Watch CBS News

Falter beats former team, leads Pirates over Phillies 5-2 as Harper stops 0-for-18 slide

CBS News Live
CBS News Philadelphia Live

PHILADELPHIA (CBS/AP) — Bailey Falter allowed one run over five innings to beat his former team, leading the Pittsburgh Pirates over Philadelphia 5-2 on Friday night as Phillies star Bryce Harper broke out of an 0-for-18 slide with two hits.

David Bednar pitched a perfect ninth for his second save in five chances, and Henry Davis doubled, singled and drove in two runs. Bryan Reynolds and Connor Joe also had RBIs for the Pirates, who took advantage of some sloppy play by Philadelphia.

Philadelphia ditched its red and white pinstripes to debut blue, yellow and black City Connect jerseys that were odes to Philadelphia's flag and rich history. The jerseys have gotten mixed reviews from the Phillies' notoriously tough fan base, and the club's play on the field on Friday didn't give the home crowd of 35,578 much to be thrilled about, either.

Falter (1-0) allowed one run and four hits and three strikeouts. He had a 4.56 ERA in 24 starts and 26 relief appearances over three seasons for the Phillies before his Aug. 1 trade to Pittsburgh for infielder Rodolfo Castro.

Harper singled in the first and doubled in the sixth in a 2-for-4 night, raising his average from .196 to .220. "The name of the game is getting hits," Harper said. "Just wanna get a hit. You guys know I am, I'm pretty emotional with what I do. I'm just frustrated I got out."

The center of the Phillies' offensive woes were Nick Castellanos and Whit Merrifield, as Castellanos went 1-for-4 but was booed by some of the fans in attendance after a swinging strikeout in the ninth inning. His average is at .160 through two weeks of the season.

"I think his mental makeup is good," said Phillies manager Rob Thomson. "He wants to grind through this thing. He's working very hard to get through it."

Castellanos is hitting just .182 (2-for-11) after a two-hit night in St. Louis on Tuesday. He's working on being more consistent, even if it requires doing something out of the ordinary. "When I start thinking too much and I try to stop chasing...thinking can get in the way of something that I do," Castellanos said. "For me, it's just finding work that I believe in. 

Merrifield finished 0-for-4 as his average dipped to .120. He didn't strike out, but two of his hits had an exit velocity of under 80 mph off the bat.

"He hasn't had many at bats really — and consistent at bats," Thompson said. "He's hitting a lot of balls off the end of the bat, but again, he's another guy that's working on it. He'll get there."

Cristopher Sánchez (0-2) loaded the bases in the second with a pair of walks and his own error, then forced in the go-ahead run with his third walk of the inning, to Davis with the bases loaded.

Pittsburgh doubled the lead in the fourth when Michael A. Taylor scored on Joe's two-out grounder that was ruled a hit when shortstop Trea Turner slipped and fell as he was about to backhand the ball.

Bryson Stott cut the deficit with an RBI single in the fifth, but Pittsburgh made it 3-1 in the seventh when Yunior Marte's fastball with a 2-2 count ricocheted sharply off catcher J.T. Realmuto's left wrist for a wild pitch and dropped third strike.

Davis hit an RBI double in the eighth against Ricardo Pinto and scored on Reynolds' single.

Aroldis Chapman walked Alec Bohm with the bases loaded in the bottom half, then froze Brandon Marsh with a slider for a called third strike.

Pirates right-hander Paul Skenes, the top pick in last year's amateur draft, allowed three hits in 3 1/3 scoreless innings with eight strikeouts and one walk for Triple-A Indianapolis at Toledo. Skenes threw 36 of 55 pitches for strikes. He reached 100 mph with 15 pitches.

The Phillies are hitting .167 with the bases loaded this season (2 for 12), adding to their offensive struggles at the plate. They finished 2 for 10 with runners on base, lowering their season batting average to .205 in that category. They have scored four runs or less in nine of their 14 games.

Are they pressing? Harper made sure it was known baseball is a marathon, not a sprint. "No," Harper said with a smile. "We're 14 games in man."


Pirates LHP Marco Gonzales (0-0, 2.45) opposes Philadelphia RHP Spencer Turnbull (1-0, 0.00) on Saturday in the third game of the four-game series.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.