Nola earns 10th win as Phillies defeat Nationals

By: Rebecca Serad, Sports Talk Philly Staff 

Final: Philadelphia Phillies 4, Washington Nationals 3  ❖  Attendance: 25,026

PHILADELPHIA, Pa. — It got a little too close for comfort in the ninth inning, but the Philadelphia Phillies (43-36) pulled out a win over the Washington Nationals (41-38). Phils starter Aaron Nola was magnificent yet again. Over seven and 2/3 innings, the righty allowed one run on five hits while striking out eight. This marked the first time that Nola has pitched seven or more innings since May. In addition, he reached a new career high in pitches with 114. Nola is now the third pitcher in the National League to reach ten wins for the season.

While there were plenty of opportunities to do more damage, the Phillies managed to score enough runs to win the game. Rhys Hoskins had another big night at the plate with three hits. He was only a triple shy of the cycle. Maikel Franco and Jorge Alfaro picked up two hits apiece. Nick Williams ended his 0-9 stretch with a single in the third inning.

WP: Aaron Nola (10-2, 2.48 ERA)  ❖  LP: Tanner Roark (3-9, 4.10 ERA)  ❖  SV: Seranthony Dominguez (6)

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Phillies shut out by Yankees in third straight loss

By: Rebecca Serad, Sports Talk Philly Staff 

Final: New York Yankees 6, Philadelphia Phillies 0  ❖  Attendance: 43,568

PHILADELPHIA, Pa. — To say that tonight's game against the New York Yankees (52-25) was an uphill battle from the start for the Philadelphia Phillies (41-36) would be an understatement. Three pitches into the game, the Yankees took the lead and never looked back. Phils starter Jake Arrieta struggled with his command. Over five innings, the righty allowed six runs, with only three of those being earned, on nine hits. Coming into tonight's game, Arrieta already led the league in unearned runs with 11. After this outing, he now leads all of Major League Baseball with 14 unearned runs. The bullpen was solid after Arrieta's exit. Zac Curtis, Victor Arano and Hector Neris combined for four scoreless innings.

The Phillies offense was yet again anemic against a stellar Luis Severino. Only four Phillies recorded hits in the game and only one of the six total hits was for extra bases. However, two Phillies did extend hitting streaks. With a double in the third inning, Maikel Franco extended his hitting streak to four straight games. Scott Kingery's fifth inning single extended his streak to seven games. Outside of those small positives, there was little to enjoy about the performance of the Phils' bats.

WP: Luis Severino (12-2, 2.10 ERA)  ❖  LP: Jake Arrieta (5-6, 3.54 ERA)

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Phillies bullpen struggles in loss to Cardinals

By: Rebecca Serad, Sports Talk Philly Staff 

Final: St. Louis Cardinals 7, Philadelphia Phillies 6  ❖  Attendance: 21,122

PHILADELPHIA, Pa. — A win tonight over the St. Louis Cardinals (38-33) would have guaranteed a series victory for the Philadelphia Phillies (38-33). Unfortunately, after quite a bit of back and forth scoring, the Phillies ultimately came out on the losing side. Starter Vince Velasquez was solid, though his line for the game doesn't look that impressive. Over six and 1/3 innings, he allowed four runs on four hits while walking three and striking out eight. However, two of those runs were allowed to score by the bullpen. As a whole, the bullpen was disappointing yet again. Three relievers pitched a combined two and 2/3 innings and allowed three runs on four hits. The Phillies bullpen has allowed at least three runs in four of the last five games, which is simply unacceptable.

There were some bright spots on the offensive front. With his home-run tonight, Odubel Herrera has now homered in four of his last five games. Rhys Hoskins continued to swing a hot bat, getting two more hits and a pair of RBI. Since fracturing his jaw, Hoskins is 14-40 with four doubles, four home-runs, and 14 RBI. Because the Phils added a game to the loss column, the shortcomings of the offense cannot be ignored. The lineup was 1-8 with runners in scoring position and nine runners were left on base. Both of those numbers need to improve as the season progresses.

