PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Pittsburgh outfielder Jose Tabata made one strong throw after another in the first inning and had only two errors to show for it.
Joe Blanton threw seven effective innings, Jimmy Rollins homered for the fourth time in five games and the Philadelphia Phillies beat the Pirates 8-3 on Monday night.
Helped by Pittsburgh's sloppy defense, the Phillies jumped ahead with four runs in the first and the Pirates couldn't recover. They made four errors including three on errant throws in the first inning - two on the same play.
``It happens,' Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. ``Everybody plays that way some time.'
Blanton (7-6) allowed three runs - two earned - and seven hits, striking out eight. Despite a 4.87 ERA, Blanton has more wins than Roy Halladay (4) and Cliff Lee (0) combined.
Coming off a disappointing sweep in a day-night doubleheader against Tampa Bay, the last-place Phillies rebounded in the opener of a four-game series with Pittsburgh. They are 15-2 against the Pirates in their last 17 meetings at Citizens Bank Park.
But these aren't the same old Pirates. They entered the game with the best record in the NL since May 25 at 18-9 and were just one game behind Central-leading Cincinnati.
``We'll just get over it and come back tomorrow,' Hurdle said.
Jeff Karstens (0-2) gave up seven runs - six earned - and 11 hits in five innings in his first start since April 17. Karstens was on the disabled list with hip and shoulder issues.
``Unfortunately I got the team in a big hole,' Karstens said. ``There were some good things, but they were overshadowed by the way the game went.'
Rollins led off with a double, advanced on Juan Pierre's sacrifice and scored on Hunter Pence's looping single to right. Then it got ugly for the Pirates.
Pence hustled from first to third on Carlos Ruiz's single to right. Ruiz advanced to second on the throw to third and Pence scored when third baseman Pedro Alvarez's throw to second sailed into right for one error. Ruiz ended up on third when right fielder Tabata's throw home got away for an error.
Ruiz scored on Shane Victorino's single. Placido Polanco followed with a single to right. Victorino went to third and scored when Tabata's throw bounced away from Alvarez for another error.
``We didn't throw very well in the first inning,' Hurdle said. ``I think the `toward' button was off a little, where you're supposed to throw toward.'
Tabata connected off Blanton in the third for his third homer. After Polanco's RBI single for the Phillies in the bottom half, Clint Barmes hit a two-out RBI single in the fourth to cut it to 5-2.
The Phillies went ahead 7-2 in the fourth when Rollins blasted a 3-0 pitch off a billboard hanging from the second deck in right field for his eighth homer.
Ruiz had three hits to raise his average to .354.
Notes: The Pirates optioned RHP Bryan Morris to Triple-A Indianapolis to make room for Karstens. ... Pirates C Rod Barajas left the game with a bone bruise in his left knee. ... Philadelphia's Vance Worley (3-4, 2.78) faces Erik Bedard (4-7, 4.13) on Tuesday night.
Rob Maaddi can be reached at http://www.twitter.com/RobMaaddi
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