PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Phillies starter Hans Crouse gave up a home run to Cole Tucker on his first major league pitch and Philadelphia’s playoff hopes took a hit Sunday with a 6-0 loss to Max Kranick and the Pittsburgh Pirates.

The Phillies, who had won five in a row, began the day trailing NL East-leading Atlanta by 1 1/2 games. Philadelphia visits the Braves for a three-game series starting Tuesday night.

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Bryce Harper and Philadelphia finished the home portion of their schedule with a record of 47-34.

Crouse (0-1) began his big league career with a fastball that Tucker hit into the right-field seats for his first home run of the season.

The Phillies chose to call up Crouse from the minor leagues rather than throw an actual bullpen game. The 23-year-old right gave up two hits and walked four in three innings.

Crouse was acquired by the Phillies at the trade deadline from the Texas Rangers along with Kyle Gibson and Ian Kennedy for pitcher Spencer Howard.

Kranick (2-3) went five innings and combined with four relievers on a six-hitter.

Kranick, who in July became the first pitcher in 127 years to throw five perfect innings in his major league debut, had a second straight solid start after being recalled from the minors a week earlier. He allowed four hits, walked three, and struck out five.

Chasen Shreve, David Bednar, Nick Mears, and Chris Stratton shut down the Phillies over the final four innings, allowing just two singles. Pirates pitchers combined for 11 strikeouts, including six in the last three innings.

Ke’Bryan Hayes had a pinch-hit double that scored a pair of runs and Yoshi Tsutsugo drove in a pair of runs as Pittsburgh ended a three-game losing streak.

Hayes doubled as the Pirates made it 3-0 in the seventh. Reliever Jose Alvarado had an eventful inning that included a leadoff walk – the first of four in the inning – a balk and a wild pitch.

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The Pirates added two more runs in the eighth off of the beleaguered Phillies bullpen. Adonis Medina gave up a leadoff double to Hoy Park, hit Anthony Alford with a pitch, and walked Tucker before Tsutsugo drove in two runs with a single.

Hayes led off the ninth with a single, went to second on J.T. Realmuto’s second passed ball of the game, advanced to third on a wild pitch by reliever Ramon Rosso and scored on a balk.

ROOKIE IN, VET OUT

To make room on the roster for Crouse, the Phillies designated veteran OF Matt Joyce for assignment. Joyce, 37, missed most of the season with a lower back injury. He was just 5 for 55 (.091) with two homers and seven RBIs.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Pirates: Bednar (strained right oblique) was reinstated from the IL Sunday. An important piece of the Pirates bullpen, he missed three weeks with his injury. He entered Sunday with a 2.18 ERA in 57 2/3 innings. To make room for Bednar, the Pirates optioned RHP Kyle Keller to Triple-A Indianapolis.

Phillies: OF Odubel Herrera returned to the lineup Sunday after missing Saturday’s game with a sore left Achilles. Herrera aggravated the injury Friday while taking in-game batting practice in the cages behind the Phillies dugout. He was removed from the game Friday with an injury.

UP NEXT

Pirates: The Pirates travel to Cincinnati on Monday to make up a rained-out game from last week. It will be Pittsburgh’s final road game of the season. No starter has been announced yet for the Pirates.

Phillies: Zack Wheeler (14-9, 2.83) pitches the opener of the three-game series at Atlanta.

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