Three Phillies-Pirates games, three dramatic finishes. Pennsylvania's baseball rivalry was briefly revived by a series filled with comebacks, and plenty of flashbacks to all the pivotal games the teams played during the 1970s.
Not that it's any consolation to J.A. Happ, who is arguably the NL's best rookie pitcher but was beaten Thursday because of two bad pitches made to two other rookies, Garrett Jones and Andrew McCutchen.
Jones finished off Pittsburgh's third rally in as many games _ two successful, the other not so _ with a two-run homer in the eighth off Happ, and the last-place Pirates beat the division-leading Phillies 3-2 on a night all their youngsters might have grown up a bit.
"It's really a good thing to go up against a team like that," Pirates starter Charlie Morton said. "The crowd was loud and really into it. It was the loudest I've heard it here."
The Pirates didn't make much noise against Happ (10-3) for seven innings, except for McCutchen's leadoff homer in the first, but pinch-hitter Ronny Cedeno singled to start the eighth. Happ, on the verge of winning his fourth in a row, got the next two batters, only to leave a fastball over the middle of the plate to Jones.
Jones, who leads NL rookies with 15 homers, drove the 1-1 pitch over the center-field wall for the second Pirates' game-winning homer by a rookie in three nights.
"This is really frustrating for me," said Happ, who was trying to become the first Phillies rookie to win 11 games since Bob Walk in 1980. "Maybe I rushed myself a little bit and he got to it. I felt fine. I felt like it was my game. I could taste it, but that's the way it is. I made a mistake and I paid for it."
It wasn't the Phillies' only mistake of the series. McCutchen hit a decisive two-run shot Tuesday as the Pirates won 6-4 despite blowing a lead in the top of the ninth. Pittsburgh's Brandon Moss hit a game-tying pinch-hit shot in the ninth Wednesday, but the Phillies won it 4-1 in the 10th on Ryan Howard's three-run drive.
What a series. What a contrast.
While the reigning World Series champion Phillies own a seven-game lead in the NL East, the Pirates are destined for a major league-record 17th consecutive losing season. But for the first time since they jettisoned established players such as Nate McLouth, Adam LaRoche, Freddy Sanchez and Jack Wilson during a series of midseason trades, the Pirates are beginning to flash some signs of progress.
After losing 12 of 13, they went 7-2 against the Brewers, Reds and Phillies during a homestand in which they celebrated the 30th anniversary of their 1979 World Series victory. They won after pulling away from the Phillies that August after losing the NL East title to Philadelphia in 1977 and 1978.
Dodgers 3, Rockies 2
At Denver, Vicente Padilla (1-0) allowed two runs and six hits in five innings for the Dodgers. He struck out four and walked one.
Rafael Furcal hit a tiebreaking RBI single in the sixth and Matt Kemp hit his career-high 19th homer as the Dodgers took two of three in Colorado and opened a four-game lead in the NL West.
Astros 4, Cardinals 3
At St. Louis, Jeff Keppinger hit a tiebreaking homer with two outs in the ninth inning to help Houston avoid a three-game sweep.
Jose Valverde (2-2) pitched two scoreless innings for the Astros, who won for the fifth time in their last 19 road games.
The Astros tied it on Darin Erstad's RBI double off Kyle McClellan (4-3) in the eighth, spoiling Chris Carpenter's bid for his 15th win.
Diamondbacks 11, Giants 0
At San Francisco, Mark Reynolds homered and drove in two runs in his return to Arizona's lineup and Yusmeiro Petit snapped a personal three-game losing streak.
Brandon Allen hit his first career home run, a three-run shot, and Arizona completed a 2-8 road trip.
Petit (3-8) scattered four hits over six innings. Esmerling Vasquez, Clay Zavada and Blaine Boyer completed the five-hitter for Arizona's 11th shutout.
Nationals 5, Cubs 4
At Chicago, Ryan Zimmerman hit a two-run homer and Adam Dunn added a solo shot to help the Nationals win a series at Wrigley Field for the first time since 2005.
The Cubs have gone 6-15 since Aug. 5 to fall nine games behind St. Louis in the NL Central.
Mets 10, Marlins 3
At Miami, Tim Redding pitched 6 2-3 innings to give New York's injury-ravaged staff a boost and snap a five-game skid.
Redding (2-4), making his second start since July 2, allowed three runs _ all on leadoff homers _ and five hits.
Reds 8, Brewers 5
At Milwaukee, Justin Lehr (3-1) overcame a rocky start to pitch into the eighth inning and drew a key walk in Cincinnati's five-run fifth as the Reds swept the three-game series.
Prince Fielder hit a three-run homer in the first to give him 115 RBIs, tops in the majors, and Mike Cameron doubled in a run for Milwaukee. Dave Bush (3-5) allowed five runs and four hits over 4 2-3 innings.
Braves 9, Padres 1
At Atlanta, Javier Vazquez (11-9) pitched seven scoreless innings and the Braves unleashed a 17-hit attack to avoid a sweep.
Every Atlanta starter, Vazquez included, had at least one hit. Adam LaRoche homered, hot-hitting Matt Diaz drove in two runs from the leadoff spot and Omar Infante reached base four times. Even Chipper Jones, mired in an extended slump, managed two hits.