Phillies' offense 'Locke'd down in shutout loss

By Sean Greene 9:54pm, April 23, 2013 - Updated 11:09pm, April 23, 2013
VIDEO: Manuel on Locke, struggling offense. PHOTO: Ben Revere makes a sliding catch in the loss. (AP Photo/Michael Perez)
Pittsburgh's Jeff Locke combined with three relievers on a four-hitter as the Pirates shut out the Phillies 2-0 at Citizens Bank Park Tuesday night.

Opening Day starter Cole Hamels made the start for the Phillies, and he pitched well, but on a night when the Phillies offense couldn't get started in cold conditions, a 4th inning RBI double by Brandon Inge and an 8th inning solo home run by Gaby Sanchez proved to be all the offense the Pirates needed.

The Pirates had their chances despite managing just 7 hits as they proceeded to go 0-for-14 with runners in scoring position, after failing in all 8 chances on Monday night.

Philadelphia wasn't any better, with their biggest wasted opportunity coming in the 4th inning when John Mayberry Jr. opened the 4th inning with a triple to right-centerfield. After Dom Brown was hit by a pitch, Ben Revere rolled a weak grounder to third base. Mayberry went on contact, and was easily thrown out at the plate by Inge for the first out. With runners still on first and second and one out, Erik Kratz grounded into a 5-4-3 double play to end the threat.

Pinch-hitter Laynce Nix wouldn't get the Phillies next hit until he led off the 8th with a single to improve to 6-for-11 as a pinch-hitter this season. Following a pair of outs, Michael Young extended his hitting streak to 14 games with a single, but Ryan Howard sharply grounded out into the first base shift to squash the rally.

Locke, who entered with a 5.17 ERA went 6 innings, giving up two hits and two walks while striking out 6 to improve to 2-1. It was his first scoreless start of his career. Tony Watson and Mark Melancon bridged the 7th and 8th inning to set up closer Jason Grilli, who pitched a perfect 9th to earn his 8th save of the season.

Hamels remained winless on the season, as his season-high 118 pitch effort only allowed 2 runs on 7 hits while striking out 6, but he dropped to 0-3 on the campaign. Hamels is now 35-7 in the 49 times he's gone at least 8 innings in a start. Hamels has thrown a quality start in each of his last three outings, giving up just six runs after giving up 13 earned runs in 10 2/3 innings over his first two starts.

The Phillies offense scattered just four hits while being struck out 11 times and finishing 0-for-6 with runners in scoring position. Defensively the Phillies also added a pair of errors, one each by Jimmy Rollins and Michael Young on the left side of the infield.

The loss dropped them three games back below .500 at 9-12.

Roy Halladay (2-2) battles Wandy Rodriguez (2-0) in Game 3 of the four-game set Wednesday at 7:05.

NOTES: Carlos Ruiz and Delmon Young each had a rehab assignment with Class A Clearwater Tuesday night. Ruiz went 0-for-5 and caught all nine innings while Young went 4-for-5 with a double in right field. Ruiz is expected to play with the Threshers again Wednesday before a 2-game stint with Class AA Reading Friday and Saturday. Young is scheduled to continue his rehab with Class AAA Lehigh Valley Thursday in Indianapolis.

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