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Phillies poised to sweep Pirates

By
Jeff Seidel, The Sports Xchange
Nick Pivetta and the Philadelphia Phillies face the Pittsburgh Pirates on Sunday. Photo by Bill Greenblatt/UPI
Nick Pivetta and the Philadelphia Phillies face the Pittsburgh Pirates on Sunday. Photo by Bill Greenblatt/UPI | License Photo

Starter Nick Pivetta will try to give the Philadelphia Phillies another solid start and help them complete a four-game sweep of the Pittsburgh Pirates on Sunday afternoon at Citizens Bank Park.

Jake Arrieta gave the Phillies (13-7) a great start in the first game of the series Thursday night. He struck out 10 and allowed only one hit in seven innings as Philadelphia rolled to a 7-0 victory.

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Ben Lively allowed only one run in six innings Friday but got a no-decision as the Phillies scored a late run for a 2-1 win.

Then, on Saturday, Aaron Nova gave up two runs and struck out nine without a walk and earned the decision in Saturday's 6-2 victory.

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Now comes Pivetta (1-0, 2.49 ERA), who will be making his first career appearance against the Pirates (12-9). Pivetta has allowed only three runs and fanned 18 in 17 2/3 innings in his last three starts.

The good pitching and timely hitting the team is getting adds up to more confidence for the young Phillies under first-year manager Gabe Kapler. He's working the numbers hard, trying to get playing time spread equally, and the players are feeling good about where they are at in 2018.

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"You can definitely feel a different vibe," Odubel Herrera of the Phillies told the Philadelphia Inquirer through a translator. "There's a positive vibe going on. I don't know what it is but from spring training we've been feeling that way. There's chemistry in the clubhouse. We all help each other, we support each other, and that's really what you want in a winning team."

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Herrera certainly has done his part, reaching base in 22 straight games. Rhys Hoskins helped out Saturday by driving in four runs, three of which came on a home run in the sixth that gave the Phillies the lead for good at 3-2.

They added three more runs for the 6-2 final.

Kapler told the media Saturday that they are hoping to get Tommy Hunter (right hamstring strain) back shortly as he's doing well on a rehab assignment.

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The Pirates will send out Trevor Williams to try to prevent the sweep. Williams (3-1, 1.93) has thrown well in all four of his starts, including six no-hit innings versus Detroit in his first time out.

He gave up two runs to Colorado on Tuesday in a loss. The right-hander is 0-1, allowing three runs in 5 2/3 innings in his only appearance against the Phillies on May 19, 2017.

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But there's no question the Pirates want to stop this skid.

"We started off real well, this hit a bit of a tough spot, losing two of three at home to Colorado and the first (three) in Philadelphia," Pittsburgh's Josh Bell told MLB.com. "It's time to get it turned around and get it going the way we need to."

Pittsburgh pitcher Joe Musgrove is on the disabled list because of a strained muscle in his throwing shoulder. He is scheduled to possibly throw another one Sunday after doing the same thing a few days ago.

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