Phillies Gain Split of Quick Chi-Town Interleague Series

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Aug 23, 2016; Chicago, IL, USA; Philadelphia Phillies right fielder Aaron Altherr (23) hits a single against the Chicago White Sox during the first inning at U.S. Cellular Field. Mandatory Credit: Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports
Aug 23, 2016; Chicago, IL, USA; Philadelphia Phillies right fielder Aaron Altherr (23) hits a single against the Chicago White Sox during the first inning at U.S. Cellular Field. Mandatory Credit: Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports /
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The Philadelphia Phillies defeated the host Chicago White Sox at U.S. Cellular Field on Wednesday to gain a split of a two game Interleague series.

The Phillies received a strong starting pitching effort from Jerad Eickhoff and some timely hitting from Aaron Altherr, using that combination to register a 5-3 victory over the host Chicago White Sox at U.S. Cellular Field.

With the victory, the Phillies gained a split of the quick two-game Interleague series. The club is now 8-8 during Interleague play this season, and will host the Chisox at Citizens Bank Park for a pair of games during the third week of September.

Eickhoff (9-12) tossed his 14th Quality Start of the season in becoming the first member of the Phillies rotation to reach 26 starting outings during a year in which he has proven more than capable to pitch at the back-end of that rotation as the club moves forward in its rebuilding program.

The 26-year old righty allowed just two earned runs on four hits, striking out two and walking no one. Dioner Navarro‘s two-run homer off him in the bottom of the 6th broke up a shutout, and was the only dent in his armor on the night.

Eickhoff was removed after throwing just 71 pitches (41 of them for strikes), and manager Pete Mackanin later explained the decision to remove him so early.

“I wanted him out on a positive note,” Mackanin said per MLB.com contributors. “He’s been struggling in the sixth inning and after that, so I didn’t want him going back out there. We have three guys I have confidence in Ramos, Neris and Gomez. So it worked out for us.”

Edubray Ramos and Hector Neris each did come on, and did their jobs, shutting the White Sox down in the 7th and 8th innings respectively. Jeanmar Gomez did yield a pair of hits and a 9th inning run, but still was able to earn his 34th Save of the season.

The Phillies had scored a pair of runs off Chicago starter James Shields in the top of the 1st thanks to an RBI single by Altherr followed by an RBI double from Freddy Galvis.

The Phils then used the longball to put two more runs on the board, with Cesar Hernandez cracking his 5th of the season in the top of the 3rd inning, and Tommy Joseph banging out his 17th of the year in the top of the 6th inning.

Both of those were solo shots off Shields. The veteran former Tampa Bay Rays hurler who beat the Phillies back in Game 2 of the 2008 World Series is now 34-years of age. He came to the White Sox in a June trade with the San Diego Padres.

Shields (5-16) allowed the four earned runs and seven total hits across his six innings on the night, striking out six and walking none.

Altherr came through again in the top of the 8th against Chicago reliever Tommy Kahnle, lining an RBI single to score Emmanuel Burriss with an insurance run that made it a 5-2 game at that point.

The Phillies are now 59-68 on the season, and trail the New York Mets by 4.5 games for 3rd place in the National League East.

The Phils travel to the Big Apple for a three-game weekend series with those division rivals at Citi Field.

Next: Phillies Short-Season Pitching Prospects

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