PITTSBURGH (AP)Rhys Hoskins has been in the major leagues long enough to know when the pitch is in the middle of the plate, you can’t miss.
He didn’t on Friday night against the Pittsburgh Pirates.
The Philadelphia first baseman sent the third pitch he saw from Pittsburgh reliever Duane Underwood Jr. into the grassy area beyond the center field wall leading off the 10th inning for his 20th home run of the season as the Phillies rallied past the Pirates 4-2.
Hoskins finished off the third four-hit night of his career by taking advantage of a mistake in location by Underwood (0-3), who was ahead in the count 0-2 when an 89 mph cutter found way too much of the plate. Hoskins drilled it to lift Philadelphia to its third straight victory.
It might be late July, but Hoskins knows it feels far later than that for the Phillies, who are in the midst of what looks to be a tight postseason race for one of the three wild-card spots in the National League.
”A big win,” Hoskins said after reaching the 20-homer plateau for the fourth time. ”It’s not real late in the season yet, but it’s also not early. You need every win you can get. You need to win games like these.”
Hoskins and Kyle Schwarber pulled the Phillies out of a two-run deficit by hitting consecutive RBI singles in the seventh. The bullpen – shaky in a win on Thursday night – kept the Pirates in check long enough for Hoskins to pull it out.
”He’s huge because he’s an on-base guy and a slugger,” Phillies interim manager Rob Thomson said. ”He’s a lot of things. (Schwarber and Hoskins) hitting 1-2 have created a lot of runs for us this season.”
Nick Castellanos, Alec Bohm and Matt Vierling had two hits apiece for Philadelphia. Seranthony Dominguez (5-3) retired the Pirates in order to force extra innings and Connor Brogdon worked a perfect bottom of the 10th to pick up his first career save.
Ke’Bryan Hayes hit his fifth home run of the season for Pittsburgh and collected his third three-hit game this month, but the Pirates’ bullpen faltered late to send the club to its fifth consecutive loss.
”(Underwood) misses right down the middle to a guy that needs 20 homers, you just can’t do that,” Pittsburgh manager Derek Shelton said. ”You have to execute pitches, and we did not do that after (Jose) Quintana came out of the game.”
Quintana arrived in Pittsburgh last fall hoping to resurrect his career and prove he’s still a viable starting pitcher.
The veteran left-hander has done both, and likely bolstered his trade value by tossing 5 2/3 scoreless innings in what could be his last appearance with the Pirates before next Tuesday’s trade deadline.
The 33-year-old trimmed his ERA to 3.50 while giving up four hits with four strikeouts and a couple of walks. Quintana received a warm ovation as he made his way to the Pittsburgh dugout with two outs in the sixth.
”I think the opportunity I get here to prove I (can) be a starter, that’s huge,” Quintana said. ”That’s really good for my career.”
With the Pirates well off the pace in the National League and the club still in the middle of a massive makeover, Pittsburgh will almost certainly try to flip Quintana to a contender for prospects.
”I’ve been in this situation before,” said Quintana, who was traded from the Chicago White Sox to the Chicago Cubs in 2017. ”Just going to keep going and see what happens.”
FALTER DOESN’T FALTER
Philadelphia’s Bailey Falter worked six innings in the longest start of his young career. He surrendered an RBI double to Allen in the third and Hayes’ home run that just cleared the fence in right field in the sixth. Falter struck out a career-best eight against one walk.
”I threw the ball pretty well,” Falter said. ”It’s definitely a good one to build off of for the next one. Rhys Hoskins. What a stud. He did it all tonight. What a game for him.”
”BIG BEN” TO BEDNAR
Retired Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger threw out the first pitch as part of the Pirates’ ”Yinzerpalooza” celebration of all things Pittsburgh. Roethlisberger, who played 18 seasons for the Steelers before walking away in January, lobbed a strike to Pirates All-Star closer and city native David Bednar.
Phillies: Infielder Jean Segura (broken right index finger) served as the designated hitter for Triple-A Lehigh Valley on Friday and could play all nine innings defensively on Saturday. The 32-year-old, who has been out since getting hurt on May 31, is eligible to come off the 60-day injured list on Sunday.
The series continues on Saturday when Philadelphia’s Ranger Suarez (7-5, 3.84 ERA) faces Mitch Keller (3-7, 4.55). Keller has allowed three or fewer runs in eight of his last 10 starts.
More AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/MLB and https://twitter.com/AP-Sport