A Winning Streak: It Has Happened Before

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Final. 3. 8. 4. 6

The Phillies (14-23) earned their first winning streak of the 2015 season, beating the visiting Arizona Diamondbacks (15-19) by a 4-3 score on a near-perfect weather Friday night at Citizens Bank Park.

The big story in Philly all day long and at the game’s outset was the season debut, and hopefully the permanent return, of highly considered 3rd base prospect Maikel Franco. That part of things was a bit anticlimactic, as Franco took an 0-4 collar on the evening.

The Phils won anyway in what began as a pitcher’s duel between DBacks youngster Chase Anderson, and Phillies righthander Chad Billingsley. The two hurlers traded goose eggs through 5 1/2 innings before the Phils finally broke through.

In the bottom of the 6th, Ryan Howard‘s double scored Freddy Galvis, who had led off the frame with a walk. Anderson would only last one more better, striking out Franco before being pulled having thrown 104 pitches, just 59 of them for strikes. He allowed 3 hits and 3 walks, striking out 3 as well.

More from That Balls Outta Here

That lead didn’t last long, as the DBacks scored three times in the top of the 7th. Tuffy Gosewisch led off with a walk, Nick Ahmed followed with a single, and that was it for Billingsley. He left the game not having allowed a run, but responsible for both runners, who would both score.

Arizona skipper Chip Hale pinch-hit with Mark Trumbo, and Phils skipper Ryne Sandberg brought in Justin De Fratus. The Phils reliever got the first two batters, but then the DBacks got to him. First, A.J. Pollock singled to score Gosewich. Then the always dangerous Paul Goldschmidt doubled to center, scoring Ahmed and Pollock, putting Arizona up 3-1.

That would be enough to beat the Phils on most nights thus far this season, but not on this night. The club answered with 3 of their own immediately in the bottom of the 7th. Carlos Ruiz and Cesar Hernandez began the frame with singles.

With one out, Galvis’ single brought home both runners, and he scampered all the way to 3rd when the centerfielder threw the ball away at the plate. Jeff Francoeur then followed with a single to score Galvis, and the Phillies were back on top 4-3.

Sandberg then turned the game over to Luis Garcia for the 8th, and it turned out, for the 9th as well. Garcia responded, allowing just one hit and otherwise setting the DBacks down for his 1st career save. It was the Phils first two-inning save since all the way  back in 2009, when Ryan Madson accomplished the feat.

In addressing the decision to stick with Garcia in the 9th, Sandberg stated: “I had the possibilities of the combination, a Garcia-Diekman combination, depending on the lineup. As it turned out, it was the bottom of the order, with righthanded hitters.”

Billingsley didn’t get credit for the Win, that instead went to reliever Elvis Araujo, who struck out the only batter that he faced to end the 7th. It was the first Win of his career. For Billingsley, he went 6 innings, scattering 7 hits and a walk while striking out 2 batters.

So the Fightin’ Phils finally have a winning streak, not only their first of the season, but also their first since last August. Tomorrow night, they’ll try to make it 4 in a row with Jerome Williams taking the mound, where he will be opposed by Arizona rookie phenom Archie Bradley.

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