Phillies

Galvis flashes versatility in Phillies' victory

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Galvis flashes versatility in Phillies' victory

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Interim manager Ryne Sandberg has made it clear that he intends on giving the Phillies’ up-and-comers a chance to show what they can do.

Lately, Sandberg has been rewarded for his faith in the kids.

In the 4-2 victory over the San Diego Padres on Wednesday night, it was Freddy Galvis’ turn to deliver for Sandberg and the Phillies as they won their fourth game out of the last five (see Instant Replay).

Galvis went 3 for 3 with a solo homer, a double and he scored a pair of runs. Playing second base in order to give Chase Utley the night off against left-handed pitcher Eric Stults, Galvis also added a pair of RBIs. One came on home run in the fifth to get the Phillies on the board and the other RBI came on a safety squeeze in the eighth to give an insurance run to starter Cliff Lee and closer Jonathan Papelbon.

That’s versatility. Actually, the approach at the plate when Sandberg put on the squeeze play required much more focus than the swing Galvis put on his homer.

“Yeah, I think it’s a little tough sometimes,” Galvis said. “You try to think too much when you have something like that. You try to put the ball in play. I got a good pitch right in the middle and thank God it worked out.”

Though the numbers don’t pop off the stat page, Galvis has worked out in a lot of different ways for the Phillies this season. Signed and developed as a shortstop out of Venezuela, Galvis has played second and third base and left field for the Phillies. And after playing 580 of his 586 minor-league games as a shortstop, Galvis was the 2012 Opening Day second baseman with just 16 of his 112 big-league games at his natural position.

Perhaps if Galvis is going to make it in the big leagues, it’s going to be as a do-it-all utility type of player. It helps that Galvis is a switch-hitter at the plate, too.

“That’s his game -- situational guy,” Sandberg said. “He handles the bat. Good hit-and-run guy. A safety squeeze right there. He battled the pitcher good on outside soft stuff. He’s a thinking guy at home plate. He’s thinking with the pitcher. He got an inside fastball and turned on that with the short stroke for the home run. Those are the type of things Freddy can do.”

Galvis’ homer tied the game at 1-1 in the fifth. He also led off the seventh with a double down the left-field line and came around to score the go-ahead run after the Phillies manufactured some offense.

With no outs and two on in the seventh, Sandberg kept Lee in to drop a sacrifice bunt in a situation that typically calls for a pinch hitter. But with the Phils’ lefty cruising with a four-hitter through seven innings with eight strikeouts and 89 pitches, Sandberg wanted to get at least one more inning from Lee.

The successful bunt made it look like a smart move.

“I was glad Ryno let me stay in there to do that,” said Lee, who improved to 13-6 after going eight innings for the fourth time in the last six starts. “That was big. A lot of times you get pinch-hit for right there. I was glad he had enough faith in me to get the bunt down and execute, then go back out there in the eighth to put a zero up. That was good. I enjoyed that.”

Lee’s bunt set the table for Cesar Hernandez to ward off a fourth straight strikeout and drive home the go-ahead run with a soft ground out. An inning later, after Carlos Ruiz led off the eighth with a single and Darin Ruf walked before a ground out put runners at the corners, Galvis dropped the safety squeeze for the important insurance run.

A homer from the right side of the plate and a squeeze bunt from the left -- yes, that’s versatility.

“He was an excellent bunter in both directions,” Sandberg said. “He handled the bat from both sides. That's his game.”

The Phillies will try to take the series from the Padres on Thursday night when Roy Halladay (3-4, 7.19) pitches against right-hander Tyler Ross (3-7, 2.79).

MLB Playoffs: Verlander, Astros beat Yankees to force Game 7 in ALCS

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MLB Playoffs: Verlander, Astros beat Yankees to force Game 7 in ALCS

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HOUSTON — Justin Verlander remained perfect with Houston, pitching seven shutout innings when the team needed him most, and Jose Altuve homered and drove in three runs as the Astros extended the AL Championship Series to a decisive Game 7 with a 7-1 win over the New York Yankees on Friday night.

Acquired in an Aug. 31 trade, Verlander has won all nine outings with the Astros. And with his new club facing elimination in Game 6 against the Yankees, he delivered again.

