Philadelphia at Pittsburgh

W: J. Hellickson (5-1) L: T. Williams (2-3)
HR: PHI - C. Rupp (4)   PIT - None

Phillies top Pirates 7-2 to end 4-game losing streak


PITTSBURGH (AP) His club mired in a miserable funk that's drained all the momentum from a promising April, Philadelphia Phillies manager Pete Mackanin called a team meeting before a weekend series in Pittsburgh.

While Mackanin declined to go into the ''recipe'' of what was said, for one night Jeremy Hellickson provided the most important ingredient for winning baseball: good pitching.

Hellickson settled down quickly after a rocky first inning, retiring 16 of the final 17 batters he faced as the Phillies pulled away for a 7-2 victory over the Pirates on Friday night to snap a four-game losing streak. It was the kind of performance that was reminiscent of Hellickson's tremendous play in April when he went unbeaten while posting a 1.80 ERA.

''In April I was making mistakes, and they're outs, (batters) were missing,'' he said. ''That's how the game goes sometime, but tonight I was definitely better. I mixed it up more than I have.''

Hellickson started the night winless this month with a 7.90 ERA. It looked like more of the same early when Pittsburgh scored twice in the first on an RBI-double by Josh Bell and a throwing error by Philadelphia shortstop Freddy Galvis.

Then just as quickly, Hellickson (5-1) found a rhythm, allowing only a two-out walk in the fourth to Andrew McCutchen over his final five innings. Hellickson was only at 84 pitches through six but left after feeling his back tighten up after smacking an RBI double to left in the top of the seventh that pushed Philadelphia's lead to 4-2.

Mackanin came out to chat with Hellickson before removing him as a precaution. Hellickson anticipates being able to make his next turn in the rotation.

Galvis and Maikel Franco had two hits each for the Phillies. Cameron Rupp added a three-run homer in the ninth to give Philadelphia's struggling bullpen plenty of breathing room.

Bell had two of Pittsburgh's three hits. The Pirates came in with some momentum after winning a series against National League-leading Washington but generated nothing against Hellickson's eclectic variety of changeups and breaking pitches.

''We got our second hit with our second hitter and we didn't get our third hit until the ninth inning,'' Pittsburgh manager Clint Hurdle said. ''Not a lot of activity. Not a lot of hard contact. He made his pitches. He won a bunch of games last year. He shows the ability to do it. He does it in a way you don't see done every day and he did it to us tonight.''

Philadelphia's bullpen, which posted a 6.34 ERA during the first six games of the current road trip, made sure the lead stood up.

Trevor Williams (2-3) pitched effectively for five innings before the Phillies got to him in the sixth to take the lead. The Phillies didn't push Williams around but instead pecked away, eventually moving in front after Cesar Hernandez led off with a walk and Daniel Nava doubled. Hernandez scored on a groundout by Aaron Altherr and Nava followed after a sacrifice fly by Tommy Joseph. Williams allowed three runs in 5 2/3 innings, walking two.

''We're getting better,'' said Williams, moved into the rotation earlier this month after Jameson Taillon went on the disabled list after being diagnosed with testicular cancer. ''We're getting that routine. The pitch count is going up. So we're where we need to be in terms of starting right now.''


Phillies: Nava left after five innings with left hamstring tightness. He was replaced by Michael Saunders, who was held out of the starting lineup a day after leaving a loss to Texas with tightness in his left groin. ... Reliever Jeanmar Gomez (right elbow impingement) went through a bullpen session without incident on Thursday. If Gomez completes two more bullpen sessions, Mackanin said the team may opt not to send Gomez out on a rehab assignment.

Pirates: Taillon is upbeat less than two weeks after being diagnosed with testicular cancer. The 25-year-old remains out indefinitely and will undergo tests next week before the next step in the treatment process begins. ''Everything I've gotten back regarding (previous test results) I've taken as good news,'' Taillon said. ''It could be a lot worse.''


Phillies: Vince Velasquez will make his second career start against Pittsburgh. Velasquez (2-3, 5.67) gave up three runs, two earned, in five innings last Sunday against Washington.

