Phillies

Instant Replay: Astros 5, Phillies 0

Instant Replay: Astros 5, Phillies 0

BOX SCORE

Derek Fisher, almost a Phillie two winters ago, was a standout at the plate and in the field on Tuesday night. He helped the Houston Astros beat the Phillies, 5-0, at Citizens Bank Park. The Astros have beaten the Phillies two straight nights.

Recalled from Triple A Fresno earlier in the day, Fisher made two nice catches in center field and added a two-run single.

Fisher is a native of Lebanon, Pennsylvania, a 90-minute drive from Philadelphia. If his name sounds familiar, it's because he was initially part of the trade that brought Vince Velasquez and others to the Phillies for Ken Giles in December 2015. Eventually, Fisher was taken out of the deal and replaced by Mark Appel when the Phillies sought more pitching. Fisher recently reflected on the experience (see story).

The victory improved the Astros to 67-33, second best in the majors, while the Phillies tumbled to 34-64, worst in the majors.

Phillies centerfielder Odubel Herrera had in interesting game. He flipped the bat and did not run hard out of the box on a ball that Fisher caught at the wall in the first inning. He struck out in his next two at-bats, including in the sixth inning when he did not run out a dropped third strike. Herrera was double-switched out of the game the next inning and replaced in center field by Cameron Perkins. It was not immediately clear whether that was a punitive move by manager Pete Mackanin (turned out it was — more on that here).

Starting pitching report
Rookie right-hander Nick Pivetta gave up six hits and five runs over six innings. He walked one and struck out seven.

Five of the hits and four of the runs that Pivetta allowed came in the sixth inning as the Astros turned a 1-0 lead into a 5-0 lead.

Pivetta is 3-6 with a 5.73 ERA in 14 starts with the big club.

Charlie Morton, who pitched four games with the Phillies before blowing out his hamstring in April 2016 and signing in the offseason with the Astros, pitched seven shutout innings. He allowed three hits, a walk and struck out nine.

Bullpen report
Luis Garcia pitched two scoreless innings for the Phillies. He has pitched 19 1/3 straight scoreless innings.

Giles pithed a scoreless ninth for the Astros. He struck out two. 

At the plate
The Phillies had just four hits. They were 0 for 10 with runners in scoring position.

Maikel Franco is slumping. He was 0 for 4 with three strikeouts. He is 0 for his last 16 and and 1 for his last 19. 

Josh Reddick, Marwin Gonzalez and Fisher all drove in runs with hits in the Astros' four-run sixth. Fisher had a two-run single with two outs.

Health check
Outfielder Aaron Altherr, out with a hamstring strain, is expected to be activated from the disabled list on Friday.

The Astros were without two AL MVP candidates. Shortstop Carlos Correa is on the disabled list with a ligament tear in his thumb. Centerfielder George Springer was held out with a sore quad muscle.

Transaction
In need of a fresh arm for the bullpen, the Phillies sent Ricardo Pinto to Triple A and brought up Jake Thompson (see story).

Up next
The series concludes on Wednesday night. Aaron Nola (7-6, 3.38) pitches for the Phillies against Houston's Mike Fiers (7-4, 3.59).

Former Phillies 1st-rounder Jesse Biddle earns win in MLB debut

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AP Images

Former Phillies 1st-rounder Jesse Biddle earns win in MLB debut

Former Phillies first-round pick Jesse Biddle had a memorable major-league debut Saturday night for a division rival. 

Biddle, the 27th overall pick by the Phillies in 2010 out of Germantown Friends High School, pitched a scoreless ninth inning of relief for the Braves, earning the victory after Atlanta came back in the bottom half against Mets closer Jeurys Familia.

Minutes earlier, Biddle had to bear down with two outs and a man on third base and his team trailing by a run. Yoenis Cespedes launched a moonshot homer to left field that was originally ruled a home run before being overturned to a foul ball. On the next pitch, Biddle got Cespedes to tap out to short to end the inning.  

Good for the now 26-year-old Biddle, who battled injuries during a rough minor-league career with the Phils. After undergoing Tommy John surgery in October 2015, Biddle was traded to the Pirates and then claimed by the Braves in the spring of 2017.

The Phillies have no major-leaguers left from that 2010 draft class, which also produced Cameron Rupp, David Buchanan and Mario Hollands. 

Phillies activate Tommy Hunter after sending Hoby Milner to Triple A

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USA Today Images

Phillies activate Tommy Hunter after sending Hoby Milner to Triple A

Update 10:23 a.m.

The Phillies sent left-handed reliever Hoby Milner to Triple A after Saturday’s 6-2 win over the Pirates. The team announced Sunday that reliever Tommy Hunter has been activated from the 10-day disabled list.

Hunter, 31, signed a two-year, $18-million contract with the Phillies in December, but was forced to begin the season on the disabled list after suffering a hamstring strain late in spring training. The right-hander has pitched twice at Double A Reading in recent days in preparation for his return.

Milner’s departure leaves the Phillies with just one lefty — Adam Morgan — in their bullpen. However, as manager Gabe Kapler mentioned several days ago, Hunter’s cutter can be effective against lefty hitters.

Hunter pitched in 61 games for Tampa Bay last season and held lefty hitters to a .170 (15 for 88) batting average and a .501 OPS. Righties hit .224 (28 for 125) with a .649 OPS.

Milner pitched 4 2/3 innings over 10 appearances. He allowed six hits and four runs. He walked three, hit a batter and struck out four.