SEATTLE — Freddy Galvis spoke out and his teammates noticed. He wanted more fight and that's what the Phillies have shown the last two days.
Six runs in the final three innings on Tuesday night. A go-ahead two-run rally in the ninth inning on Wednesday afternoon.
Galvis' what-the-bleep-we're-better-than-this-boys! rant seemed to work. The shortstop made his hard-edged comments after a loss in Arizona on Monday and the Phillies responded with two wins in Seattle, including Wednesday afternoon when they rallied from a run down in the ninth to win, 5-4 (see Instant Replay).
"I think it's nice to have a leader like that call us out a little bit," said Andrew Knapp, one of the heroes of the ninth-inning comeback. "It's been a tough stretch, but we have a lot of good players here, and he's right — we need to start playing better and that's what we're capable of. I don't think he's asking too much. It lit a fire a little bit."
Tommy Joseph, another ninth-inning difference-maker, concurred.
"I think everybody kind of takes that personally," Joseph said. "It wasn't like an organized meeting or anything, but we all know what was said and it's a matter of taking that personal, taking it to yourself and making a difference."
Joseph made a difference Wednesday. It was his ninth-inning homer against hard-throwing Edwin Diaz — the Phils' first hit since the third inning — that tied the game at 4-4. Four batters later, Knapp singled home the go-ahead run with two outs. Hector Neris closed it out in the bottom of the inning and baseball's worst club had its first road series win since April 18-20 — and a two-game sweep.
"I'm happy about that," manager Pete Mackanin said. "It was great to come back and snatch this game."
It sure made for a more enjoyable six-hour flight to New York. That's where the Phillies will spend an off day Thursday before beginning a three-game series against the Mets on Friday night.
There were other difference-makers besides Joseph and Knapp.
Utility man Ty Kelly got the start at second base and smacked a two-run homer in the third inning. And Cameron Perkins drew a crucial, eight-pitch walk to keep the ninth inning alive for Knapp. Perkins moved to second on a balk by Diaz, setting up Knapp's go-ahead hit.
"When Cam walked, I was trying to drive something in the gap," Knapp said. "But then he got to second and it was like shorten up and get a single."
The ninth-inning comeback doesn't happen if it's not for the work of rookie right-hander Ricardo Pinto, who was recalled from Triple A on Monday. He kept the game close with three scoreless innings after starter Mark Leiter Jr. departed after five innings with the Phils down a run.
The Phils' rally in the ninth gave Pinto his first big-league win in his third appearance.
"He was the key to the game," Mackanin said.
Knapp, the catcher, agreed.
"He shut the door," Knapp said. "Coming out of the bullpen and putting on that performance was huge for us."
These last few days have been bittersweet for Pinto. His call to the majors on Monday came at the expense of Edubray Ramos, who was sent to Triple A. Pinto and Ramos are good friends from the same town — Guacara — in Venezuela. They work out together in the offseason.
"It's not a good feeling," Pinto said of replacing his friend on the roster. "I was sad. I'm hoping he will be back soon."
Pinto won the Paul Owens award as top Phillies' minor-league pitcher in 2015. He moved to the bullpen earlier this season and likes it.
"As a starter I was not as aggressive as I am now," he said. "I like this mindset."
Mackanin likes the mindset he saw from his entire team the last two days. It doesn't matter if it was spawned by Galvis' comments or came from somewhere else. He wants to see it continue in New York.
"Yeah, I did," he said when asked if he saw more fight the last two days. "I think the guys are tired of losing and we've been in so many games that it gets to be frustrating. (Hitting coach) Matt Stairs had a meeting with the hitters the other day and he basically read them the riot act and told them we need more quality at-bats. I think that affected them along with Freddy. They're coming out of it with a little more effort — well, I shouldn't say effort because they always give me effort — but there's a little more, 'Come on, let's win some games.'
"It's nice to be able to say, 'We played them tough,' and come out on top."