Jeff Karstens is the Pittsburgh Pirates‘ fifth starter. Who would have believed that he could have held his own against the Phillies’ Cole Hamels in a pitching duel? But he did.

Both men gave up only one run while they were on the mound. Karstens managed to pitch for seven innings, a season high for him. Hamel lasted eight.

Jimmy Rollins scored the Phillies’ only run in the top of the sixth when he doubled, stole second and a single sent him home (two other batters on either side of him were caught in a double play). A replay showed that he might well have been out at second.

The Pirates retaliated in the bottom of the inning, when Ronny Cedeno walked, was sacrificed to second, advanced to third on a wild pitch, and was sacrificed home by Jose Tabata.

Then relievers Evan Meek, Joel Hanrahan and Dan McCutchen closed the door on further Phillies scoring. Rookie Danny Moskos got the save. That’s because following his outing, Xavier Paul singled, stole second and came on a single by Tabata, who got both of his team’s RBI.

The Pirates don’t score enough. This extra inning game was an example of this fact. But unlike the past, the team’s pitching is sometimes good enough to compensate for this fact. In fact, as fellow writer Paul Ledewski pointed out, the team had shown by far the greatest improvement in starters’ ERA in the National League from last season (as of June 2), 1.75 runs compared to 0.65 for the second-ranking Atlanta Braves.

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