Cole Hamels allows homer, Phillies rally to beat Pirates 3-2

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CLEARWATER, Florida — Philadelphia left-hander Cole Hamels allowed Jordy Mercer's two-run home run in the third inning and the Phillies rallied in the sixth to beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 3-2 on Wednesday.

Making his second start of the spring, Hamels struggled with command throughout his three-inning outing. After allowing a two-out walk to Francisco Cervelli, Hamels went to a full count against Mercer before the Pittsburgh shortstop turned on a fastball and sent it over the wall in left.

"That's spring training. I know I'm not here (trying) to make the team," Hamels said. "I think for what I've done in the past, I have a pretty good spot."

Hamels allowed two runs on two hits in three innings. He struck out one and walked two.

"Cole had some long counts uncharacteristic of him," Philadelphia manager Ryne Sandberg said. "But he's throwing the ball really well. He basically got his work in. He's fine."

It was the first hit of the spring for Mercer.

Philadelphia overcame a 2-1 deficit in the sixth. Ben Revere led off with a single, and Cesar Hernandez doubled. Grady Sizemore had an RBI groundout and Jeff Francoeur singled in the go-ahead run.

"It's nice to win a game," Sandberg said. "We had good pitching all the way up the line. We did some things with guys in scoring position to manufacture three runs."

Closer Jonathan Papelbon was the first of five pitchers out of the pen to shut down the Pirates. Andy Oliver (two innings), Elvis Araujo, Mario Hollands and Jeanmar Gomez also pitched scoreless frames in relief of Hamels.

STARTING TIME

Phillies: Hamels allowed at least one baserunner in each of his three innings.

Pirates: Right-hander Charlie Morton walked the first batter he faced, Revere, but rebounded to put up a strong effort. Morton, who missed the last two months of 2014 with a hip injury and underwent surgery in September, held the Phillies to one run in three innings. He allowed just three balls to leave the infield — including a blooping single to shallow right — and induced seven groundouts. It was Morton's second appearances of the spring. He pitched two scoreless innings against the Yankees on March 5. "He was more consistent after the first inning," Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said. "He's going to be fine."

TRAINER'S ROOM

Philadelphia's Cliff Lee threw off the mound for the first time since feeling soreness in his left elbow a day after his first spring start last week. Lee said he still felt discomfort. The 36-year-old Lee was limited to 13 starts last season with the same injury and his most recent MRI might mean having surgery if the pain doesn't subside in the coming weeks. ... Chase Utley still hasn't played in a game this spring, but could be closing in on his first start. Utley, who entered camp with a sprained right ankle last month, ran the bases during pregame batting practice. General manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said over the weekend that Utley could possibly get into a game before the end of the week.

UP NEXT:

The Phillies travel to Lakeland on Thursday to face Detroit for the second time in three days. Jerome Williams is scheduled to start for the Phillies, while rotation hopeful David Buchanan also is in line to pitch. Justin Verlander will start for Detroit. Verlander threw two shutout innings against the Braves in his first spring start on Saturday.

The Pirates will play host to Boston on Thursday in Bradenton. A.J. Burnett is slated to start for the Pirates, with closer Mark Melanin also scheduled to pitch. Clay Buchholz is in line to start for Boston.

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