Instant Replay: Phillies 6, Astros 5


Instant Replay: Phillies 6, Astros 5


Ryan Howard’s grand slam with two outs in the bottom of the eighth inning lifted the Phillies to a 6-5 win over the Houston Astros at Citizens Bank Park on Thursday night.

The Phillies entered the frame trailing, 5-1. Carlos Ruiz doubled and scored on a hit by Cody Asche to make it a three-run game. Howard brought the Phillies all the way back with his 18th homer and 13th career grand slam, a Phillies’ record.

Howard circled the bases to a standing ovation and was lured from the dugout for a curtain call. Howard's four RBIs gave him 71 on the season, third-most in the NL.

The Phillies swept the three-game interleague series from Houston.

Starting pitching report
Emergency starter Sean O’Sullivan gave up five runs (all on home runs) over six innings. Two of the home runs came in the first inning, the other in the third. He did not allow a run in his final three innings.

O’Sullivan was summoned to Philadelphia from Triple A Lehigh Valley after scheduled starter Roberto Hernandez was traded to the Dodgers earlier in the day.

O’Sullivan has made two starts for the Phillies this season and given up nine runs in 11 2/3 innings.

Houston right-hander Collin McHugh pitched seven innings of one-run ball. He walked none and struck out eight. He left with a 5-1 lead.

Bullpen report
Mario Hollands pitched two scoreless innings to keep the Phillies close and Jonathan Papelbon notched his 27th save.

Houston reliever Josh Fields was charged with three runs in the eighth. Lefty Tony Sipp, who allowed Howard’s slam, was charged with two.

At the plate
Howard had a good at-bat against the lefty Sipp. He fouled off three pitches and hit a full-count fastball over the wall just to the left of center field.

Howard was 5 for 14 with two home runs in the three-game series.

Chris Carter hit a pair of two-run homers off O’Sullivan. Marc Krauss hit the Astros’ other homer.

Trade talk
The Phillies will get two low-level minor leaguers for Hernandez (see story).

Health check
Cliff Lee will not have surgery on his injured left elbow (see story).

Up next
The Phillies host the New York Mets in the first game of a four-game series on Friday night. Pitching matchups:

Friday night -- RH A.J. Burnett (6-11, 4.16) vs. RH Bartolo Colon (10-9, 4.12)

Saturday night -- LH Cole Hamels (6-6, 2.42) vs. RH Dillon Gee (4-4, 3.73)

Sunday afternoon -- RH Kyle Kendrick (5-11, 4.74) vs. RH Zack Wheeler (7-8, 3.48)

Monday afternoon -- RH David Buchanan (6-5, 4.39) vs. LH Jonathon Niese (5-8, 3.51)

Gabe Kapler names Jim Gott Phillies' bullpen coach

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Gabe Kapler names Jim Gott Phillies' bullpen coach

Gabe Kapler on Friday added to his coaching staff by naming Jim Gott the Phillies' bullpen coach.

Gott was the minor-league pitching coordinator for the Angels the last five seasons and the pitching coach for the Arizona League Angels the three years prior to that role.

He played for the Blue Jays, Giants, Pirates and Dodgers over 14 major-league seasons as a starter and reliever. Gott, now 58 years old, compiled a 3.87 ERA while making 96 starts and converting 91 saves.

Kapler and the Phillies still need to name a pitching coach and first-base coach. Last week, they named Dusty Wathan third-base coach and hired John Mallee as hitting coach, while retaining Rick Kranitz, who was the assistant pitching coach last season (see story). He could fill the main pitching coach vacancy, although his role is currently to be determined.

In 2017, Bob McClure served the Phillies as pitching coach and Mickey Morandini was first-base coach.

MLB Notes: Astros' Jose Altuve, Marlins' Giancarlo Stanton claim MVP awards

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MLB Notes: Astros' Jose Altuve, Marlins' Giancarlo Stanton claim MVP awards

Houston Astros dynamo Jose Altuve has won the American League MVP award, towering over New York Yankees slugger Aaron Judge by a wide margin.

The 5-foot-6 Altuve drew 27 of the 30 first-place votes in balloting by members of the Baseball Writers' Association of America.

Altuve batted a major league-best .346. He hit 24 home runs with 81 RBIs, scored 112 times, stole 32 bases and showed a sharp glove at second base.

The 6-foot-7 Judge won the AL Rookie of the Year award Monday. He set a rookie record with 52 home runs.

Jose Ramirez of the Cleveland Indians finished third. The award was announced Thursday.

Altuve helped lead the Astros to their first World Series championship. Voting for these honors was completed before the postseason began.

Miami Marlins slugger Giancarlo Stanton won the NL MVP award, barely edging Joey Votto of the Cincinnati Reds.

In the closest MVP vote since 1979, Stanton became only the sixth player to win from a losing team. Stanton led the big leagues with 59 home runs and 132 RBIs (see full story).

MLB: Manfred says pace changes will happen with or without union
Major League Baseball will change rules to speed games next year with or without an agreement with the players' association.

Management proposed last offseason to institute a 20-second pitch clock, allow one trip to the mound by a catcher per pitcher each inning and raise the bottom of the strike zone from just beneath the kneecap to its pre-1996 level at the top of the kneecap. The union didn't agree, and clubs have the right to impose those changes unilaterally for 2018.

Players and MLB have held initial bargaining since summer, and MLB chief legal officer Dan Halem said this week he would like an agreement by mid-January.

"My preferred path is a negotiated agreement with the players, but if we can't get an agreement we are going to have rule changes in 2018 one way or the other," baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred said Thursday after a quarterly owners' meeting.

Nine-inning games averaged a record 3 hours, 5 minutes during the regular season and 3:29 during the postseason.

There are ongoing talks for a new posting system with Japan to replace the deal that expired Nov. 1, one that would allow star Japanese pitcher/outfielder Shohei Otani to leave the Pacific League's Nippon Ham Fighters to sign with a big league team (see full story).

Mariners: Team makes trade, raises available money for Japan's Otani​
The Seattle Mariners have gained more flexibility if they want to try to sign star Japanese pitcher/outfielder Shohei Otani.

They acquired an additional $500,000 for their international signing bonus pool from the Chicago White Sox in a trade for Brazilian right-hander Thyago Vieira.

Otani, a 23-year-old right-hander, would be limited to a minor league contract with a signing bonus under Major League Baseball's new collective bargaining agreement. The trade announced Thursday increases the Mariners' available money for a signing bonus to $1,557,500. Seattle has spent $3,942,500 on bonuses in the signing year that started July 2 from a pool that rose to $5.5 million with the trade.

The 24-year-old Vieira made his major league debut with a scoreless inning against Baltimore on Aug. 14, his only big league appearance. He was 2-3 with two saves and a 3.72 ERA in 29 games this year for Double-A Arkansas and 0-1 with two saves and a 4.58 ERA in 12 games for Triple-A Tacoma.

Chicago is restricted to a maximum $300,000 signing bonus because it exceeded its pool in a previous year under the old labor contract.