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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Phillies drop fourth straight with extra inning loss to Marlins

By: Rebecca Serad, Sports Talk Philly Staff 

Final: Miami Marlins 2, Philadelphia Phillies 1  ❖  Attendance: 5,844

MIAMI, Fla. — The Philadelphia Phillies (16-13) fell to the Miami Marlins (11-18) in ten innings. It is the team's fourth consecutive loss, as well as the third straight series loss. The Phils are a disappointing 2-6 in their last eight games. Tonight's pitcher for the Phillies, Zach Eflin, was making his first start of 2018 in place of the injured Ben Lively. Eflin did not disappoint. The righty retired the first 15 batters he faced in order, not allowing a baserunner until the sixth inning. His only mistake was a hanging slider to Justin Bour that was hammered over the fence in right-center field. In total, Eflin went six innings and allowed one run on four hits, while striking out four and walking none. The bullpen was solid, tossing three and 1/3 scoreless innings before ultimately allowing the winning run to score in the 10th.

The lack of offense is to blame for tonight's loss. The team was 1-10 with runners in scoring position. However, there were a few positives. With his single in the fourth inning, Odubel Herrera has now reached base safely in 31 straight games. Nick Williams snapped a 0-20 streak with his pinch-hit single in the seventh inning. Jorge Alfaro had two hits.

Scott Kingery was hit by a 98 MPH fastball in his throwing elbow in the ninth inning. He left the game in the tenth inning. Manager Gabe Kapler told reporters after the game that it was a precautionary move. It's likely that Kingery will not be in the line-up tomorrow to give him some extra recovery time and to make sure that there isn't any further damage.

WP: Junichi Tazawa (1-1, 6.39 ERA)  ❖  LP: Yacksel Rios (3-1, 3.21 ERA)

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Altherr's clutch blast nabs win for Phillies

By: Rebecca Serad, Sports Talk Philly Staff 

Final: Philadelphia Phillies 5, Arizona Diamondbacks 3  ❖  Attendance: 23,349

PHILADELPHIA, Pa. — It wasn't pretty, but the Philadelphia Phillies (15-8) pulled out a win over the Arizona Diamondbacks (16-7). With the win, the Phillies ended the D-backs' eight game winning streak at Citizens Bank Park. Starter Jake Arrieta was solid for the Phillies, allowing three runs on four hits over seven innings. Only one of those three runs counted as an earned run, however, as the Phillies committed an inexcusable three errors. After Arrieta left the game, Adam Morgan and Luis Garcia combined for a scoreless eighth inning. Hector Neris struggled with his command in the ninth, but was able to work his way out of a jam to get his fifth save of the season.

Despite striking out 11 times, the Phillies were able to string some good at-bats together and score five runs. The team finished with 10 hits, three of which were by second baseman Cesar Hernandez. The big hit of the game came off the bat of Aaron Altherr, who got the start in right field. His three-run homer in the sixth inning ultimately decided the game. Odubel Herrera extended his streak of reaching base safely to 25 consecutive games with his single in the first inning.

WP: Jake Arrieta (3-0, 1.82 ERA)  ❖  LP: Zack Greinke (2-2, 4.80 ERA)  ❖  SV: Hector Neris (5)

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Arrieta dominates Pirates in blowout victory

By: Rebecca Serad, Sports Talk Philly Staff 

Final: Philadelphia Phillies 7, Pittsburgh Pirates 0  ❖  Attendance: 19,071

PHILADELPHIA, Pa — The Philadelphia Phillies (11-7) began their ten game homestand on a positive note with tonight's victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates (12-7). Phillies starter Jake Arrieta was on top of his game and had fantastic command. The righty only allowed one hit and two walks and struck out ten batters over seven innings. Arrieta reached double digits in strikeouts for the 14th time in his career and for the 1st time as a Phillie. Yacksel Rios and Victor Arano each threw a scoreless inning. Arano extended his streak of consecutive retired batters to 25.

