McCutchen's walk-off homer lifts Pirates past Lidge, Phillies

PITTSBURGH -- Andrew McCutchen asked only for a second chance. Brad Lidge got that from the Philadelphia Phillies long ago, plus a third chance, a fourth and a fifth. He'll keep getting chances, too, if only because his manager has no other choice.

McCutchen made up for a defensive gaffe earlier in the ninth inning by hitting a game-ending two-run homer off Lidge and the Pittsburgh Pirates beat the Phillies 6-4 on Tuesday night despite Jimmy Rollins' homers on the first two pitches he saw.

In a game in which both closers couldn't hold leads in the ninth, the Pirates tied it against Lidge (0-6) on singles by Luis Cruz and pinch-hitter Brandon Moss and right fielder Jayson Werth's misplay on Moss' hit that allowed pinch-runner Brian Bixler to score. McCutchen then won it by driving Lidge's fastball into the seats in center, a pitch after he couldn't put down a bunt.

"To be able to come through, to be able to redeem myself after that ball got over my head ... it was amazing," McCutchen said of his first career game-ending homer. "That doesn't happen all the time."

It does to Lidge, whose nine blown saves lead the majors. Pitching for the fourth day in a row -- he was used to mop up a 6-2 win over the New York Mets in a non-save situation on Monday -- Lidge had nothing on his pitches.

"The fourth day in a row for me historically has been pretty bad," said Lidge, who has 24 saves. "I need an adjustment if I'm going to throw four days in a row and I wasn't able to do it. The last three days, the ball's jumping out of my hand and tonight it wasn't there."

Despite Lidge's ongoing problems -- he has a 7.33 ERA -- manager Charlie Manuel isn't contemplating a change.

"We just keep going. We just keep playing," Manuel said. "That's where we're at. That's our closer. That's the guy we give the ball to in the ninth inning."

Steve Pearce hit a two-run shot and Ryan Doumit added a solo drive for the Pirates against Joe Blanton. The Phillies starter was so upset with the Pearce homer in the sixth -- like McCutchen, Pearce is a rookie -- that he threw a water bottle and tried to upend a garbage can, only to miss.

It was that kind of night for the Phillies.

"It was just bad. It was an emotional game," Blanton said. "I learned my lesson and won't throw anything [in the dugout] again."

Pirates closer Matt Capps (3-7) wasn't any better than Lidge was but still got the victory, despite giving up two runs in the ninth while being roughed up for the second time in as many games against the Phillies. He gave up five runs in the ninth of an 8-7 loss on July 11.

After doubles by Carlos Ruiz and Ben Francisco, the Phillies went ahead 4-3 on Shane Victorino's triple that McCutchen misplayed in center. Rather than going back for the ball, he instinctively broke in only to quickly realize his mistake.

"One [wrong] step, and I was done," McCutchen said.

For only about five minutes, that is. The Pirates recovered to win their sixth in seven games since losing 12 of 13.

"This is going to help us, especially when we're playing big-caliber teams like this," McCutchen said of a mostly young Pirates team that has shed nearly all of its original starting lineup in trades. "This shows us we can compete."

The Phillies, cheered on by a sizable number in the crowd of 17,049, had won 11 of 13, plus five in a row against the Pirates dating to last season. The Phillies also had won eight of 10 on the road.

Pirates starter Ross Ohlendorf withstood Rollins' two leadoff home runs to pitch into the seventh inning but didn't get the decision. Rollins got the Phillies off to a 2-0 lead, hitting Ohlendorf's fastball into the right-center seats for his 31st career leadoff homer in the first and a changeup into the right-field stands in the third -- his 17th.

Game notes
Pirates shortstop Ronny Cedeno was a last-minute scratch as he missed a third consecutive game with a broken right pinky finger. Luis Cruz replaced him. ... Outfielder Jose Tabata will be among seven Pirates prospects in the Arizona Fall League. He is currently at Triple-A Indianapolis.