Instant Replay: Rockies 4, Phillies 3

Instant Replay: Rockies 4, Phillies 3

Updated: Saturday, 1:45 a.m.


DENVER — The Phillies lost their fourth straight game on their current road trip, and reliever Luis Garcia lost his second in as many nights Friday when he yielded a run in the eighth that gave the Colorado Rockies a 4-3 win.
Garcia began the eighth by walking pinch-hitter Pat Valaika, who took second on catcher Cameron Rupp’s passed ball. With two outs, Garcia intentionally walked left-handed hitting Charlie Blackmon to get to DJ LeMahieu, a right-handed hitter.
LeMahieu bounced a go-ahead single to right, sending the Phillies to their major-league-leading 28th one-run loss against 14 such victories.

Nolan Arenado tied the game at 3-3 when he belted his 25th home run in the seventh after the Phillies had taken their first lead of the game.

Aaron Altherr’s single gave the Phillies a short-lived 3-2 lead in the seventh. Cesar Hernandez led off with a double and took third on Freddy Galvis’ slow chopper to shortstop. With the infield drawn in, Altherr lined a one-out single off the glove of shorstop Alexi Amarista.

In the sixth, the Phillies finally broke through with two runs and tied the game at 2-2. Altherr led off with a single and scored on Nick Williams’ third straight hit, a one-out double. Maikel Franco followed with a triple.

After Vince Velasquez gave up two runs in the first on three walks and a single, the Phillies were unable to quickly retaliate in the second when they loaded the bases with no outs on singles by Williams, Franco and Odubel Herrera, the latter’s a bunt hit. But Cameron Rupp struck out, Velasquez popped out and Hernandez bounced into a force out.

Starting pitching report
Despite struggling with his control, Velasquez worked five innings. He issued a career-high six walks and hit a batter. However, he worked four scoreless innings on 60 pitches after a shaky 36-pitch first when he was nicked for two runs. Velasquez walked the bases loaded, and with two outs, Carlos Gonzalez found a hole in the Phillies’ shift and grounded a two-run single to right. It was the Rockies’ only hit in the inning and just one of three they got off Velasquez, who stranded eight runners and never retired the side in order.

Rockies starter Kyle Freeland exited the game with a left groin strain after throwing 11 pitches, 10 strikes, in one-third of an inning. He gave up a leadoff single to Hernandez and struck out Galvis as Hernandez stole second. But Freeland left with the count 0-2 on Altherr. The last pitch was a slider, and Freeland grimaced after throwing the ball.

Bullpen report
Ricardo Pinto, who was recalled Friday, began his third stint this season with the Phillies. He gave up a one-out single in the sixth to Amarista but then got Blackmon to ground into a double play. But Pinto yielded Arenado’s 25th homer with one out in the seventh, a game-tying shot that ended Pinto’s outing.

Chris Rusin relieved Freeland and pitched 3 1/3 scoreless innings, throwing a season-high 58 pitches.

At the plate
Playing his 28th game and making his 26th start, Williams had his 10th multi-hit game. 

Hernandez extended his hitting streak to nine games. He has reached base in 16 of 17 games since coming off the disabled list July 17.

Franco’s run-scoring triple to right center in the sixth was his first triple of the season. 

Altherr went 2 for 4 with one RBI and broke an 0-for-13 slide before he was taken out of the game on a double switch in the eighth. The outfielder is headed back to the disabled list with a reaggravation of his hamstring (see story).

In the field
Herrera was robbed of a hit in the eighth when leftfielder Gerardo Parra made a sprawling catch of his low liner.

Velazquez fielded pitcher Antonio Senzatela’s sacrifice attempt after Jonathan Lucroy led off the fourth with a double and threw Lucroy out at third.

Roster moves
Pinto was recalled from Triple A Lehigh Valley, taking the place of Jake Thompson, who was optioned to Lehigh Valley after Thursday night’s game in Anaheim, California. Pinto was 1-0 with a 6.28 ERA in 10 games in two previous stints with the Phillies this season.  

The Phillies recalled catcher Jorge Alfaro from Lehigh Valley as coverage for Andrew Knapp (see story). Knapp was hit on the back of his right hand with a foul ball Thursday night. X-rays were negative and Knapp is listed as day to day.

Infielder Ty Kelly was optioned to Lehigh Valley. In 48 games with the Phillies, the switch-hitting Kelly hit .183 with one homer and 10 RBIs.

Catching on
Alfaro flew from Buffalo, New York, to Denver by way of Charlotte, after being told at 2 a.m. he was recalled from Triple A Lehigh Valley. The move was made because the Phillies were uncertain about the status of Knapp. 

Alfaro, who played in six games with the Phillies last September, said, “It feels good to be back. I don’t know how long it’s going to be, but I’m just going to enjoy my time here. And when they give me the opportunity to play … keep playing hard.”

Alfaro, 24, who is out of minor-league options after this season, is hitting .241 with seven homers and 43 RBIs in 84 games with Lehigh Valley with a .649 OPS. He has 16 walks and 113 strikeouts.

“I know it’s not been that good,” Alfaro said of his season, “but it’s not that bad, because you learn a lot from when you fail a lot. And I think this year is going to help me a lot for next year.”

