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Pirates' offensive fireworks subdue Phils
Pittsburgh, PA (SportsNetwork.com) - Jordy Mercer collected two hits and drove in four runs, as Pittsburgh came up with an 8-2 victory over Philadelphia in the opener of a three-game series.
Andrew McCutchen finished a home run shy of the cycle, going 4-for-5 with two doubles and two RBI for the Pirates, who have won four of their last five.
Gerrit Cole (7-4) left after fanning five and giving up one hit through five innings and 80 pitches due to right lat soreness. Five different relievers combined to finish off the two-hitter.
"It just started getting a little tight and, just coming off the DL, we just wanted to err on the side of caution," Cole said.
Chase Utley recorded an RBI single, Ben Revere logged the only other hit for the Phillies, losers in seven of their last eight.
Roberto Hernandez (3-8) departed after 5 2/3 frames having allowed 10 hits and five runs with four walks.
Cole exited with a 5-0 lead after allowing just the single to Revere, then in the sixth, Stolmy Pimentel allowed an RBI single to Utley and walked Ryan Howard to load the bases. Jared Hughes entered and gave up a run-scoring double-play grounder to Byrd but no further damage was incurred after Cody Asche fanned looking.
The hosts then extended their lead in the seventh on Mercer's two-out, two-run double, and in the following inning, McCutchen barely missed his cycle- completing blast, but settled for a double that plated Gregory Polanco -- who worked a leadoff walk.
"I thought it was going to be a home run off the bat, I honestly did," McCutchen said. "You never know with this ballpark. Some days it goes, some days it doesn't."
Hernandez was ineffective throughout, beginning with the opening frame.
Starling Marte singled and stole second before being thrown out at the plate on what became an infield hit by McCutchen, but the Pirates went on to score four times in their first turn at the plate after back-to-back RBI singles from Russell Martin and Josh Harrison, then a two-run hit from Mercer with the bases loaded.
"It sets a tough tone," Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg said. "You feel like you're behind the eight-ball early. It's a tough inning with the defense out there waiting for action and for us not knowing if he's going to be able to get out of it or if we're going to have to go to the bullpen."
With two down in the second, McCutchen reached third when Phils outfielders Domonic Brown and Tony Gwynn, Jr. collided on a fly to left center, but Hernandez avoided trouble by grounding out Neil Walker to end the frame.
Pittsburgh made it 5-0 in the fourth on Polanco's one-out single and a two-out double from McCutchen.
With Friday's victory, the Pirates assumed a 9-8 edge against the Phillies in games played on America's Independence Day ... Philadelphia had its three-game July 4 win streak snapped, and lost for just the second time in 11 matchups on this date since 2004 ... Martin ended up with two hits and scored twice ... Prior to the contest, the Phillies activated Brown from the paternity list and optioned outfielder Aaron Altherr back to Double-A Reading.
07/04 22:33:28 ET
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