Thy Kingham come
Pirates starter pitches, hits team to victory over Phillies
PITTSBURGH — With the Pittsburgh Pirates struggling to score runs, rookie pitcher Nick Kingham came through to give himself some run support.
Kingham pitched six solid innings and drove in two runs, helping the Pirates avoid a three-game sweep with a 4-1 win against the Philadelphia Phillies on Sunday.
One day earlier, Jameson Taillon shut out the Phillies through six innings before allowing three runs in the seventh. The Pirates scored two runs earlier in the game, but gave Taillon no more in a 3-2 loss.
In his eighth major league start, Kingham (3-4) allowed one run and four hits with five strikeouts and one walk for his first win since May 4.
“It was a good bounce back,” Kingham said. “It was a good refresher for myself and for the team just to kick-start things in the right direction. Going forward, I think it’s going to be good for everybody.”
Kingham’s first career hit keyed a three-run fourth inning that gave the Pirates a 4-1 lead.
With two outs, and Austin Meadows on third and Jordy Mercer on second, Kingham doubled over left fielder Rhys Hoskins to drive in both runners and put Pittsburgh ahead 3-1. Josh Bell followed with a double to score Kingham.
“I just got lucky and hit one,” Kingham said. “It was good. It was fun.”
Kingham got in his only jam by allowing the first two batters to reach base in the sixth, but induced Carlos Santana to pop out and struck out Nick Williams and Scott Kingery to get out of it.
“We got into a tough spot. First and second, 3-0 (count),” Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. “He got back into the count and he made pitches and he continued that up with the next hitter. What I liked was that he just kept making pitches and kept going.”
Felipe Vazquez struck out the side in order in the ninth inning for his 18th save.
Drew Anderson (0-1) allowed four runs and eight hits with four strikeouts and one walk in his season debut for the Phillies. Anderson, who was recalled from Triple-A Lehigh Valley to make spot start, said he arrived in Pittsburgh at around 11:30 p.m. Saturday.
“In the minor leagues, you get pretty much used to it. Showing up at 4 a.m. and pitching that day,” Anderson said. “I just came in and I just wanted to battle, and save the bullpen and get a win. Just a couple pitches (got away). It just happened.”
Despite Anderson taking the loss, Phillies manager Gabe Kapler said he was pleased with his performance.
“I thought he did a good job giving us some length,” Kapler said. “So, it was impressive to see a young pitcher come up and really compete against a good lineup.”
Pittsburgh snapped its five-game losing streak, while Philadelphia’s six-game winning streak ended. The Phillies, who entered Sunday tied with the Atlanta Braves for first in the NL East, lost for the second time in 10 games.
Josh Harrison gave the Pirates a 1-0 lead with a run-scoring single to shallow center field in the second inning, before Williams tied it 1-1 in the fourth with a home run, his 11th, to right-center field.
Phillies: With Anderson being recalled, RHP Yacksel Rios was optioned to Lehigh Valley. Anderson was optioned back to Lehigh Valley following the game with a corresponding move coming Monday.
Pirates: C Francisco Cervelli (concussion), who hit fifth in his first MLB game since June 21, was activated from the 10-day disabled list. Cervelli doubled off the center-field wall in his first at bat before finishing the day 1 for 3 with one walk and one steal. C Jacob Stallings was optioned to Triple-A Indianapolis to make room on the 25-man roster.
Phillies: RHP Zach Eflin (7-2, 2.97) will start the first game of a double header against the New York Mets on Monday. RHP Aaron Nola (11-2, 2.41) will start the second game.
Pirates: RHP Ivan Nova (4-6, 4.00) will look to bounce back from allowing seven runs in his last start when he takes the mound against the Washington Nationals on Monday. Nova surrendered those seven runs on nine hits in an 8-3 loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers on July 3 after allowing a combined four runs in his previous four starts.