After striking out 13 in a complete-game victory in Game 2, Verlander threw another gem. The right-hander scattered five hits and struck out eight to improve to 9-0 with 67 strikeouts since being traded from Detroit. George Springer helped him out of a jam in the seventh, leaping to make a catch at the center-field wall and rob Todd Frazier of extra bases with two on and Houston up 3-0.

Game 7 is Saturday night in Houston, with the winner advancing to the World Series against the NL champion Los Angeles Dodgers.

Dusty Baker fired by Nationals after 2 NL East titles

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Dusty Baker fired by Nationals after 2 NL East titles

WASHINGTON -- Dusty Baker's time as the manager of the Washington Nationals is over after two seasons, two NL East titles and zero playoff series victories.

The Nationals announced Friday that they would not be bringing Baker back. His two-year deal with the club is expiring.

The contracts for the members of Baker's coaching staff also are finished. The team said it will work with its new manager to fill those positions.

The moves come the week after Washington was eliminated from its NL Division Series against the Chicago Cubs with a 9-8 loss at home in Game 5. The Nationals also were bounced from the postseason in the NLDS round in 2016 -- also with a Game 5 loss at home by one run, that time against the Los Angeles Dodgers.

This outcome, essentially, is what Baker was worried about as far back as spring training in February, when he made clear his desire for a new contract, knowing his was up after 2017.

Before the series against the Cubs began, Baker was asked about his possible future in Washington.

"I've given some thought to some things, but we were told that we were waiting until after the season to make a determination," he said at the time. "There's a good chance I'll be back."

He expected negotiations to pick up after the season ended (see full story).

Turner, Taylor repay Dodgers' patience by sharing NLCS MVP
CHICAGO -- Justin Turner and Chris Taylor shared MVP honors in the NL Championship Series, repaying a Dodgers organization willing to roll the dice on players whose big league careers were stalled.

In Turner's case, it was then-bench coach Tim Wallach who rediscovered him playing in a Cal State-Fullerton alumni baseball game four years ago, after his career appeared all but over.

In Taylor's case, it was Los Angeles' willingness to gamble that an offseason of grueling workouts would enable the young utilityman to rebuild his swing in a matter of months.

The co-MVPs turned up in the interview room together after the Dodgers eliminated the reigning World Series champion Chicago Cubs 11-1 in Game 5. They were champagne-soaked with hats turned backward, a pair of goggles still perched on Turner's head. Fittingly, they doused each other with praise.

"He's a dynamic player and a table setter," said Turner, who hit .333 for the series, with two home runs and seven RBIs. "When he goes, we usually go as a team."

"I talk to him as much as I can. He's one of the reasons I decided to make the changes I did," said Taylor, who finished at .316 with two homers and three RBIs. Both men also walked five times, as many as the entire Cubs roster (see full story).

Rare Jackie Robinson rookie jersey up for auction
NEW YORK -- A rare jersey from Jackie Robinson's historic rookie season with the Brooklyn Dodgers 70 years ago could be available for someone with a few spare millions.

The jersey, part of a Heroes of Sports offering by Heritage Auctions, has been certified by Mears, one of the top memorabilia authentication companies. It is accompanied by a letter from Robinson's widow, Rachel, saying it is the one brought home by the Hall of Famer at the end of the 1947 season, when he became the first black player in the majors and earned Rookie of the Year honors.

"This is the only one known from the `47 season, the only one that survived," Chris Ivy, Heritage's director of sports auctions, told The Associated Press in a phone interview. "It stayed in his closet for five decades plus until it was eventually sold to a private collector in the early 2000s."

The online auction opened Friday and closes at 11 p.m. on Nov. 19. The entire collection is from one owner and can be viewed on Heritage's website. Other items available for bidding include Babe Ruth's pants from the Hall of Fame induction in 1939, Keith Hernandez's 1978 Gold Glove award, a Wilt Chamberlain jersey from 1966, Bill Vukovich's Indianapolis 500 trophy from 1953 and Muhammad Ali's shoes from his fight against Ken Norton in 1973.

Ivy said the Robinson jersey has been valued at more than $3 million. He wouldn't be surprised to see it exceed that.

"It's tough to estimate a piece like this -- it's a one of a kind," he said. "As far as collectibles a rookie (jersey) is always sought after, something that's significant."