PITTSBURGH -- The Pirates' 17-5 loss to the Phillies on Friday night set a few records. It was the longest nine-inning game ever played at PNC Park and in the history of either club. The four-hour, 30-minute affair was, in fact, tied for the longest nine-inning game in National League
PITTSBURGH -- The Pirates' 17-5 loss to the Phillies on Friday night set a few records. It was the longest nine-inning game ever played at PNC Park and in the history of either club. The four-hour, 30-minute affair was, in fact, tied for the longest nine-inning game in National League history.
It also may have made Pittsburgh's current losing streak feel longer than four games.
After being swept at Dodger Stadium, the Pirates began an 11-game homestand with a demoralizing defeat against the Phillies. Right-hander Trevor Williams gave up five runs in the Pirates' second straight 2 1/3-inning start before the bullpen struggled through the final 6 2/3 innings.
The Bucs have lost 30 of their last 44 games. They've been outscored, 48-13, over the last four games while twice allowing 17 runs.
"We're tired of losing," Williams said. "I'm tired of getting my [butt] kicked every five days. I'm searching. It's peaks and valleys. Right now, collectively, we're in a valley.
"It's going to turn around. We're going to come to the field tomorrow expecting to win and looking to put up some runs. I think for me, personally, it's getting a little embarrassing. I need to have ownership and be better about it."
The Pirates rotation has played a large part in their recent skid. Since Joe Musgrove threw seven scoreless innings against the Padres on June 29, Pittsburgh's starters have allowed 31 runs (28 earned) while pitching only 22 innings over six games.
As a result, the bullpen has been asked to cover a lot of innings, and the Pirates have had to shuffle personnel to make that possible while still keeping everyone rested. Steven Brault did his part for 2 2/3 scoreless innings on Friday, then Richard Rodriguez (two runs, two outs), Dovydas Neverauskas (four runs, two outs), Josh Smoker (three runs, two outs) and Tyler Glasnow (three runs, two innings) let the game slip away.
"What would help us is probably more length from the starters," manager Clint Hurdle said. "It's been an extended span of short outings, but I still think we've carried the workload. We need to find better execution."
Still, the Pirates rallied after Williams left the game. Elias Diaz drove in one run on a groundout in the third, then Corey Dickerson finished a 12-pitch at-bat against Nick Pivetta with an RBI single to left. Starling Marte added an RBI single in the fourth to make it a one-run game. They had a chance to tie it in the fifth, but Dickerson was thrown out at home after breaking on a contact play off a Josh Harrison grounder.
"He did what he was supposed to do," Harrison said. "I didn't do what I was supposed to do."
Then came the bullpen struggles. Rodriguez lost his command for the first time all season, walking three batters and throwing only half of his 28 pitches for strikes. Neverauskas escaped the sixth, but the Phillies methodically pounded out seven runs against Neverauskas and Smoker in the seventh, capping their rally with Andrew Knapp's three-run homer. After a scoreless eighth, Glasnow allowed three runs in the ninth.
At the end of a long night, Harrison admitted some players were frustrated even if they weren't showing it. But how can they put this stretch behind them?
"Everybody's coming in every day with a clean slate. That's what we're telling ourselves," Harrison said. "We might not be getting the results we want, but the effort and work guys are putting in, you keep doing it, it's going to change at some point. It has to."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Big blast: Williams said his outing boiled down to "poorly executed pitches to the wrong guys." That proved to be his undoing in the third inning. He plunked leadoff man Cesar Hernandez, walked Rhys Hoskins, then gave up a three-run homer to Odubel Herrera.
"They hurt me with the big swing tonight," said Williams, who has allowed 12 runs in 13 innings over his last three starts. "The one big miss was to Herrera. We were trying to go up [in the zone with a fastball] and didn't get up enough."
Marte swiped second base in the fourth and sixth innings, then stole third in the sixth for the 200th, 201st and 202nd steals of his Major League career. Since 1900, only seven other Pirates have stolen 200 or more bases. Barry Bonds was the last to do so, stealing 251 bases during his time with Pittsburgh. Marte, who has swiped at least 21 bags in each of his six full Major League seasons, ranks ninth all-time among Pirates players in stolen bases.
HE SAID IT
"Baseball [doesn't] care about your feelings. It does not. You've got to keep pushing. You've got to show up every day. All you can count on [are] the guys next to you. Baseball doesn't care." -- Harrison, on the losing streak
Jameson Taillon (5-6, 4.05 ERA) will start against the Phillies on Saturday at 4:05 p.m. ET at PNC Park. Last time out, he allowed three earned runs over 4 2/3 innings and earned a no-decision in the Pirates' win in San Diego. Taillon holds a 1-1 record and 5.68 ERA in three career starts against Philadelphia. Righty Jacob Arrieta (5-6, 3.54) will be on the mound for the Phillies.
Adam Berry has covered the Pirates for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook and read his blog.