J.P. Crawford was hit by a pitch in the bottom of the fourth and left the game in the fifth inning. Phillies manager Gabe Kapler told the media after the game that Crawford had fractured his left hand and would be out for four to six weeks. There hasn't been an announcement about his replacement on the roster yet, but that should happen soon.

WP: Jordan Hicks (3-1, 2.13 ERA)  ❖  LP: Seranthony Dominguez (1-1, 1.61 ERA)

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Velasquez's no-hit bid, hot bats earn Phillies series win

By: Rebecca Serad, Sports Talk Philly Staff 

Final: Philadelphia Phillies 9, Colorado Rockies 3  ❖  Attendance: 22,500

PHILADELPHIA, Pa. — The Philadelphia Phillies (35-31) came into today's game aiming for a win over the Colorado Rockies (33-35) to give them their first series win of the month. They were able to do just that. Phillies starter Vince Velasquez was masterful. He didn't allow a hit until the seventh inning. Over six and 2/3 innings, Velasquez allowed two runs on one hit and walked two batters. He struck out six. Today's game marked the second time this season that a Phillies starter has taken a no-hitter into the seventh inning, with the other being Aaron Nola on May 26.

The Phillies' bats woke up today. In the almost 37 minute long bottom of the seventh inning alone, the Phillies scored four runs on five hits and walked twice. Rhys Hoskins had an especially good game. He finished a triple short of the cycle and scored two runs. For the tenth time in his young career, Hoskins had three or more RBI in the game. Nick Williams also homered and knocked in a pair of runs. Odubel Herrera and Carlos Santana each picked up a pair of singles and a RBI. As a team, the Phillies were 6-11 with runners in scoring position, which is huge. They need to build on this momentum and work on making this kind of offensive production less unusual.

WP: Vince Velasquez (5-7, 4.74 ERA)  ❖  LP: German Márquez (4-7, 5.13 ERA)

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Phillies suffer painful loss on walk-off grand slam

By: Rebecca Serad, Sports Talk Philly Staff 

Final: Chicago Cubs 7, Philadelphia Phillies 5  ❖  Attendance: 40,275

CHICAGO, Il. — Going into the bottom of the ninth inning, it looked like the Philadelphia Phillies (32-27) would be able to secure a series win against the Chicago Cubs (34-24). They just needed three outs from the bullpen. Unfortunately for the Phils, the Cubs took advantage of struggling relievers Seranthony Dominguez and Adam Morgan and came out on top. Phillies starter Aaron Nola didn't have the best command tonight. Over six innings, he allowed three runs on four hits and walked an uncharacteristic four batters. This was only the third time in 13 starts this season that Nola allowed three or more runs in an outing. Tommy Hunter threw a scoreless inning of relief, and Dominguez did well in his first inning of relief. However, he lacked control in the ninth inning. That same problem plagued Morgan, who allowed the grand slam that decided the game.

The Phillies offense had their hands full through the first half of the game with Cubs starter Jose Quintana. He struck out ten batters and only allowed three hits. The Phils celebrated his exit after five and 2/3 innings in a big way: Aaron Altherr homered on the first pitch he saw from reliever Steve Cishek. At the time, the home-run tied the game and was huge for the Phillies. Outfielder Dylan Cozens didn't start the game, but came in to replace Nick Williams after the latter left the game as the result of a wrist injury he sustained in the second inning. Cozens' bat helped the Phils take the lead in the top of the ninth. He hit his first Major League home-run.

If it weren't for the bullpen implosion in the bottom of the ninth, those two big hits would have been enough to hand the Phils the 'W'. Because the Phillies added another loss to their record instead, the overall lack of offense and 16 strikeouts need to be scrutinized. It doesn't matter how well the pitchers are doing if the hitters can't support them. The Phillies need consistent offensive production if they truly want to contend this season.

