a double and a three-run home run, knocking in four runs. Placido Polanco, Raul Ibanez, Greg Dobbs and a returning Carlos Ruiz had the other four Phils’ hits, all singles, while the other Phil run came in on a Pirates’ error.

The Phils (24-13, 1st East) will conclude their short two-game series with the Pirates (16-22, 4th Central) tonight. The game will be played at Citizens Bank Park and will start at 7:05 pm Eastern, weather permitting. The Phils will send to the mound their ace Roy Halladay (6-1, 1.59), who is coming off a no-decision against the Rockies on May 12, where he went just six and two-thirds innings, giving up two runs on ten hits and two walks, while striking out four, in the Phils’ 4-3 extra-innings lost. Doc will be trying to regain his form so that he can record his seventh win of the season. The Pirates will try to counter with Zach Duke (2-4, 5.56), who is coming off a lost against the Reds on May 12, as he went only five innings, giving up five runs on nine hits and a walk, while striking out only two, in the Pirates’ 5-0 lost. He will be trying to keep the Pirates in the game against the Phils’ explosive offense. The Phils will try to end the short two-game series with a two game sweep.  

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