Sunday's game between the Pittsburgh Pirates and the Philadelphia Phillies provided the opportunity for the Phils first three game sweep of the season. Brett Myers took the mound hoping to find some sort of rhythm this season, his opponent, Paul Maholm, was looking to build of his last outing which provided his first win of the season. The Phillies headed into Sunday with a three game win streak and were pushing hard to climb to the top of the NL East standings before heading home to face the Padres on Tuesday.
Myers and Maholm both started the day strong. After Myers gave up a lead off home run to Nate Mclouth to begin his day, he settled in nicely through the first three innings. In the fourth, Myers managed to get the first batters out, but after allowing a single to Adam Larouche and a wild pitch in the next at bat allowing him to reach second, Jose Bautista singled to give the Pirates a 2-0 lead. In the fifth, Myers walked Maholm to lead off the inning, and Nate McLouth struck again, hitting a two run shot over the wall in right field. Myers appeared to be struggling once again.
Maholm on the other hand had the Phils number holding the Phils without a hit until the 5th. Pat Burrell doubled off Maholm with one out and two batters later Eric Bruntlett singled on a line drive to center allowing Burrell to score.
Myers was finally lifted in the top of the sixth and Rudy Seanez was brought in to keep the Pirates at bay. Adam Larouche led off the sixth with a single and Jose Bautista followed with a single allowing Larouche to reach third. One batter later, Luis Rivas grounded into a double play allowing Larouche to score bringing the score to 5-1.
Maholm would go on to shut down the Phils for the remainder of the day, allowing only the two hits, with only two strikeouts and four walks in a complete game win. The Pirates managed to avoid a sweep and potentially find a gem in their rotation on the day when veteran pitcher Matt Morris was released.
The Phils head home and after a day off on Monday open a series with the Padres and a six game home stand. Sitting in third in the NL East at 14-12, the Phillies have to find an answer to their rotation as Myers continues to struggle with both his velocity and his control.