Phillies at Pirates
5:05 p.m., CSN
After being shut out for the 11th time this season — the most the club’s been blanked through the first 84 games of a season since 1969 — the Phillies generated some offense Thursday night to quell a six-game losing streak with a come-from-behind 5-4 win over the Marlins (see story).
Now, the Phils (37-48) can win consecutive games for the first time since June 19-20 when they open a three-game series Friday night against the Pirates (44-41) in Pittsburgh.
Here are five things you need to know for the series opener:
The Fourth of July has indeed been a happy one for the Phillies in recent past. The Phils are 9-1 in their last 10 games on Fourth of July.
Ironically, the Phillies beat the Pirates on the holiday last season at PNC Park, defeating Pittsburgh right-hander Gerrit Cole, who starts tonight.
Oh, and the Phils’ last loss on the Fourth came against — you guessed it: the Pirates at PNC Park.
Pull the clutch
Since June 21, the Phillies are 14 for 99 (.141) with runners in scoring position, a stretch in which they’ve lost 10 of 13 games to fall out of contention (see standings).
On Thursday, they went 2 for 10 with RISP. One of those hits was a two-out, two-RBI double by Cameron Rupp that flipped a 2-1 deficit into a 3-2 lead in the sixth inning.
Without that base knock, the Phils are likely carrying a seven-game losing streak into Pittsburgh. Those hits win games and the Phillies need plenty more of them.
It’s a major reason why they’ll be propping up the "For Sale" sign this season.
Cole is a big boy. The former No. 1 overall pick of the 2011 draft is 6-foot-4, 240 pounds with a power arm.
He throws a 97-mph four-seam fastball, which augments his mid-80s curveball and high-80s slider. Cole also features a hard changeup (87 mph) and will rarely throw a mid-90s sinker.
His heater has punctuated 35 of his 73 strikeouts this season, while his slider and curve have finished off a combined 32.
Overall, Cole is 6-4 in 13 starts with a 4.02 ERA. He was sidelined since June 4 with shoulder fatigue and in his first start back on June 28, the 23-year-old endured his worst outing of the year, allowing five runs on seven hits in four innings of a 5-3 loss to the Mets.
The Phils have seen Cole once — Fourth of July last season, when they beat him on three runs and eight hits in 5 1/3 innings.
Turning to Roberto
Right-hander Roberto Hernandez (3-7, 4.26) takes the ball for the Phillies.
The 33-year-old has not pitched against Pittsburgh since 2010 and current Pirates are hitting .241 against him in just 29 total at-bats.
Hernandez has tossed two straight quality starts, but has picked up two straight losses despite striking out eight to go with a 2.77 ERA.
This and that
• The Pirates have won 10 of their last 14 games and are tied with the Athletics and Angels for the majors' best record since May 2 (34-23).
• The Phils are 16-25 against the Pirates in Pittsburgh since PNC Park opened in 2001.
• Pittsburgh has committed the third-most errors (62) in baseball.
• Ben Revere is 15 for 38 (.447) over his last eight games, but has scored just three runs.
• Pirates outfielder Andrew McCutchen leads the NL in walks (56). That’s more than the Phillies’ starting outfield (Marlon Byrd – 22; Domonic Brown – 22; Revere – 8) has combined (52).
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Phillies at Pirates