Normally, when a team strikes out 16 times in a game, they lose. That wasn't the case for the Phillies tonight. In addition to the cringe-worthy number of strikeouts, there was also timely hitting. Five of the Phillies' seven runs were scored with two outs. Rhys Hoskins extended his hitting streak to six games with his homer in the second. Carlos Santana ended his 0-17 stretch with a single in the fifth inning, and Scott Kingery ended his 0-11 stretch with a single in the seventh. Cesar Hernandez's RBI single in the second inning was big for multiple reasons. First and foremost, it cleared the bases, and it was the first single to knock in three runs for a Phillies player since 1978. However, it also marked an important milestone in Hernandez's career: 500 hits.

WP: Jake Arrieta (2-0, 2.04 ERA)  ❖  LP: Jameson Taillon (2-1, 2.86 ERA)

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Nola's excellent outing boosts Phillies to .500 mark

By: Rebecca Serad, Sports Talk Philly Staff 

Final: Philadelphia Phillies 6, Cincinnatti Reds 1  ❖  Attendance: 20,895

PHILADELPHIA, Pa. — The Philadelphia Phillies (5-5) secured their second straight series victory with tonight's win over the Cincinnati Reds (2-8). Phils starter Aaron Nola was on top of his game, only allowing a single run on three hits over eight innings. The righty walked an uncharacteristic three batters, but also struck out six. Nola had fantastic command overall and finished with 103 pitches. With this outing, he became only the fifth pitcher in baseball to throw eight innings this season.

The bats took a while to warm up. The Phillies didn't get their first hit until the sixth inning, but once they started to get hits, they didn't stop. Cesar Hernandez's sixth inning single not only broke up Reds starter Homer Bailey's no-hitter, but also extended his hitting streak to seven games. Shortstop J.P. Crawford broke a 0-18 stretch with a single that knocked in what ended up being the winning run. Scott Kingery hit his first Major League grand slam in the eighth inning to cushion the Phillies' lead. All of the Phils' runs were scored on two-out hits, which is a good sign for the team moving forward.

WP: Aaron Nola (1-0, 1.96 ERA)  ❖  LP: Jared Hughes (0-1, 3.38 ERA)

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Phillies win first game of season in extra innings

By: Rebecca Serad, Sports Talk Philly Staff 

Final: Philadelphia Phillies 5, Atlanta Braves 4  ❖  Attendance: 35,123

ATLANTA, Ga. — It took eleven innings, a combined sixteen pitchers used between both teams, and over four hours, but the Philadelphia Phillies (1-1) pulled out a victory over the Atlanta Braves (1-1) and handed manager Gabe Kapler his first win as a Major League manager. The big story of tonight's game was the Major League debut of Scott Kingery. He made the start at third base and looked very comfortable there. Kingery struck out in his first at-bat, but he bounced back to get his first big league hit in the fourth inning: a single up the middle. According to Statcast, the ball left his bat at an impressive 108 mph. Kingery also singled in the eighth inning. He is the first Phillie to record two hits in his Major League debut since Domonic Brown in 2010.

On the offensive front, it was a combined effort. Almost all of the starting position players recorded at least one hit. Carlos Santana's first hit in a Phillies uniform was a solo home-run. He knocked in three of the five runs in the game. Rhys Hoskins also hit his first homer of the season. J.P. Crawford's first hit of the season led to him scoring the winning run.

The bullpen was excellent. Eight relievers threw a combined seven innings, in which they only allowed four hits and one run. The only pitcher from the 'pen that did not pitch was Jake Thompson. In these first two games, Kapler has gone to the bullpen an astounding thirteen times. When asked about this after the game, he said, "I'm well aware that we can't use everybody every night ... We'll be creative and we'll be flexible and we'll find ways to put together a bullpen that's gonna be protective." Based on that statement alone, it's clear that Kapler has no intention of changing this strategy, despite the strain it could put on his bullpen over the course of a 162-game season.

WP: Drew Hutchison (1-0, 0.00 ERA)  ❖  LP: Shane Carle (0-1, 4.50 ERA)

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Arrieta impresses in Phillies debut despite taking loss

By: Rebecca Serad, Sports Talk Philly Staff 

Final: Detroit Tigers 6, Philadelphia Phillies 2  ❖  Attendance: 8,156

Clearwater, FLA — The Philadelphia Phillies (10-16) losing to the Detroit Tigers (10-14) seems like an afterthought to the real story of the game: starting pitcher Jake Arrieta's Phillies debut. The righty immediately made his presence felt, as he struck out the first batter he faced on three pitches. He allowed two runs on three hits and struck out two batters over two innings. Arrieta was limited to 31 pitches in his first spring outing, but his pitch command looked solid. After exiting the game, he spoke to the Phillies broadcasters and seemed happy with his first outing for the team and was looking forward to pitching further into games.

