Richard Rodriguez hadn’t been scored on in seven weeks. However, he picked a bad time to have that streak end.
The rough start to the second half continues for the Pirates (45-51) as they have lost six of seven games since the All-Star break. The Pirates are now 7 1/2 games behind the first-place Cubs in the National League Central, losing five games in the standings in a week.
Rodriguez (3-4) had made 19 consecutive scoreless appearances, spanning 19 innings, since allowing four runs to the Brewers on May 30 at PNC Park.
“(The streak) is going to run out at some point,” Clint Hurdle said. “He’s been good for us and he’ll continue to be good for us. Unfortunately, it did come to an end at an inopportune time.”
Rodriguez relieved Jordan Lyles in the sixth inning with the score tied, runners on the corners and two outs. He struck out Maikel Franco to end the threat, but the Phillies reached Rodriguez for a run in the next inning on Harper’s two-out hit.
Rodriguez was in the rare position of pitching a second inning when he gave up Harper’s hit. However, he said that had no effect on his performance.
“No, it wasn’t tough at all,” Rodriguez said. “I’m not going to make any excuses. It didn’t go my way tonight. That’s baseball. “
Rodriguez talked about his streak:
Bases on balls plagued the bullpen. Rodriguez walked two batters in the decisive seventh and Kyle Crick issued two free passes in the eighth when the Phillies made it 3-1 on a throwing error by the right-hander.
The Phillies (51-47) added three runs in the ninth against Clay Holmes to break things open.
“Tonight was a little snapshot of what we’ve been challenged with on the pitching-side,” Hurdle said. “The walks have become problematic.”
The bullpen’s struggles overshadowed a fine start by Lyles, who had compiled a 10.13 ERA in his previous seven starts after posting a 1.98 mark in his first eight starts of the season.
Lyles allowed just one run on seven hits in 5 2/3 innings with seven strikeouts and one walk. The only blemish was a leadoff home run by rookie Adam Haseley in the fifth inning that knotted the score at 1-1.
Meanwhile, the Pirates were held to one run in 5 2/3 innings by old nemesis Jake Arrieta. Elias Diaz’s RBI single in the second inning opened the scoring, but the Pirates missed a big chance in the sixth when they loaded the bases with two outs in a 1-1 game. Juan Nicasio (2-3) relieved and got Kevin Newman to hit an inning-ending comebacker.
Rookie Cole Irvin pitched two scoreless innings for his first career save.
Corey Dickerson went 3 for 3 with a walk but the Pirates managed just seven hits and left seven runners on base.
“He’s recreated himself and he’s showed in big situations that he’s still able to pitch,” Hurdle said of Arrieta. “The changeup is a bigger pitch and he still has command of the two-seamer. We weren’t able to push him much. He made pitches when he had to and got out when he had to.”
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