Philadelphia, PA – Jimmy Rollins hit a two-run home run as the Philadelphia Phillies took an 8-3 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates in the opener of a four-game set.
Carlos Ruiz went 3-for-5 with three runs scored while Hunter Pence added two hits, an RBI and a run scored for the Phillies, who were coming off a pair of losses to Tampa Bay in a Sunday doubleheader.
Joe Blanton (7-6) gave up three runs -- two earned -- on seven hits with a walk and eight strikeouts over seven innings to win his third straight decision.
"The guys helped me out early and it allows you to make some mistakes," said Blanton. "You can go right at guys more and if you give up a run it's not too bad because you know you have a lead."
Jose Tabata hit a solo home run and scored twice while Andrew McCutchen and Clint Barmes each drove in a run for the Pirates, who have dropped their past two.
Jeff Karstens (0-2) was touched for seven runs -- six earned -- on 11 hits over just five innings. He made his first appearance on the mound since April 17 as he was suffering from right shoulder inflammation and a hip ailment.
Thanks to three errors from the Pirates in the first inning, the Phillies put four runs on the board. Rollins led off the inning with a double down the first base line and moved to third on Juan Pierre's sac bunt. Pence followed with a single to score Rollins. Ruiz then punched a single to right that saw Tabata' throw to third go high. Pedro Alvarez was able to get the ball, but he then threw it away himself as his toss to second went into the outfield, allowing Pence to race home.
Shane Victorino then singled to center to plate Ruiz and came home himself as a single to right from Placido Polanco saw Tabata try to get Victorino at third, but the ball went wild again and it was a 4-0 game.
"We didn't defend the ball in that first inning," said Pittsburgh manager Clint Hurdle. "That complicated things a lot and it put us in an early hole."
The Pirates got one back in the third on Tabata's one-out, solo homer to right, but the Phillies answered in the bottom of the inning on an RBI single from Polanco that scored Ruiz.
Pittsburgh scored another in the fourth when Neil Walker led off with a double and scored later in the inning on an RBI single from Barmes, but Rollins made it a 7-2 game in the bottom of the inning when, with Mike Fontenot on base, he crushed a pitch off the Budweiser sign in right field for his eighth homer of the year.
McCutchen singled home Tabata in the fifth, but that was it for the Pirates offense as they managed just two singles and a walk for the rest of the game and Ty Wigginton's bases loaded walk in the seventh gave the Phils a five-run lead.
Pittsburgh catcher Rod Barajas left the game in the second inning with a bone bruise to his left knee...Karstens was activated from the disabled list before the game and the team optioned pitcher Bryan Morris to Triple-A Indianapolis....The Phillies placed catcher Brian Schneider on the 15-day disabled list with a right ankle sprain and called up catcher Erik Kratz from Triple-A Lehigh Valley on Monday...Philadelphia has won six of the last eight against Pittsburgh...Blanton improved to 2-1 in six games against the Pirates...It was Karstens' first decision in seven games against Philadelphia.