Rookie Brian Harper was sent up to sacrifice in the fifth inning, but won the game in Philadelphia with a three-run homer off Steve Carlton.
The Pirates were leading, 1-0, and had runners on first and second with none out when Harper came to bat.
"Everybody in the park thought I would bunt," Harper said.
But he bunted foul on the first pitch and the Phillies rotated their infielders to make a play at third. So Pittsburgh Manager Chuck Tanner took off the bunt sign. Carlton threw a fast ball low, and Harper golfed it over the left field fence.
Harper started the game only because Tanner wanted an all-right-handed hitting lineup against left-hander Carlton.
It was his second NL homer this year, but he hit 17 in 99 games at Portland of the Pacific Coast League before joining the parent team Aug. 26.
Rick Rhoden (11-12) allowed seven hits in seven innings. He left the game after pinch hitter Greg Gross and Pete Rose singled with none out in the eighth. Kent Tekulve relieved and earned his 20th save.
Tekulve got the Pirates out of a none-out, two-on jam in the eighth, and retired Mike Schmidt with two on and two out in the ninth.
"I had to go right at him (Schmidt)," Tekulve said. "I couldn't let him get ahead in the count. I wanted to make him hit the pitch I wanted him to hit." He did.
The loss ended Carlton's eight-game winning streak at the Vet. He had allowed only five earned runs in 34 innings over his four starts prior to last night.