A flurry of ejections were the focus of the later innings of the game. It started with the ejection of Tigers starter Matthew Boyd in the fifth inning. After severely missing the plate with a curveball that flew over the head of Odubel Herrera, Boyd ended up hitting him a few pitches later. Home plate umpire Tom Hallion saw this as intentional and likely a retaliation to Phillies pitcher Zach Eflin hitting Jose Iglesias with a pitch in the top half of the inning. Hallion continued to eject any pitcher that hit an opposing batter. In the eighth, he ejected Phils pitcher Parker Frazier, as well as manager Gabe Kapler, who had come out to speak to the umpire in defense of his pitcher. The same happened in the ninth, with Pedro Beato and Phillies bench coach Rob Thomson each being ejected. The five ejections seemed rather excessive, as only one of the three pitchers seemed to have any kind of motive for intentionally throwing at a batter.

The game itself wasn't a great showing for the Phillies and it became clear as the game progressed that the team wasn't going to pull out a win. Multiple pitchers allowed runs, while the bats were quiet against the solid pitching of the Tigers. That combination has been all too common for the Phillies over the last few years. One of the bright spots of the game was the first home-run of the spring for non-roster invitee Adam Rosales. Despite having a less-than-impressive .237 batting average, Rosales could potentially make the team out of spring training as a bench player.

WP: Matthew Boyd (4-0, 3.86 ERA)  ❖  LP: Jake Arrieta (0-1, 9.00 ERA)

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Phillies unable to capitalize on comeback in loss to Twins

By: Rebecca Serad, Sports Talk Philly Staff 

Final: Minnesota Twins 4, Philadelphia Phillies 3  ❖  Attendance: 8,226

Fort Myers, FLA — The Philadelphia Phillies (9-14) dropped this afternoon's game against the Minnesota Twins (11-11). Outside of a rough second inning in which he alllowed two runs, Phils starter Aaron Nola was solid over five innings. Relievers Hoby Milner and Jake Thompson each allowed a run, the latter ultimately costing the Phillies the game.

The main sources of offense for the Phillies were Scott Kingery, who had a two-hit game, and Jesmuel Valentin, who hit his second three-run homer in the last six days. At the time, Valentin's bomb over the right field wall tied the game. However, the rest of the offense struggled to string together hits and failed to crack the Twins' pitchers.

WP: Taylor Hildenberger (1-0, 9.00 ERA)  ❖  LP: Jake Thompson (0-1, 1.74 ERA)  ❖  SV: Taylor Rogers (1)

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Valentin's walk-off homer caps Phils' comeback win

By: Rebecca Serad, Sports Talk Philly Staff 

Final: Philadelphia Phillies 6, Tampa Bay Rays 3  ❖  Attendance: 8,286

Clearwater, FLA — The Philadelphia Phillies (8-11) pulled off a comeback victory over the Tampa Bay Rays (7-10) this afternoon. The Phils allowed three runs in the third inning, but after that, the Rays didn't score again. Non-roster invitee Drew Hutchison made his first start, going 2 and 2/3 innings and allowing three runs on three hits and striking out five. Most impressive was 2017 Paul Owens Award winner Tom Eschelman, who threw 4 and 2/3 innings of shutout baseball and struck out four.

The Phils' bats chipped away at the Rays' lead from the third inning on and their persistence ultimately handed them the 'W'. Maikel Franco got the first hit of the game for the Phils in the fourth inning in the shape of a no-doubt-about-it homer. Rhys Hoskins also had a clutch hit that resulted in a RBI. However, it was a ninth inning walk-off three-run bomb by Jesmuel Valentin that made the offensive efforts worth it.

WP: Ranfi Casimiro (1-0, 0.00 ERA)  ❖  LP: Austin Pruitt (1-2, 3.18 ERA)

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