Correia, bullpen stand out in extra-innings loss
Righty tosses 5 2/3 scoreless innings in season debut vs. Pirates
PITTSBURGH -- Philadelphia's pitchers did their part in a 13-inning game, but it still ended in a 1-0 loss to the Pirates on Friday night at PNC Park.
Veteran right-hander Kevin Correia made his 2015 debut, and held the Pirates scoreless for 5 2/3 innings. From there, the bullpen threw seven shutout innings in a valiant effort.
The Phillies' offense just could not get a run across, leaving 13 runners on base and going 0-for-9 with runners in scoring position.
"We had opportunities," Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg said. "We had some chances, primarily early and late. They came up with the big hit."
The Pirates did come through with the game's lone RBI -- a single into center field by Starling Marte off reliever Dustin McGowan.
But aside from McGowan's 91-mph slider, which slipped past the outstretched gloves of the middle infielders, the Phillies' pitching staff -- Correia and the bullpen -- were as good as they needed to be.
Correia said he thought he might be a bit rusty. It was his first time on a Major League mound this season, and his first start since allowing seven runs on Aug. 24, 2014, as a member of the Dodgers.
But to the contrary, the journeyman right-hander was sharp, allowing five hits with four strikeouts.
"He showed moving stuff. Effectively wild at times, but he made pitches," Sandberg said. "For his first outing, I think he did a really nice job."
Correia, who spent the 2015 season up until this point in the Minors, felt like he got away with a couple of pitches, but was happy to be throwing in the big leagues.
Of course, it came at a small price -- on two occasions, Correia, while not hurt, was hit by balls off the bat.
"It was a welcome back kind of thing," Correia said.
The bullpen's effort, which included appearances by McGowan, Elvis Araujo, Luis Garcia, Ken Giles, Justin De Fratus and Jeanmar Gomez, were nearly flawless. As a unit, the relievers scattered eight hits and struck out eight.
But Philadelphia's bats couldn't muster a run.
The Phillies especially struggled with two outs. Of the nine runners in scoring position on the evening for the Phillies, six of them were left on with two outs.
Both teams were caught in the same rhythm offensively: get runners on base, move them into scoring position, and strand them.
Unfortunately for the Phillies, the Pirates broke that rhythm first.
"It came down to one hit that found the hole with a man on base," Sandberg said. "It took a long time to get that, and we came up on the short end of that."