Phillies

Best of MLB: Indians win 17th straight game, top Orioles 4-2

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Best of MLB: Indians win 17th straight game, top Orioles 4-2

CLEVELAND -- The Cleveland Indians earned their 17th straight win Saturday, topping the Baltimore Orioles 4-2 behind a pair of timely swings for Jay Bruce and Francisco Lindor.

Bruce's fourth-inning single put the Indians ahead for good as Cleveland became just the second team in the expansion era -- since 1961 -- to win 17 straight in a season.

The crowd of 30,459 stood throughout the ninth inning as Cody Allen retired the heart of Baltimore's order for his 25th save.

Cleveland's franchise-record streak is the longest in the majors since Oakland won 20 straight in 2002 (see full recap).

Chapman gets save, Yankees allow 1 hit to top Rangers 3-1
ARLINGTON, Texas -- Aroldis Chapman earned his first save since being removed as closer to finish a one-hitter in the New York Yankees' 3-1 win over the Texas Rangers on Saturday.

Tyler Austin hit a go-ahead single in the ninth inning for the wild card-leading Yankees.

Texas' only hit was a run-scoring double in the fifth inning off Luis Severino, who went seven innings in his first no-decision since July 15 at Boston.

Chapman struck out two in a perfect ninth for his team-leading 17th save and first since Aug. 15. David Robertson (7-2) had a strikeout in a perfect eighth.

Chase Headley drove in two runs without a hit -- a tying sacrifice fly in the eighth and a bases-loaded walk for a 3-1 lead in the ninth (see full recap).

Perez, Anderson help Brewers pound Cubs 15-2
CHICAGO -- Hernan Perez homered and drove in five runs, and the Milwaukee Brewers pounded the Chicago Cubs 15-2 on Saturday.

Chase Anderson pitched five scoreless innings as Milwaukee pulled within three games of NL Central-leading Chicago. Anderson also helped himself with two hits and two RBIs hours after the Brewers announced Jimmy Nelson has a shoulder injury that will sideline the right-hander for the rest of the season.

Milwaukee broke it open with eight runs in the third against Mike Montgomery (5-8) and reliever Justin Grimm. Travis Shaw and Orlando Arcia each hit a two-run double, Ryan Braun scored on a balk by Grimm, and Perez had a sacrifice fly.

Kyle Schwarber's solo shot in the eighth ended Milwaukee's bid for a second straight shutout. Leonys Martin added an RBI double in the ninth, but Chicago finished with just six hits.

Anderson (9-3) retired his first 10 batters before walking Kris Bryant with one out in the fourth. Ben Zobrist singled with two down for Chicago's only hit off Anderson, but Albert Almora Jr. grounded out to end the inning (see full recap).

Hosmer fuels rally in 8th, Royals beat Twins 5-2
KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Eric Hosmer drove in the go-ahead run with his third hit in a three-run eighth inning, helping the Kansas City Royals beat the Minnesota Twins 5-2 on Saturday night.

Lorenzo Cain led off the eighth with a single against Ryan Pressly (2-3), and Melky Cabrera walked. Hosmer's single off Buddy Boshers scored pinch-runner Terrance Gore.

Salvador Perez had an RBI double and Alcides Escobar a sacrifice fly to cap the inning.

Mike Minor (6-6) got the win with 1 2/3 scoreless innings. Brandon Maurer earned his second save in three chances since the Royals acquired him in a July 24 trade with San Diego (see full recap).

Healthy Jerad Eickhoff says, 'The sky is the limit'

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Healthy Jerad Eickhoff says, 'The sky is the limit'

CLEARWATER, Fla. — Jerad Eickhoff is an important man in this Phillies season. He needs to be closer to the guy who pitched to a 3.65 ERA in 197 1/3 innings in 2016 than the one who had a 4.71 ERA in 128 innings last season.

It all starts with good health. Eickhoff, 27, missed time with an upper-back strain and a nerve issue near his right shoulder last season.

He is healthy now and has made a tweak in his mechanics to ease pressure on his shoulder. He made his spring debut with two hitless, scoreless innings in a 6-0 exhibition win over the University of Tampa on Thursday (more on the game here). Eickhoff threw 17 pitches, 14 of which were strikes. He struck out two, walked none and hit a batter. 

“No matter what game it is that you pitch in, you get that intensity, there’s a hitter in the box, you still get butterflies being back at it,” Eickhoff said. “Today was a big day, facing some competition. The live batting practice was checking off the first box. A game setting was kind of the second box, so I think the sky is the limit from here. I feel great.”

Eickhoff developed a mechanical flaw last season as his body would often fall toward first base after delivering the ball. That put pressure on his shoulder. He has tried to correct the flaw this winter by holding his glove a little higher before he releases the ball. That helps him get going toward home plate.

If healthy, Eickhoff will be in the starting rotation. (Former bench coach Larry Bowa is high on him). But he’s taking nothing for granted.

“I try to approach every spring like I’m trying to win a job,” Eickhoff said. “I have something to prove every year.”

Notes
• Andrew Knapp caught and batted leadoff. He worked a walk to lead off the game and that impressed manager Gabe Kapler. Kapler advised not to read into batting order positions this early in camp. 

“These are practice settings,” he said.

• The Phillies play their Grapefruit League opener Friday afternoon against the Blue Jays in Dunedin. Rotation candidates Nick Pivetta and Mark Leiter Jr. are expected to get some work. Non-roster invite Francisco Rodriguez, he of the 437 career saves, could also get an inning.

Future closer? Power-armed Seranthony Dominguez dazzles in opener

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Future closer? Power-armed Seranthony Dominguez dazzles in opener

CLEARWATER, Fla. — This was a nice little glimpse of the future.

Seven of the eight pitchers used by the Phillies in Thursday’s 6-0 exhibition win over the University of Tampa were prospects who likely need a little more time in the minors, but could someday be mainstays in Philadelphia.

Jerad Eickhoff started and pitched two scoreless innings. After him, prospects Jose Taveras, Tom Eshelman, Franklyn Kilome, Enyel De Los Santos, Seranthony Dominguez, Cole Irvin and Ranger Suarez kept the shutout intact. None of the Phillies’ pitchers walked a batter, though Eickhoff did hit one.

“No walks, that’s fairly unusual for spring training,” manager Gabe Kapler said. “It was like Command City. Guys were on top of it.”

Kapler singled out Dominguez, a strong-bodied, power-armed, 23-year-old right-hander who earned a spot on the 40-man roster in November. Dominguez allowed a leadoff single in the seventh then came back with three swinging strikeouts, all on high-80s sliders.

“He maintained his composure, had electric stuff and the bravado of a seasoned veteran,” Kapler said.

Dominguez, signed out of the Dominican Republic for $25,000 in 2012, touched 100 mph with his fastball as a starter in the Florida State League early last season. He ended up missing time with biceps tendinitis, but is healthy now. The Phillies have reduced his pitch mix from four to three (fastball, slider, changeup) and he will convert to the bullpen, where he profiles as a potential closer, this season. He is likely to open at Double A Reading. Don’t rule out seeing him in Philadelphia later this season if all goes well.

“As a bullpen guy, he could be a quick mover,” general manager Matt Klentak said.

“He has a top-of-the-scale fastball,” director of player development Joe Jordan said. “He has a chance to really dominate in the late innings.”