WP: Cory Mazzoni (1-0, 0.00 ERA)  ❖  LP: Adam Morgan (0-2, 3.45 ERA)

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Nola excellent as Phillies split series with Dodgers

By: Rebecca Serad, Sports Talk Philly Staff 

Final: Philadelphia Phillies 2, Los Angeles Dodgers 1  ❖  Attendance: 40,986

LOS ANGELES, Ca. — The Philadelphia Phillies (31-23) and the Los Angeles Dodgers (26-30) ended their four game series with a battle of aces and the Phillies came out on top. Starter Aaron Nola was fantastic, despite relying more heavily on his secondary pitches than normal in the first few innings of the game. Over seven innings, Nola allowed one run on two hits and struck out seven batters. In his six starts in the month of May, the righty had a 4-1 record with a 1.80 ERA. In 40.0 innings pitched, Nola only allowed eight runs and eight walks, while striking out 46 batters. Seranthony Dominguez, who relieved Nola, pitched the final two innings of the game and continued to impress. So far in his Major League career, Dominguez has faced 43 batters and only three have reached base. He has yet to walk a batter.

The Phillies offense didn't do a lot of damage, but some timely hitting helped earn the win. Jorge Alfaro had two hits and knocked in both runs. In his last 26 games, the catcher has a .322 average with ten extra-base hits and ten RBI. He has really started to flourish in his role as an everyday player. Nick Williams picked up two more hits tonight. He will continue to get a good look while left fielder Rhys Hoskins is on the disabled list. If Williams continues to contribute offensively on a consistent basis, there's no reason why the Phillies shouldn't give him more consistent playing time.

WP: Aaron Nola (7-2, 2.18 ERA)  ❖  LP: Josh Fields (2-2, 2.36 ERA)  ❖  SV: Seranthony Dominguez (2)

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Eflin struggles as Phillies fall to Dodgers

By: Rebecca Serad, Sports Talk Philly Staff 

Final: Los Angeles Dodgers 8, Philadelphia Phillies 2  ❖  Attendance: 43,302

LOS ANGELES, Ca. — The Philadelphia Phillies (30-23) didn't pitch or hit well against the Los Angeles Dodgers (26-29) in tonight's game. Starter Zach Eflin labored through four innings. The righty allowed five runs on seven hits, including two home-runs. While he may have struck out five batters and only walked one, it was clear that Eflin was having difficulty with his command. Relievers Victor Arano and Drew Hutchison threw two innings apiece and each allowed at least one run and at least two hits. This was Hutchison's first appearance in almost two weeks, which could explain some of his difficulties. However, this does not excuse them.

The offense, or the lack thereof, is a big reason why the Phillies lost the game. The team combined for 13 strikeouts in the game, including four by Mitch Walding in his rather disappointing Major League debut. Walding is the first player to go 0-4 with four strikeouts in his debut in franchise history and only the eleventh player in MLB history to do so. On a positive note, Carlos Santana and Nick Williams both continued to be bright spots for the struggling offense. Santana collected two hits and his hot month of May has boosted his average up to .221, which is a significant improvement. Williams homered in his second straight game.

WP: Ross Stripling (3-1, 1.68 ERA)  ❖  LP: Zach Eflin (1-2, 4.50 ERA)

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Defensive blunders lead to Phillies loss

By: Rebecca Serad, Sports Talk Philly Staff 

Final: Atlanta Braves 3, Philadelphia Phillies 1  ❖  Attendance: 18,545

PHILADELPHIA, Pa. — A win tonight over the Atlanta Braves (29-18) could have put the Philadelphia Phillies (27-19) in first place in the National League East. However, that was not meant to be. Phils starter Vince Velasquez battled through four and a third innings, including a rough fourth inning that saw him load the bases with no outs before striking out three consecutive batters to get out of it. The righty allowed two runs, only one earned, along with six hits and three walks. He also struck out nine batters. According to Phillies reporter Jim Salisbury, this is Velasquez's fourth loss to the Braves this season. However, Velasquez wasn't to blame for the loss. Errors on back-to-back plays by right fielder Nick Williams and first baseman Carlos Santana led to a run scoring in the fifth inning for the Braves. Also, a passed ball by catcher Jorge Alfaro led to another run scoring in the ninth. Santana now has errors in four straight games for the first time in his career, which is alarming.

