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Phillies Vs. Pirates: Bucs Can't Pull Off Sweep, Lose 7-3

The Pittsburgh Pirates' bid to pull off a series sweep of the Philadelphia Phillies fell short on Sunday, as the Bucs lost 7-3 in front of another big crowd.

Things started off well enough as Neil Walker hit a first-inning two-run homer off starter Roy Halladay. Walker's home run was the only damage to Halladay, though, as the pitcher did not allow any additional runs through seven innings.

Pirates starter James McDonald couldn't hold the lead, however. He first gave up a run in the fourth, but caught a big break when a batted ball hit by Dominic Brown struck an umpire. Instead of Ryan Howard scoring from third on the single, he could not advance. The next batter, Wilson Valdez, grounded into a double play to end the inning, minimizing the damage.

Still, it was evident that McDonald was laboring in the heat and struggling with his command. In the next inning, he started off with 12 consecutive balls to load the bases. Clint Hurdle finally had seen enough and pulled McDonald, but the damage was done as the Phils scored two runs that inning to take the lead for good.

McDonald wasn't the only Pirates pitcher touched up as the bullpen struggled as well. Evan Meek and Jose Ascanio each allowed a run and Daniel McCutchen gave up two. Pittsburgh added a run in the eighth inning, but it wasn't nearly enough.

The Pirates have an off day on Monday before facing the Arizona Diamondbacks on Tuesday.

Photographs by dizfunk used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.