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PHILADELPHIA (AP) — With the game on the line, Jeff Francoeur wanted the ball. He responded with a perfect throw.
Cole Hamels struck out nine over seven strong innings, Francoeur threw out the potential tying run at the plate to end the game and the Philadelphia Phillies beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 3-2 Wednesday night.
"As an outfielder who likes to throw, you live for that moment," Francoeur said.
Hamels (3-3) allowed two runs and five hits to snap Philadelphia's four-game losing streak. He outpitched Matt Harvey in the Phillies' previous win last Friday night.
Pirates lefty Francisco Liriano (1-3) was a hard-luck loser again. He gave up three runs and six hits, striking out six in seven innings. Liriano has a 2.96 ERA, but only one win.
Helped by Francoeur's throw, Jonathan Papelbon surpassed Jose Mesa to become the franchise's all-time saves leader with 113 after finishing for his seventh save in seven tries. Papelbon also is Boston's franchise leader with 219 saves.
"I've always said a closer is nobody without the teammates in front of him," Papelbon said. "It's ironic because tonight I couldn't get that opportunity if my teammates don't pick me up."
Papelbon walked Francisco Cervelli to start the ninth. After striking out Neil Walker, Papelbon's pickoff attempt on pinch-runner Steve Lombardozzi sailed down the right-field line and allowed the runner to advance to third. Then Jordy Mercer lofted a foul fly to right. Francoeur made the catch and a no-hop throw to catcher Carlos Ruiz to get Lombardozzi.
"His throw was right on the money," Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg said. "He's the right guy out there. He's the arm no question about it."
The Pirates weren't second-guessing the decision to challenge Francoeur.
"He's got a good arm, but it was the right call," Lombardozzi said. "He had to make a perfect throw and did"
The last-place Phillies quickly answered with three runs after the Pirates took a 2-0 lead in the fifth.
Francoeur led off with a single and went to third on Cesar Hernandez's single. Carlos Ruiz hit an RBI double down the left-field line. After Hamels struck out, Ben Revere's drove in the tying run with a groundout to second. Galvis followed with a bloop single to score Ruiz for a 3-2 lead.
Andrew McCutchen lined a two-run single to center with two outs in the fifth to give the Pirates a 2-0 lead. The 2013 MVP is batting .231.
Starling Marte then drove in another run with an infield single to third. But Sandberg challenged the call and it took only 34 seconds for the umpires to overturn it after a video review.
Hamels is 10-0 in 16 starts since 2014 in which the Phillies score three runs or more while he's still pitching. He's 98-14 in 150 career starts when he gets three runs.
"When I feel comfortable and confident, it doesn't matter what the situation is or what the score is," Hamels said.
Pirates: Marte was in the lineup a night after he was hit on the left arm by a pitch Tuesday night.
Phillies: OF Domonic Brown was 1 for 5 for Triple-A Lehigh Valley and is batting .234. The 2013 NL All-Star began the season on the DL with tendinitis in his Achilles and wasn't brought up after his rehab stint ended because he's struggling.
Pirates: Righty Vance Worley (2-2, 4.63 ERA) faces the team that drafted him in the series finale on Thursday afternoon. Worley was 11-3 and finished third in NL Rookie of the Year voting while helping the Phillies win their fifth straight division title in 2011. He was traded to Minnesota for Ben Revere after the 2012 season.
Phillies: RHP Aaron Harang (3-3, 2.38) makes his 29th career start vs. the Pirates. He's 16-8 against them.
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