Maikel Franco

Rhys Hoskins gets that 5th at-bat, becomes Phillies' hero

Rhys Hoskins gets that 5th at-bat, becomes Phillies' hero

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ATLANTA — Rhys Hoskins flung his bat to the ground in a rare show of frustration and disgust after striking out in the eighth inning. An hour later, he had a smile on his face and beams of colored light bouncing off his face.

Ah, the redemptive ways of baseball.

Hoskins struck out three times and grounded into one of four Phillies’ double plays in his first four at-bats Tuesday night. But when the 10th inning rolled around, Hoskins got another chance to do some damage and he did plenty. He stroked a tie-breaking, two-run double to right field with two outs to start a four-run rally and help lift the Phillies to a 5-1 win over the Atlanta Braves at SunTrust Park (see first take).

“I think I learned from an early age that you have to want that fifth at-bat,” Hoskins said amid the bouncing lights and blaring music that fill the Phillies’ clubhouse (home and away) after wins. “Somehow the baseball gods always seem to put that guy into a situation to try to win the game. It happened today. That’s what we dream of as hitters, to be in that situation in extra innings.”

Hoskins hit a 2-2 pitch, a 95-mph fastball from right-hander Jose Ramirez, to score Scott Kingery and Cesar Hernandez, who both shined in setting the table. 

“Rhys’ first couple of at-bats weren’t his best of the season,” manager Gabe Kapler said. “So to see him dig in and get a knock against a guy with some velocity was pretty awesome. The entire dugout erupted on his behalf. Pretty awesome.

“He’s a strong-minded individual. There are so many guys who fold in that situation. The night starts off bad, they’re 0 for 3, they’ve punched out several times and, boom, they’re licked mentally. He just has a different level of grind. He’s just very strong mentally.”

Nick Pivetta pitched five innings of one-run ball and the bullpen delivered five scoreless. Odubel Herrera drove in a run and made a nice catch at the wall.

Kingery, who came off the bench in the seventh, drew a walk to open the 10th. With Hernandez at the plate, Kapler gave Kingery the green light and the rookie swiped second on the second pitch that Ramirez threw to Hernandez. It was a gutsy call and a gutsy play by Kingery but the Phillies had good intel on Ramirez’s move and time to the plate. Kingery slid hard and held the base with a fingertip.

“You’ve got to get a runner in scoring position somehow,” he said. “We had good information, so I felt confident.”

Kingery moved to third on a nice base-hit bunt by Hernandez, who then stole second. After struggling Carlos Santana (he’s hitting .136) struck out and Herrera popped out, Hoskins came up with two outs.

“He had a little bit of a rough day and you knew he wanted to come up big,” Kingery said. “I had a feeling he was going to get the job done there. That was just a good at-bat by a good player. It was just another example of this team getting big hits in big situations and kind of fighting until the end.”

The Phils are 10-6. They have won nine of their last 11.

Phillies come alive in 10th inning for win over Braves

Phillies come alive in 10th inning for win over Braves

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ATLANTA — Rhys Hoskins clubbed a two-run double in the top of the 10th inning to help propel the Phillies to a 5-1 win over the Atlanta Braves on Tuesday night.

Hoskins’ two-out hit, a slicing liner to right against Atlanta reliever Jose Ramirez, came with two outs. Hoskins had previously been 0 for 4 in the game. He had struck out three times and grounded into one of four Phillies’ double plays.

Maikel Franco added a two-run double later in the inning to pad the Phillies’ lead.

The Phillies’ bullpen delivered five scoreless innings. Hector Neris, who struck out dangerous Freddie Freeman with a man on base to end the ninth, got the win and Drew Hutchison finished it off. Manager Gabe Kapler used his entire bench and had to use Ben Lively as a pinch hitter in the 10th inning. He struck out for the third out.

Scott Kingery started the Phillies’ rally in the 10th with a four-pitch walk and a stolen base. Cesar Hernandez then reached on a bunt hit. He stole second. They both scored on Hoskins’ double, which came on a 2-2 pitch.

