PHILADELPHIA -- Freddy Galvis and Tommy Joseph, two surprising sources of power for the Phillies all season, each went deep Wednesday night in a 6-2 win over the Pirates -- and their unexpected collection of pitchers -- at Citizens Bank Park.
Galvis ripped a two-run shot off Pirates left-hander Steven Brault in the second inning, giving the Phillies an early lead and extending his career-high home run total to 19. Galvis has easily surpassed his previous single-season high of seven, which he set last year. Joseph padded Philadelphia's lead in the sixth with a solo shot to left. Taken off the Phillies' 40-man roster after last season, Joseph has clubbed 19 homers in 92 games this season. That proved to be plenty of support for right-hander Jake Thompson, who allowed two runs on six hits over six strong innings.
"I don't think anybody would have bet on that, but it's good to see," Phillies manager Pete Mackanin, asked if he could have predicted Galvis and Joseph each hitting 19 homers.
The Pirates allowed 15 hits, continuing their September slide. They have now lost 13 of their last 16 games. Brault, one of three rookies in the Bucs' rotation, allowed five runs (three earned) on nine hits. He gave way to three pitchers who weren't with Pittsburgh in August: Zach Phillips, Drew Hutchison and Wade LeBlanc. Phillips and LeBlanc joined the club on Tuesday, and they put together a pair of scoreless appearances in their Pirates debuts. But Brault put the Pirates in an early hole in a shaky 3 2/3-innings start.
"He didn't have a dominant go-to pitch. The fastball command was inconsistent," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. "He showed some command early. Balls were hit hard. The slider didn't come into play, and the changeup wasn't an effective pitch for him, which we've seen some in the past."
The Pirates staged a late rally, putting two runners on with one out in the ninth. But third-base coach Rick Sofield sent Sean Rodriguez home on Matt Joyce's single to center, and Rodriguez was thrown out by center fielder Roman Quinn. Considering Joyce's hit would have loaded the bases with one out for pinch-hitter Jason Rogers and slugging rookie Josh Bell, Hurdle said there was "no sense" in sending Rodriguez.
With the loss, the Bucs fell back to four games below .500 and remained six games out of the second National League Wild Card spot with 18 games remaining this season.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Freddy has pop: Galvis' homer gave him 64 RBIs, which ranks second on the team. Only Maikel Franco (75) has more. The power that has accompanied his stellar defense at shortstop has been nice, but Galvis' .269 on-base percentage entering the night also ranked last among 151 qualified hitters.
"I think 500 at-bats, 550 at-bats and you put 20 good swings and you hit the ball good especially in this park, then you can get homers," Galvis said. "I mean, I feel good with that. I think I have to do better with my on-base percentage. I'd like to get my average up. But I think I am helping the team a little bit." More >
Hutch in the plans: The Pirates have been weighing whether Hutchison or Trevor Williams should fill the open spot in their rotation on Saturday in Cincinnati. Both right-handers warmed up during Wednesday's game, but Hutchison ultimately made his way to the mound for two innings. Hutchison loaded the bases but escaped in the fifth, a good sign for a pitcher plagued all season by big innings, but he gave up a solo homer to Joseph in the sixth.
"I thought it was a more crisp outing," Hurdle said. "I thought there was some improvement."
Thompson keeps rolling: Thompson's turnaround continues. After he posted a 9.78 ERA (21 earned runs in 19 1/3 innings) in the first four starts of his big league career, he has posted a 2.49 ERA (seven earned runs in 25 1/3 innings) in his last four. That included two earned runs in six innings against the Pirates on Wednesday. Mackanin said Thompson's recent success means he will finish the season in the rotation.
"I think if I had continued struggling that probably would have been the case," Thompson said. "They probably would have shut me down. But the last few have been pretty good."
Cutch happens: After emerging from his season-long slump with a strong August, Andrew McCutchen scuffled through the start of September. He entered Wednesday with three hits in his last 27 at-bats and eight strikeouts in his last eight games, then struck out in his first at-bat. But McCutchen snapped out of his funk, launching his 21st homer to left field in the fourth inning. He drove a fly ball deep to right field in the sixth, holding up his hands in exasperation when the ball didn't clear the fence, though he stroked a single to right in eighth to finish with two hits.
"There's a good chance. He's making a great first impression. We saw him in the spring. He had a solid year. As long as he can stay on the field and doesn't get injured, I'd like to think he's got a good chance. I knew he had a good arm, but that's a pretty darn good arm." -- Mackanin, on Quinn possibly making the Opening Day roster next season
"Nobody has a zero ERA and nobody hits 1.000. Everybody makes mistakes, but you have to be able to minimize those mistakes."-- Brault
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• Quinn threw out Rodriguez at the plate in the ninth inning. Statcast™ clocked the throw at 96.1 mph. That is the strongest throw by a Phillies outfielder this season, assist or otherwise.
• Joseph's homer was his 19th of the season, tying him for sixth place on the Phillies' all-time list with Don Hurst (1928) and Puddin' Head Jones ('49) for most home runs by a rookie. It is the third-most by a Phillies rookie since '71. Only Ryan Howard (22 in 2005) and Scott Rolen (21 in '97) have hit more in that span.
• Phillips ran out of the Pirates' bullpen with two outs in the fourth inning and struck out Joseph. He became the 53rd different player used by the Pirates this season, a new franchise record. Oddly, Phillips -- called up on Tuesday -- wears jersey No. 53. LeBlanc entered the game after Hutchison, becoming No. 54 (but wearing No. 38).
"We did set the record, and we gave it some gap. I'm guessing we need to be done," Hurdle said. "I don't think we need anymore. If we need anymore, we've got another challenge on our hands."
The Phillies challenged a call in the sixth inning that David Freese beat a throw to first base from Galvis in the second half of a double play. The replay official overturned the call, saying Galvis' throw arrived first. Freese was out, ending the inning.
The Pirates challenged the call in the ninth inning when Rodriguez was ruled out at the plate on Joyce's one-out single. Rodriguez didn't appear to touch the plate on his slide home, and he was tagged out by Cameron Rupp. After a short review, the call was confirmed and the Pirates lost their challenge.
WHAT'S NEXT Pirates: After skipping a start to manage his workload, rookie right-hander Chad Kuhl (3-3, 4.09 ERA) will return to the rotation as the Pirates wrap up a four-game series against the Phillies on Thursday night at 7:05 p.m. ET Citizens Bank Park. Kuhl is a native of nearby Bear, Del., and he expects to have more than 100 family members and friends in the stands.
Phillies: Phillies right-hander Jerad Eickhoff (10-13, 3.73 ERA) starts Thursday night in the final game of a four-game series against the Pirates at Citizens Bank Park. He pitched six scoreless innings last weekend against the Nationals, and he has a 2.63 ERA in his previous four starts.