PITTSBURGH - Rod Barajas has been in Pittsburgh all of a week. Yet the veteran catcher knew his young teammates needed a confidence boost after struggling to produce much of anything off Philadelphia's one-two punch of Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee.
Barajas delivered the big hit. Alex Presley delivered the small one and the Pirates rallied past the Phillies 2-1 in 10 innings on Saturday.
"I know this sounds kind of odd to say we really needed to win what was only the second game of the season but we did need a win," Barajas said. "We had a tough opener against a great pitcher and ... we really fought hard and it would have been very difficult to lose this game. It was a really good win for us."
Philadelphia’s Shane Victorino is greeted by Laynce Nix after scoring in the first inning against Pittsburgh. The Pirates won 2-1 in 10 innings.
Barajas doubled off Philadelphia reliever Joe Blanton leading off the 10th and pinch-runner Mike McKenry came home three batters later when Presley hit a chopper to shortstop and beat Jimmy Rollins' throw to first by a hair.
"I was really running as hard as I could," Presley said. "I knew when my foot hit the bag that I was safe. I know it might not have looked like it because I started jogging right after I hit the bag but I know I beat the throw."
Juan Cruz, a nonroster invitee to spring training, won in relief. Presley had two of Pittsburgh's six hits.
Shane Victorino and Placido Polanco had two hits apiece for Philadelphia. The Phillies got two baserunners in both the ninth and 10th innings but couldn't break through.
The biggest hiccup came after Hunter Pence worked Pittsburgh closer Joel Hanrahan for a leadoff walk in the ninth. Lanyce Nix tried three times to put down a sacrifice bunt, popping his final attempt high into the air for a harmless out.
"I just didn't do it; there's no excuses," Nix said. "I just got to get that down."
Hanrahan eventually got out of the jam by striking out Freddy Galvis. The Phillies threatened again in the 10th on back-to-back two-out singles by Polanco and Rollins. Pence struck out swinging, however.
The Phillies, playing without injured stars Ryan Howard and Chase Utley, have two runs through 19 innings.
Lee gave up one run on two hits in six innings, walking two and striking out four.
"(Lee) pitched good, but he had some deep counts," Philadelphia manager Charlie Manuel said. "And they worked him pretty good. That's the first time he's been up around 100 pitches. But overall, I felt he did really good. We just couldn't get no runs."
Pittsburgh starter Jeff Karstens, like Erik Bedard on opening day, did his best to keep pace. Coming off a year in which he revived his career - going 9-9 with a 3.38 ERA - Karstens kept the Phillies off balance with his typical mix of offspeed pitches.
Karstens didn't allow a runner past second in his final five innings, giving up one run on five hits with one walk and two strikeouts.