Pirates: Ivan Nova (3-3, 2.48 ERA) will search for his first victory in May on Saturday. Nova was the NL Pitcher of the Month in April but is winless in his last three starts.


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Copyright 2017 by Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of Associated Press is strictly prohibited.

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Players of the Game

J. Hellickson
IP 6.0
H 2
ER 1
BB 1
K 2

C. Rupp
AB 4
R 1
H 1
HR 1

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Philadelphia Phillies
Cesar Hernandez, 2B4111101.298.369.429
Daniel Nava, RF3110001.305.425.458
   Michael Saunders, RF2000010.246.295.415
Aaron Altherr, LF4001002.313.409.636
Tommy Joseph, 1B3011000.265.328.487
Odubel Herrera, CF4010001.242.297.366
Maikel Franco, 3B4220000.224.288.385
Freddy Galvis, SS4220001.248.292.426
Cameron Rupp, C4113001.255.343.468
Jeremy Hellickson, P2011100.125.222.313
   Joely Rodriguez, PR0000000.000.000.000
   Pat Neshek, P0000000.000.000.000
   Joaquin Benoit, P0000000.000.000.000
   a-Andres Blanco, PH1000000.219.286.344
   Hector Neris, P0000000.000.000.000
a-grounded out for Benoit in the 9th
2B - Daniel Nava (3, Williams), Freddy Galvis (7, Williams), Jeremy Hellickson (1, Lindblom)
HR - Cameron Rupp (4, Watson)
SF - Tommy Joseph (2)
RBI - Cesar Hernandez (11), Aaron Altherr (23), Tommy Joseph (19), Cameron Rupp 3 (12), Jeremy Hellickson (2)
2-OUT RBI - Jeremy Hellickson (2)
CS - Odubel Herrera (3, 2nd base by Lindblom/Cervelli)
Team LOB - 4
E - Freddy Galvis (4, Throwing)
Philadelphia Phillies
Jeremy Hellickson (W,5-1) 6221120 3.44
Pat Neshek (H,5) 1000000 1.17
Joaquin Benoit (H,8) 1000000 4.50
Hector Neris 1100010 3.54
Pitches-Strikes - Jeremy Hellickson 84-52, Pat Neshek 9-5, Joaquin Benoit 16-10, Hector Neris 16-12
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Jeremy Hellickson 9-8, Hector Neris 1-1
Batters Faced - Jeremy Hellickson 22, Pat Neshek 3, Joaquin Benoit 3, Hector Neris 4
Pittsburgh Pirates
Josh Harrison, 2B4110000.285.348.465
Josh Bell, 1B4121000.256.342.527
Andrew McCutchen, CF3000112.216.288.392
David Freese, 3B4000013.257.356.419
Francisco Cervelli, C4000001.217.300.391
Jose Osuna, RF3000001.212.278.409
Danny Ortiz, LF3000000.250.400.250
Jordy Mercer, SS3000000.206.312.272
Trevor Williams, P2000010.000.000.000
   Josh Lindblom, P0000000.000.000.000
   a-Adam Frazier, PH1000000.342.390.461
   Tony Watson, P0000000.000.000.000
a-popped out for Lindblom in the 8th
2B - Josh Bell (8, Hellickson)
RBI - Josh Bell (19)
Team LOB - 3
E - David Freese (4, Throwing)
Pittsburgh Pirates
Trevor Williams (L,2-3) 5.2433200 6.04
Josh Lindblom 2.1311010 7.84
Tony Watson 1333001 3.06
Pitches-Strikes - Trevor Williams 93-68, Josh Lindblom 33-20, Tony Watson 10-9
Ground Balls-Fly Balls - Trevor Williams 10-7, Josh Lindblom 1-4, Tony Watson 2-1
Batters Faced - Trevor Williams 23, Josh Lindblom 9, Tony Watson 6
Game Information
Attendance - 25795
Game Time - 2:54
Temperature - 76
Umpires - Home - Manny Gonzalez, First Base - Field Culbreth, Second Base - Mark Carlson, Third Base - C.B. Bucknor