There weren't many positives on the offensive front, as the bats were quiet when it counted. With his fifth inning single, Cesar Hernandez extended his on-base streak to 26 consecutive games. It's currently the longest streak in the National League and tied for the longest streak in baseball with J.D. Martinez of the Boston Red Sox. Santana ended his 0-8 streak with a single in the bottom of the sixth inning. He needs to contribute on a more consistent basis.

WP: Brandon McCarthy (5-2, 4.67 ERA)  ❖  LP: Vince Velasquez (4-5, 4.18 ERA)  ❖  SV: Arodys Vizcaíno (9)

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Velasquez strong as Phillies win third straight

By: Rebecca Serad, Sports Talk Philly Staff 

Final: Philadelphia Phillies 6, St. Louis Cardinals 2  ❖  Attendance: 41,039

ST. LOUIS, Mo. — The Philadelphia Phillies (25-16) have won their third straight game and their first in a four game set against the St. Louis Cardinals (23-18). With the victory, the Phillies are now 17-2 against teams outside their division. Phillies starter Vince Velasquez was very dominant. Over six and a third scoreless innings, the righty allowed five hits, walked two batters and struck out five. Velasquez went into tonight's game with an ERA over 5.00, and left with a 4.37 ERA. He has shown improvement from the beginning of the season and if he wants to remain in the rotation, he needs to keep it up. Seranthony Dominguez, who helped Velasquez finish the seventh inning, made history with his appearance in the game. He is the first reliever in recorded history (since 1908) to begin his career with five straight appearances in which he did not allow a hit, walk or run and recorded at least two outs. The slew of relievers that followed Dominguez struggled over the last two innings of the game, but ultimately got the job done.

The Phillies' bats didn't start to heat up until halfway through the game, but once they did, they made an impact. Odubel Herrera extended his on base streak to 43 games with a walk in the fourth inning. His streak is currently the fifth longest in franchise history and could be tied for fourth if he gets on base during tomorrow's game. Herrera's single in the seventh inning extended his hitting streak to five games, as well as his hitting streak against the Cardinals to 12 games. Carlos Santana's fifth inning homer gave him 17 RBI in the month of May. In the eighth inning, Pedro Florimón hit his first home-run since September 27, 2013.

WP: Vince Velasquez (4-4, 4.37 ERA)  ❖  LP: Luke Weaver (3-3, 4.37 ERA)

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Santana, Franco lead offensive barrage against Giants

By: Rebecca Serad, Sports Talk Philly Staff 

Final: Philadelphia Phillies 11, San Francisco Giants 3  ❖  Attendance: 18,448

PHILADELPHIA, Pa. — The Philadelphia Phillies (21-15) have won their third straight game against the San Francisco Giants (19-18). Over the first three games of the series, the Phils have outscored the Giants 26-5 and have outhomered them 8-1. A lot of that has to do with the excellent pitching that the Phillies have had. Tonight's starter, Nick Pivetta, was no exception. The righty struggled a bit in the first inning, throwing over 20 pitches, but still had a solid outing. Pivetta allowed no runs and four hits over five innings. He didn't walk any batters and struck out seven. Two of the three pitchers that entered the game in relief of Pivetta, Yacksel Rios and Zac Curtis, allowed runs, but fortunately, the Phillies' bats had given the pitchers a huge lead with which to work.

While it was a combined effort on the offensive front, there were some standout performers. Odubel Herrera extended his on-base streak to 38 games with a walk in the first inning. Maikel Franco extended his hitting streak to seven games, while Carlos Santana extended his hitting streak to six games. Santana matched a career high in RBI in a single game with five. The last time he had five RBI in a game was in 2012, during his time with the Cleveland Indians. Santana has struggled thus far this season, and it's good to see him contributing more offensively. The Phillies need him to keep this up if they want to contend this season.

WP: Nick Pivetta (2-2, 4.15 ERA)  ❖  LP: Chris Stratton (3-3, 4.60 ERA)

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