Phillies Sloppy Play Sends Them To Another Loss

Even though the Pirates played well, they probably didn't have to play as well as they did. The Phillies helped Pittsburgh along to a 5-3 win with sloppy play and mental errors. The Phillies also helped out the Florida Marlins, who took their second straight from the Atlanta Braves and widened their lead to 2 1/2 games in the National League Wild Card race.

The Pittsburgh Pirates must be wondering why they aren't battling for the National League wild card the way they are playing against the top two contenders.

Abraham Nunez had a key two-run double and Josh Fogg pitched seven strong innings as the Pirates dealt a blow to the Philadelphia Phillies' postseason hopes with a 5-3 victory.

Pittsburgh improved to 4-1 against Philadelphia this year by scoring four runs in the second inning and never looking back. The Pirates are also 4-2 against the Florida Marlins, who are 2 1/2 games ahead of the Phillies for the wild card lead.

Phillies starter Kevin Millwood (14-11) walked Rob Mackowiak to begin the second inning and Jack Wilson reached on a fielder's choice before pitcher Fogg grounded out. Tike Redman came through with an RBI double for the game's first run. Nunez was next and doubled into right field to score two runs. Jason Kendall followed with an RBI single for a 4-0 cushion.

Fogg (10-8) allowed three runs and five hits to improve to 4-1 in his last six outings. The right-hander tossed a complete game in his last start Tuesday at Cincinnati.

After Joe Beimel and Julian Tavarez combined to work the eighth inning for the Pirates, the Phillies staged a rally in the ninth against Tavarez. Chase Utley led off with a base hit and pinch-hitter Jason Michaels singled, but pinch-runner Nick Punto was picked off second base, which proved costly when Tomas Perez followed with a single. Tavarez struck out Ricky Ledee and got Marlon Byrd on a comebacker for his seventh save in 10 chances.

Philadelphia completes this seven-game road trip with Sunday's series finale after losing four of the first six games. The Phillies will send Randy Wolf (14-9, 4.07) to the mound against the Pirates Salomon Torres (5-4, 4.43). The Phillies welcome the Marlins to town for a huge three game series that begins Tuesday.

Millwood allowed five runs and seven hits in five innings and continues to struggle in the second half of the season. The Phillies ace is 4-5 with a 4.32 ERA since the All-Star break. On the other hand, Fogg allowed just one hit through the first five innings – Bobby Abreu's two-out single in the first inning. He set down 14 out of the next 15 hitters.

Craig Wilson tripled off the glove of Abreu in right field to start the third inning and scored on Mackowiak's single for a 5-0 advantage.

Philadelphia finally broke through in the sixth inning. Jimmy Rollins singled with one out, Abreu doubled and Thome followed with a two-run single. Utley added a run-scoring groundout, but Pat Burrell struck out with a runner on third and two outs.

Abreu greeted Beimel with a single in the eighth inning and Thome flied out. Tavarez entered and got Mike Lieberthal to ground into an inning-ending double play.

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