Familiar face
The Phillies saw reliever Pat Neshek for the first time since the July 26 trade that sent him to the Rockies for three young minor-league prospects. In 43 games with the Phillies, Neshek, whom the Phillies acquired from the Astros in the offseason, went 3-2 with a 1.12 ERA, allowing 28 hits in 40 1/3 innings with five walks and 45 strikeouts. But Neshek, who can be a free agent after this season, turns 37 next month and wasn’t part of the rebuilding Phillies’ future.

“He was really good for us, and I hated to see him go,” manager Pete Mackanin said. “He was very efficient for us and a likeable guy. It happens. We’re going through a process where we’re trying to find out about younger pitchers. So in that regard, it’s in our best interest that we would get to look at the younger guys, even though he did a great job for us. If we were clinging to hopes for a pennant, it’d be a different story. Then I would have been mad at the GM for trading him.”

Up next
Here are the probable pitching matchups for the rest of the series:

Saturday — Nick Pivetta (4-6, 5.42) vs. Jon Gray (3-2, 5.52)

Sunday — Aaron Nola (8-7, 3.16) vs. Jeff Hoffman (3-2, 5.18)

Saturday’s game starts at 8:10 p.m. Sunday’s series finale starts at 3:10 p.m. The Phillies are off Monday and conclude their eight-game road trip with games at Atlanta on Tuesday and Wednesday.

MLB Playoffs: Javier Baez snaps out of funk to help Cubs avoid sweep

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MLB Playoffs: Javier Baez snaps out of funk to help Cubs avoid sweep

CHICAGO -- Javier Baez snapped an 0-for-20 skid with two home runs, Wade Davis hung on for a six-out save and the Chicago Cubs avoided a sweep, holding off the Los Angeles Dodgers 3-2 Wednesday night in Game 4 of the NL Championship Series.

Jake Arrieta pitched three-hit ball into the seventh inning to held the defending World Series champion Cubs close their deficit to 3-1. Manager Joe Maddon got ejected for the second time in this series in the eighth, and a packed Wrigley Field crowd watched Davis get Cody Bellinger to ground into a game-ending double play.

Maddon was heavily criticized for not using Davis during a 4-1 loss in Game 2. This time, the Cubs closer threw 48 pitches to finish the job.

Willson Contreras also homered for the Cubs. Bellinger and Justin Turner connected for the Dodgers, who had won a team-record six straight playoff games.

Game 5 is Thursday, with Jose Quintana pitching for Chicago against Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw (see full recap).

Tanaka, Yankees blank Astros to take ALCS lead
NEW YORK -- Masahiro Tanaka pitched seven innings of three-hit ball and the New York Yankees finally solved Houston Astros nemesis Dallas Keuchel, beating the ace lefty 5-0 on Wednesday for a 3-2 lead in the AL Championship Series.

Gary Sanchez hit an RBI single off Keuchel and later homered to help the wild-card Yankees win for the third straight day at home and move within one victory of their first trip to the World Series since 2009.

The teams head back to Houston for Game 6 on Friday night, when Justin Verlander and the reeling Astros will try to regain their footing following an off day and force a decisive Game 7. Luis Severino is scheduled to start for New York.

Just days ago, Houston was up two games to none and appeared to be closing in on its second World Series appearance. But the Astros, like defending AL champion Cleveland before them, have been unable to put away these poised Yankees, who improved to 6-0 at home in this postseason in front of their cheering, chanting fans (see full recap).

MLB Playoffs: Yankees storm back for win over Astros to even ALCS

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MLB Playoffs: Yankees storm back for win over Astros to even ALCS

NEW YORK -- Aaron Judge ignited a rousing rally with a home run, then doubled during a four-run eighth inning to spur the New York Yankees over the Houston Astros 6-4 Tuesday night and level the AL Championship Series 2-2.

The Yankees trailed 4-0 against starter Lance McCullers Jr. until Judge homered leading off the seventh. He tied it with a line drive that nearly left the park in the eighth and scored on Gary Sanchez's go-ahead two-run double off loser Ken Giles.

The Yankees have rallied from a second straight 0-2 series deficit -- they beat Cleveland in the Division Series by winning three in a row to take that best-of-five matchup.

Aroldis Chapman struck out two in a perfect ninth, and New York improved to 5-0 at home in the playoffs.

Masahiro Tanaka pitches for New York against Dallas Keuchel in Game 5 Wednesday and rematch of the opener, won by the Astros 2-1 (see full recap).

Dodgers on brink of World Series after shutout
CHICAGO -- Yu Darvish pitched sparkling ball into the seventh inning, Chris Taylor homered again and the Los Angeles Dodgers beat the Chicago Cubs 6-1 on Tuesday night to open a commanding 3-0 lead in the NL Championship Series.

Andre Ethier also went deep and Taylor added an RBI triple in the fifth as Los Angeles set a franchise record with its sixth consecutive playoff win. Yasiel Puig had two more hits in another entertaining performance that included an impressive bat flip -- on a long foul ball in the first inning.

Looking for a four-game sweep and their 22nd NL pennant, the Dodgers will send Alex Wood to the mound Wednesday night at Wrigley Field with a chance to reach the World Series for the first time since their last championship in 1988. Jake Arrieta, eligible for free agency after the season, pitches for the Cubs in what could be his final start with the team.

Los Angeles was eliminated by Chicago in the NLCS last year, but this is a different group of Dodgers. The lineup is patient and pesky and the pitching staff is much deeper, especially since Darvish was acquired in a trade with Texas in the final minutes before the July 31 deadline (see full recap).