The Phillies were 2 for 11 with runners in scoring position before Hoskins’ hit.

The win improved the Phillies’ record to 10-6. Atlanta is 9-7.

Phillies starter Nick Pivetta went five innings and gave up just one run. He hit one batter, walked none and struck out two. The only run Pivetta allowed came in the first after J.P. Crawford could not turn a double play that would have ended the inning.

Pivetta has allowed just three runs and walked none over 17 2/3 innings in his last three starts. 

Atlanta starter Mike Foltynewicz allowed eight base runners in six innings (four hits and four walks), but managed to hold the Phillies to just a run. He rolled three of the Phillies’ four double plays.

One night after committing a couple of mental mistakes in a 2-1 loss to the Braves, Odubel Herrera drove in the Phillies’ first run with a base hit in the third and made a couple of nice catches in center field. He went right up against the wall to take extra bases away from  Freeman to end the fifth behind Pivetta.

Carlos Santana had a tough night. He walked twice then grounded into a double play and struck out twice to fall to .136 on the season. Phillies hitters struck out 13 times. They also drew 10 walks.

Notes
• Tommy Hunter pitched 1 1/3 innings on minor-league rehab for Clearwater on Tuesday night. He allowed a hit. Before the game, Kapler said Hunter would probably make at least one more rehab outing before being activated.

“We want him to be strong and stretched out and ready to kick ass,” Kapler said.

Phillies' bats explode in Tampa for 5th straight win

Phillies' bats explode in Tampa for 5th straight win

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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — The Phillies’ winning streak stands at five and they are poised for a second straight series sweep.

The Phils, on the strength of a six-run second inning, rolled over the Tampa Bay Rays, 9-4, at Tropicana Field on Saturday night.

Jake Arrieta was the beneficiary of all that run support and earned his first win with the Phillies. He pitched 6 2/3 innings and gave up seven hits and three runs in his second start with his new club. One of the runs was unearned. The right-hander walked two, struck out one and finished with 88 pitches. Arrieta was particularly economical in the first two innings, throwing just eight pitches in each.

Phillies starting pitchers have recorded a stingy 2.69 ERA over the last 10 games.

Meanwhile, Tampa Bay ace Chris Archer was anything but economical early in the game. He needed 55 pitches to get through the first two innings. Archer was ambushed for six runs in the inning and eight in all during four innings of work. He is 0-2 with a 7.84 ERA after four starts this season.

J.P. Crawford was particularly tough on Archer. Hitting in the No. 9 spot, Crawford stroked an RBI double in the second inning and a leadoff homer in the fourth against Archer. The double came on a 2-2 slider; the homer on a 1-2 slider. Archer, obviously, thought he could put away Crawford with that pitch but the rookie shortstop thwarted that idea.

The Phils sent 10 men to the plate in the second inning. Crawford, Nick Williams and Scott Kingery all had doubles in the inning. Crawford’s and Kingery’s drove in runs. Cesar Hernandez, Carlos Santana and Odubel Herrera all drove in runs with singles in the inning. Kingery added a second RBI double in the fifth inning.

The Phillies are 8-5. They have won seven of their last eight games against Miami, Cincinnati and Tampa Bay, three of the worst teams in baseball. Those three clubs entered play Saturday with a combined eight wins and rank in the bottom six in the majors in OPS.

But the Phillies are doing what you're supposed to do to bad teams — beat them.

Some notes:

• Right-handed reliever Victor Arano struck out three of the four batters he faced. He has retired all 16 batters he has faced this season, half on strikeouts.

• Catcher Andrew Knapp, out of the lineup since Tuesday because of a stomach bug, is expected to start Sunday’s series finale. Ben Lively will start for the Phillies.

• Reliever Tommy Hunter, on the disabled list with a hamstring strain, pitched an inning in an extended spring training game Saturday morning in Clearwater. He believes he is ready to go. The team is expected to err on the side of caution and give him one more tune-up before activating him next week.

• Jerad Eickhoff, on the DL with a lat strain, threw lightly off a bullpen mound. He said he feels much better. He needs a full build-up and won’t ready until sometime in May.