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National League Preview from The Sports Network
Sunday, April 8th (All times Eastern)
Philadelphia Phillies (1-1) at Pittsburgh Pirates (1-1), 1:35 p.m.
Probable Starting Pitchers: Philadelphia - Vance Worley (0-0, 0.00) Pittsburgh - James McDonald (0-0, 0.00)
(Sports Network) - The Pittsburgh Pirates shoot for a series win this afternoon when they play the rubber match of their three-game series against the Philadelphia Phillies at PNC Park.
After being dominated by Roy Halladay in the opener, the Pirates were once again kept in check by Cliff Lee. But, the Phillies couldn't get to Jeff Karstens either and the Bucs eventually pulled out a 2-1, 10-inning win when Alex Presley beat out a slow grounder, allowing Michael McKenry to cross the plate with the winning run.
"I knew it wasn't hit well. He was kind of moving with the swing," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said of Presley's hit.
The player agreed.
"I hit it just bad enough," said Presley.
Hunter Pence singled home a run in the first inning while Shane Victorino and Placido Polanco each added two hits for the Phillies. Lee gave up just one run on two hits with two walks and four strikeouts over six innings in the start.
"I felt good the whole time, but they fouled off a lot of pitches," said Lee. "They made me throw a lot of pitches -- a lot of foul balls, a lot of deep counts."
Without Ryan Howard (Achilles) and Chase Utley (knee), the Phillies are struggling at the plate, hitting a mere .221 with 14 strikeouts while scoring two runs through two games. They're 2-for-13 with runners in scoring position.
Hoping for a little more run support this afternoon will be right-hander Vance Worley, who got a chance last season thanks to injuries to Roy Oswalt and Joe Blanton, but surprised everyone, going 11-3 with a 3.01 ERA in 25 games (21 starts).
"It's no different," Worley said. "I'm not going to assume I have the job won. I'm going to have to continue to earn that spot."
Worley, who finished third in NL Rookie of the Year voting, faced the Pirates one time last season, but did not get a decision, as he allowed four runs and seven hits in six innings. He also struck out seven in that one.
Pittsburgh, meanwhile, will counter with 27-year-old righty James McDonald, who was 9-9 last season with a 4.21 ERA. His nine wins were a career-high, as were his 31 starts, 142 strikeouts and 171 innings pitched.
"He has an opportunity to master his craft," Hurdle said. "That's a journey he is embarking on now. Once all big leaguers get in a full season, they want to master their craft and be consistently good at what they're good at."
McDonald, though, was awful this spring, as he went 0-2 in six Grapefruit League assignments and pitched to an 8.31 ERA, allowing 20 runs in 21 2/3 innings of work.
Philadelphia won four of its six matchups with the Pirates last season. However, the Phils are just 7-11 in their last 17 trips to the Steel City.
04/08 10:28:24 ET
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