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Pirates outlast Phillies in 12-inning thriller

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Jose Tabata's dramatic two-out single to right scored Xavier Paul in the bottom of the 12th as the Pirates beat the Phillies 2-1 in a classic battle at PNC Park. Jeff Karstens went pitch-for-pitch with Cole Hamels, allowing just four hits and one run over seven innings, and four Pirates relievers combined to pitch five shutout innings in the victory.

After squandering a seven-run lead against the New York Mets on Thursday afternoon, the big question for the Pirates on Friday night was: how would the club respond while taking on the cross-state rival Phillies, owners of the best record in the National League?

"That's all I kept hearing, even in my neighborhood," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. "I said, 'you're right, my guys probably won't even show up.'"

But the Bucs did show up -- if fashionably late.

Cole Hamels stymied the Pittsburgh's lineup for eight innings and the Pirates failed to break through against a wild Phillies bullpen in the ninth, tenth and eleventh frames despite getting runners in scoring position with two outs in each inning, but Jose Tabata hit a grounder past Chase Utley's glove in the twelfth and Xavier Paul slid in safely on a play at the plate to give the Pirates a 2-1 victory in front of a boisterous crowd of 33,861 at PNC Park.

"You'd be hard-pressed to find a better ball game, on a better night, in front of a better crowd, with a better pitched effort by both sides and better play defensively than the one you saw tonight," Hurdle said.

Pirates' starter Jeff Karstens and Hamels allowed just one hit apiece through five innings, and each team then tacked on a run in the sixth.

Following Jimmy Rollins' second stolen base of the night, Chase Utley hit a 3-2 sinker past Lyle Overbay, scoring Rollins from second. Pittsburgh answered in the bottom half of the inning, as Ronny Cedeno walked on four pitches, advanced to second on a Karstens sac bunt, scampered to third on a wild pitch and came home on a Tabata sac fly to the center field warning track.

That's all the scoring that would take place until the twelfth. Hamels surrendered just one hit in eight innings, striking out four and walking three Pirates hitters. Karstens went a season-high seven innings, allowing four hits while punching out two and walking none. Karstens has not issued a free pass in his last 21 innings pitched.

"He had some weapons for the left-handed hitters," Hurdle said. "The slow breaking ball, the changeup. He's got a little bit of a short-arm delivery, so the fastball was getting on some people quicker than anticipated."

The Pirates' bullpen shut down the Phillies after Karstens exited -- Evan Meek, Joel Hanrahan, Daniel McCutchen and Daniel Moskos combined to toss five innings of scoreless relief.

Philadelphia's 'pen, meanwhile, escaped danger three times before finally getting burned.

Antonio Bastardo got Chris Snyder to ground out to third base in the bottom of the ninth with runners on first and second and two outs. Tabata also grounded to third in the tenth against Mike Stutes with two outs and a runner on third. With two outs in the eleventh, Snyder flied out to center field versus Stutes with runners on first and second.

Danys Baez retired Brandon Wood and Cedeno to begin the twelfth inning. But Paul, who came in as a pinch-hitter for Karstens and stayed in the game to play right field, singled to center field and stole second base.

That brought Tabata to the plate.

"You saw me before with somebody on third base [without getting a game-winning hit]," Tabata said. "But the next time is a new time, and I said to myself, 'OK, this is my moment. Come on.'"

He worked a 3-1 count against Baez and then knocked a belt-high fastball deep in the hole at second base. Utley tried to make a diving stop, ranging into shallow right field, but the ball zipped by him.

Right fielder Ben Francisco scooped it up and fired home to Carlos Ruiz, who stood his ground in front of the plate. Paul slid home hard, though, barreling into Ruiz as the ball skipped to the backstop.

"In that situation, the adrenaline is flowing," Paul said. "You're not really thinking about the livelihood of the catcher. He was on top of the plate, and I think I made a pretty good slide and disrupted his vision a little bit."

After Paul's slide, Tabata jumped into first base coach Luis Silverio's arms. Then, he got his reward for the walk-off: a good-natured pummeling from his teammates.

Left-hander Daniel Moskos, the fourth overall pick in the 2007 draft, earned his first big league win versus the Phillies on Friday night by working a scoreless twelfth inning.

"It's awesome," Moskos said. "It's a great rivalry, Pittsburgh versus Philly, and it was a great game. Guys just kept going out there and putting up zeroes. Everybody did their job, and that's why it was such a great team win."

Signed by the Pirates for his ability to lash left-handed pitching, Matt Diaz went 0-for-3 versus Cole Hamels on Friday night and is now just 11-for-50 against lefties this season. Diaz has just one walk and one extra-base knock versus port side pitching.

Prior to Friday night's game, the Phillies activated center fielder Shane Victorino (strained right hamstring) from the 15-day disabled list and optioned outfielder John Mayberry Jr. to Triple-A Lehigh Valley. Philadelphia's lineup has been decimated by injuries in 2011: second baseman Chase Utley (right patellar tendinitis) made his season debut in late May, and Domonic Brown (right hand surgery, jammed thumb) and Carlos Ruiz (back) have also served DL stints this season.

On Friday night, Philadelphia had its entire projected starting lineup on the field for the first time in 2011:
1. Jimmy Rollins, SS
2. Placido Polanco, 3B
3. Chase Utley, 2B
4. Ryan Howard, 1B
5. Shane Victorino, CF
6. Raul Ibanez, LF
7. Domonic Brown, RF
8. Carlos Ruiz, C

Phillies starter Cole Hamels didn't just shut down the Pirates' lineup  -- he helped himself in the batter's box, too.  Hamels went 2-for-3 at the plate, singling off Karstens in the sixth and Evan Meek in the eighth. Hamels is now batting .286/.286/.357 this season. For comparison, National League pitchers as a group are hitting .135/.167/.172. Overall, Senior Circuit batters have a .252/.320/.387 line in 2011.

RHP Kyle Kendrick (3-3, 3.18 ERA) faces RHP Charlie Morton (5-2, 2.51 ERA) at 7:05 p.m. Saturday night.

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