Phillies

Scott Kingery's 1st career walk-off heroics send Phillies to sweep

Scott Kingery's 1st career walk-off heroics send Phillies to sweep

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The Phillies completed a three-game sweep of the Cincinnati Reds with a 4-3 victory in 12 innings Wednesday night at Citizens Bank Park.

With the win, the Phils wrapped a 5-1 homestand to improve to 6-5 on the young season. 

The Phillies won the game on a sacrifice fly by Scott Kingery in the bottom of the 12th. Earlier in the game, Kingery made a terrific defensive play in left field to save a run.

Hector Neris blew a one-run lead in the bottom of the ninth inning to send the game into extra innings. Neris had previously saved 21 in a row dating to last June.

Centerfielder Odubel Herrera made a tremendous defensive play in the top of the 10th inning to rob what would have been a two-run homer by Cincinnati’s Scooter Gennett.

Gennett, Cincinnati’s second baseman, made a costly error in the 12th to set up the Phillies’ winning run.

The Phillies got strong starting pitching from Nick Pivetta and home runs from J.P. Crawford and Cesar Hernandez.

Pivetta delivered seven innings of two-run ball and did not walk a batter. He struck out seven. It was his second strong start of the homestand. He beat Miami with 5 2/3 scoreless innings earlier in the homestand. He struck out nine in that game and did not walk a batter.

Pivetta survived an early test when he pitched over a two-base error by Herrera to start the game.

On Tuesday night, the Phillies beat the Reds, 6-1. The Phils scored all of their runs in that game on two-out hits.

It was more of the same in Wednesday night’s win as Crawford and Hernandez accounted for the Phillies’ first three runs with a pair of two-out home runs. Crawford’s was a two-run shot on an 0-2 pitch against Reds starter Luis Castillo in the second inning. Hernandez added a solo blow in the fifth to break a 2-2 tie. Both home runs reached the second deck in right field. Crawford’s was the first of his big-league career. He had been 1 for 25 on the season before stroking a tie-breaking single in the seventh inning Tuesday night.

Rhys Hoskins did not start for the first time this season (see story). He entered the game as a pinch-hitter in the seventh and struck out.

One night after belting his second big-league homer, a grand slam, the rookie Kingery started in left field in place of Hoskins. It was the fourth different position that Kingery has started so far this season and he provided a defensive gem when he gunned down Jose Peraza at the plate in the sixth inning to preserve what at the time was a one-run Phillies’ lead.

Eventually, that lead disappeared and the game went to extra innings. But Kingery won it in the 12th when he lofted a sacrifice fly to right field, scoring Pedro Florimon. Florimon reached second on a two-base error and moved up on a nice bunt by Crawford.

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

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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 set to activate Tommy Hunter after sending Hoby Milner to Triple A

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USA Today Images

Phillies set to activate Tommy Hunter after sending Hoby Milner to Triple A

The Phillies sent left-handed reliever Hoby Milner to Triple A after Saturday’s 6-2 win over the Pirates. Though the team said it would not announce a corresponding roster move until Sunday, the transaction clears a spot for reliever Tommy Hunter to be activated.

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.