PHILADELPHIA (KDKA/AP) — Pedro Alvarez hit a homerun, but it wasn’t enough for the Pirates to get back into the game as they lost 7-4 to the Phillies on Saturday night in Philadelphia.
Ryan Howard led the Phillies with four hits, including a home run and two doubles and three RBIs.
Hunter Pence had an RBI single in his debut for Philadelphia after being acquired from the Houston Astros on Friday. He started in right field and batted fifth behind Howard.
The Pirates’ James McDonald (7-5) gave up five runs on 10 hits while striking out five and walking two.
Philadelphia’s Cliff Lee (10-7) struck out 11 to reach double digits for the 16th time in his 10-year career, including seven this season. He allowed four runs on eight hits and walked two in 7 2-3 innings.
Ryan Madson pitched a scoreless ninth, striking out the side, for his 17th save in 18 chances.
Howard led off the second with a solo shot to deep center to give Philadelphia a 1-0 lead, snapping McDonald’s 12 2-3 scoreless streak.
Jimmy Rollins put the Phillies ahead 2-0 with a solo homer to right in the third, and, three batters later, Howard made it 3-0 with a double off the wall in left that scored Shane Victorino. It was the 1,000th hit of Howard’s career.
Alvarez brought the Pirates within 3-2 with his two-out, two-run shot to right in the fourth.
But the Phillies got both runs back in the bottom of the frame. Lee scored when right fielder Steve Pearce misplayed Chase Utley’s single to right, and Rollins reached on Howard’s RBI single to right.
Philadelphia tacked on a run in the seventh on Carlos Ruiz’s RBI double to left-center that scored Placido Polanco and made it 6-2.
The Pirates got two runs back in the eighth on RBI singles by Walker and Brandon Wood. Pittsburgh had the tying run on with two outs, but Antonio Bastardo struck out Alvarez in relief of Lee to end the threat.
Pence’s first hit with Philadelphia, a solid single to center in the eighth off Jose Veras, scored Victorino and made it 7-4 Philadelphia.
The Pirates and Phillies finish off their three-game series Sunday at 1:35 p.m.