Phillies Win Again, Escape the Cellar
The Phillies defeated the host San Diego Padres last night by a 4-2 score at Petco Park, and in so doing, the team escaped the cellar of the National League East for the first time in months.
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There has been an emerging line of demarcation in the Phils’ season that now gets clearer and clearer: the MLB All-Star break. Since that point in the schedule, the Phillies have won 15 of 20 games, and are 5-1-1 in their last 7 series played.
New heroes seem to step up each game these days, and this one was no exception. This time it was an old friend getting into the act for the first time in a long time, and a couple of newly emerging fan favorites.
“It’s just fun to watch these guys. They’re all having a good time, and they’re all aggressive” ~ Phils’ skipper Mackanin
The ‘old friend’ was 2nd baseman Chase Utley, who led off the game with his first of two doubles on the night. One batter later, one of the new favorites, center fielder Odubel Herrera, brought him home with an RBI single. Herrera then manufactured a run on his own, stealing 2nd, moving to 3rd on a ground out, and scoring on a wild pitch to give the Phils an early 2-0 lead.
In the top of the 3rd, another of the new favorites got things started. Cesar Hernandez, playing shortstop on this night to both give Freddy Galvis a break and allow Utley another chance to play 2nd, singled with one out. He then stole his 17th base of the season, and scored on an RBI single by Herrera to make it 3-0.
The three Phillies runs came off San Diego starting pitcher Tyson Ross, who settled down after the shaky 1st inning. Ross (8-9) lasted 7 innings, allowing just 5 hits while striking out 8 and walking just one batter. But he was done in by the early trouble, and a strong outing by Phils’ rookie starter Adam Morgan.
The lefty Morgan went 6 strong innings of his own, scattering 6 hits while walking 1 and registering 4 K’s. He threw 47 strikes among his 79 pitches before being lifted with a 3-2 lead.
San Diego got to him for a run in the bottom of the 4th on an RBI single by Matt Kemp. But the damage was limited thanks to Herrera, who made a heads-up defensive play to gun down Derek Norris, who was trying to go first-to-third on the Kemp hit.
With two outs and nobody on in the 6th, Justin Upton singled to left, and an error by Cody Asche allowed him to motor into scoring position. Jedd Gyorko singled him home, and the hosts had crept to within a run.
For the 7th, Pete Mackanin went to his busy bullpen. Jeanmar Gomez allowed two hits in that 7th, but escaped without damage. Luis Garcia allowed one hit, but also kept the Friars off the scoreboard. That left it to closer Ken Giles, and the fireballer made quick work of the hosts for his 5th Save, setting them down in order, including striking out both Clint Barmes and Melvin Upton to end it.
Mackanin got it right in the postgame presser when he perfectly summed up the feelings of most Phillies fans these days: “It’s just fun to watch these guys. They’re all having a good time, and they’re all aggressive. They’re all pulling for each other. It’s contagious.”
The Phils have thus already clinched a series win on the road, and are 6-1 away from home since the All-Star break. They will now go for their third series sweep since that time in this afternoon’s 4:10pm EDT finale with Jerome Williams taking the mound.