Pittsburgh 6 – Philadelphia 3
W: C. Morton (6-2)
L: K. Kendrick (3-4)
— Charlie Morton (6-2) pitched seven solid innings and Lyle Overbay, Andrew McCutchen each had three hits as the Pittsburgh Pirates defeated the Philadelphia Phillies 6-3 on Saturday night in front of the largest crowd ever at PNC Park (39,441).
The Pirates (28-29) have taken the first two games of the series and can move back to .500 tomorrow afternoon against the Phills. Pittsburgh has won six of seven at home against the Phills and are 22-12 all-time at PNC Park.
Morton went seven innings strong, allowing 6 hits and 2 runs, while striking out 5 and walking 2 batters.
Morton sinker was excellent for most of the night, getting 11 groundouts and he wowed the crowd against the final batter he faced, delivering a nasty curveball that buckled Placido Polanco’s knees on a called third strike.
“Charlie’s the man. He’s got a super sinker,” infielder Brandon Wood who homered, said after the game. “I don’t want to face him, I’ll tell you that, ” Wood added.
Morton improved to 6-2 on the season and has won 4 of his last 5 starts. He lowered his ERA to 2.52 which ranks 4th in the National League.
“His stuff was playing out better, I think, than he was feeling,” Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. “He didn’t really say he could feel like he could get into a real good rhythm but his stuff was playing, and the rhythm started coming in later innings.”
“He has the weapons,” Hurdle said. “It’ll just be the consistency of putting them in play for a big period of time.”
Where Morton continues to receive praise following his starts is from the opposing clubhouse. Tonight it was Jimmy Rollins who said he went over to two-time Cy Young Roy Halladay to tell Roy that Morton was looking like Roy on the mound.
“He was very good,” Rollins said of Morton, via Associated Press. “I even came over to tell Roy Halladay that the first couple of pitches I saw, he really was looking like Roy on the mound. It was pretty funny.
“He moved the ball around. He got his ground balls and he’s been doing that better than anybody and he threw a lot of strikes.”
Playing in front of a rare sell out crowd, the atmosphere only fueled Morton. “It was just an unbelievable atmosphere. It was just pretty awesome, ” Morton said.
Offensively, the Pirates got big nights from McCutchen, Overbay who went a combined 6-for-10 with 2 runs and 3 RBI’s.
Also of note, Xavier Paul extended his hitting streak to four games, going 1-for-3 in the game. Paul is 8-for-13 in his last four games.