PHILADELPHIA (AP) - PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Pittsburgh's James McDonald knew the margin for error against the Phillies was small, especially against a Philadelphia lineup featuring the debut of Hunter Pence.
McDonald made just enough mistakes in Pittsburgh's 7-4 loss to the Phillies on Saturday night.
``I got behind and you can't do that against a lineup like they have,' McDonald said.
The right-hander gave up five runs on 10 hits while striking out five and walking two to fall to 7-5. Ryan Howard had four hits, including a homer and two doubles, and three RBIs to lead Philadelphia.
Pence had an RBI single in his debut for the Phillies after he was acquired from the Houston Astros Friday night for three minor leaguers.
Pedro Alvarez homered for the Pirates.
Although he got just one hit, Pence's presence made a huge impact for the Phillies.
``It helps having a guy like Hunter Pence in the lineup,' Howard said. ``He's another threat pitchers have to worry about. He brought a lot of energy and fits in great in this clubhouse.'
Pence hit .309 with 11 homers and 62 RBIs in 99 games with the Astros, and was a much-coveted right-handed bat that the Phillies wanted in part to protect Howard.
``Put Pence between Howard and (Raul) Ibanez and you pick your poison,' Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said.
Howard led off the second with a solo shot to deep center to give Philadelphia a 1-0 lead, snapping McDonald's 12 2-3 scoreless streak.
``Howard's homer was a mistake pitch,' McDonald said. ``He's a professional hitter and showed it.'
But Hurdle praised McDonald's aggressiveness after giving up the homer to Howard and another one an inning later to Jimmy Rollins.
``After the homers he didn't back away,' Hurdle said. ``Maybe got too aggressive. Once he got down, he tried to make something happen.'
``I just tried to challenge them,' McDonald said. ``You look forward to facing them to see what you've got. I look forward to facing them again.'
The Pirates trailed 5-2 when McDonald left the game and it was 6-2 entering the eighth. But Pittsburgh got two runs back in the eighth on RBI singles by Neil Walker and Brandon Wood. Pittsburgh had the tying run on with two outs, but Antonio Bastardo struck out Alvarez in relief of Cliff Lee to end the threat.
``We were able to come back on Lee and got back in the game,' Hurdle said. ``We don't have any quit in us. They've just been better than us in the batter's box.'
Pence wore No. 3, started in right field and batted fifth behind Howard. He was greeted with a standing ovation when he took the field in the first inning and when he batted for the first time in second.
Lee (10-7) struck out 11 to reach double digits for the 16th time in his 10-year career, including seven this season. He allowed four runs on eight hits and walked two in 7 2-3 innings.
Ryan Madson pitched a scoreless ninth, striking out the side, for his 17th save in 18 chances.
The Pirates avoided pitching to Howard in the eighth with a runner on third and one out, electing to walk him and face Pence. The newly acquired Phillie, who was 0-for-4 to that point, came through with a single that scored Shane Victorino and put Philadelphia ahead 7-4.
``That's what I'm here for,' Pence said. ``If they're going to do that, make them pay.'
Rollins had put the Phillies ahead 2-0 with a solo homer to right in the third and, three batters later, Howard made it 3-0 with a double off the wall in left that scored Victorino. It was the 1,000th hit of Howard's career.
Alvarez brought Pittsburgh within 3-2 with his two-out, two-run shot to right in the fourth.
But the Phillies got both runs back in the bottom of the frame. Lee scored when right fielder Steve Pearce misplayed Chase Utley's single to right, and Rollins reached on Howard's RBI single to right.
Philadelphia tacked on a run in the seventh on Carlos Ruiz's RBI double to left-center that scored Placido Polanco and made it 6-2.
NOTES: The crowd of 45,737 was the Phillies' 181st consecutive sellout. ... Pittsburgh's Michael McKenry went 0 for 4 with four strikeouts, snapping his six-game hitting streak.
The Associated Press News Service
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