PITTSBURGH (AP) – Joe Musgrove scattered two hits over six innings, collected his first double of the season and scored on a textbook head-first slide to beat a throw by Philadelphia right fielder Bryce Harper and lead the Pittsburgh Pirates to a 5-1 win on Saturday night.
Musgrove (7-8) tied a season-high with eight strikeouts, walked two and allowed only an unearned run in the sixth to win his third consecutive decision.
Batting just .133 this season, Musgrove opened the scoring by doubling with one out in the third off Zach Eflin (7-10), then racing home ahead of a strong throw from Harper after a sharp single to right by Bryan Reynolds.
Starling Marte went 3 for 4 with a pair of doubles and an RBI for the Pirates. Corey Dickerson added two doubles and an RBI as Pittsburgh won for just second time in its last eight games on a night the franchise honored the 40th anniversary of the 1979 team that won the World Series.
This year’s group is unlikely to follow in the footsteps of Hall of Fame first baseman Willie Stargell and All-Star outfielder Dave Parker, but received a needed jolt from Musgrove while trying to emerge from a post-All-Star break funk that has dropped them off the pace in the NL Central.
The Phillies managed just three singles against Musgrove and three Pittsburgh relievers to fall to 4-5 since the All-Star break.
Eflin, who entered with just one victory in his last six starts and a 13.00 ERA in July, ran into trouble in the third and drop to 2-7 on the road. Reynolds came home on Marte’s first double of the night and Marte raced across the plate on a soft single to center by Josh Bell to give the Pirates an early 3-0 lead. Eflin lasted just four innings, giving up three runs on five hits with three strikeouts as his ERA ticked up to a season-high 4.25.
The Phillies scratched across a run in the fifth when a walk and an error by Bell at first base put runners in scoring position with no outs. Brad Miller scored on a groundout by Adam Haseley but Musgrove returned from a 28-minute rain delay to strike out pinch-hitter Nick Williams and Scott Kingery to end the threat.
Philadelphia reliever Mike Morin allowed a run in the seventh inning in his first appearance with the Phillies after being acquired from Minnesota on Saturday in exchange for cash considerations. Morin went 0-0 with a 3.18 ERA in 23 games with one save for the Twins this season before being designated for assignment on Tuesday. To make room for Morin on the major league roster Philadelphia sent reliever JD Hammer to Triple-A Lehigh Valley and transferred right-handed reliever Seranthony Domínguez (right elbow) to the 60-day injured list.
Pirates: RHP Keone Kela (right shoulder inflammation) put together an aggressive bullpen session for the second straight day and could come off the 60-day injured list early next week. … LHP Steven Brault (left shoulder strain) threw on Saturday and is eligible to come off the 10-day injured list.
Phillies: LHP Drew Smyly will likely make his first start for the Phillies on Sunday. Smyly went 1-5 with an 8.42 ERA for Texas before being released last month. He signed with Milwaukee on July 1 and sent to Triple-A before being let go by the Brewers on Thursday.
Pirates: Have yet to announce a Sunday starter. Trevor Williams is next up in the rotation but could have his start pushed back a few days after struggling recently. Rookie Dario Agrazal (2-0, 2.45 ERA) figures to be the best available option and would be starting on normal rest.
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