Ty Kelly

Ty Kelly helps Phillies win, but it's an ugly one as Jerad Eickhoff struggles

Ty Kelly helps Phillies win, but it's an ugly one as Jerad Eickhoff struggles

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SAN FRANCISCO — Pete Mackanin's body language said it all after this one.

There were reasons to feel good about the Phillies' 12-9 victory over the San Francisco Giants on Saturday night (see Instant Replay).

And there were reasons to not feel so good.

"It wasn't pretty, but a win is a win and I'll take it," the exasperated manager said. "I'm happy. I don't look happy, but I am."

Mackanin was happy because his club snapped a six-game losing streak and won for the first time in 12 games this season in the state of California.

He was happy because his team's struggling offense produced 12 runs.

But he was not happy that his club had so much trouble putting the game away. The Phils took a 12-4 lead into the bottom of the ninth inning to only see the Giants bring the tying run to the plate with two outs after Edubray Ramos was tagged for six hits and five runs.

The finish wasn't the only downer of the night. Phillies starting pitcher Jerad Eickhoff did not impress in 4 2/3 innings of work. He allowed eight hits and four runs, including an inside-the-park home run on the first pitch he threw. He walked two and hit a batter while throwing 91 pitches.

Eickhoff has made 22 starts this season and failed to pitch six innings in half of them. That is not the workhorse that the Phillies projected the 27-year-old right-hander to be this season. He has often been plagued by poor command and soaring pitch counts.

What's more, Eickhoff's velocity is down. His fastball averaged was just under 90 miles per hour in this outing.

"We talk about it during the game and wonder why," Mackanin said. "There's a couple of guys their velocity is down. I don't know if it's the cooler air or whatever, but it seems like the velocities were down all around tonight from our guys. We're going to have to look into that and see if we can increase that velocity, tell them to throw harder.

"Sometimes you get to the point where you start aiming. He might be aiming the ball a little bit. It looked like he was yanking his fastball maybe trying to guide it to the outer part of the plate instead of just letting it go."

Eickhoff, whose ERA is 4.46, acknowledged that his velocity is a tick down. He missed time earlier this season with an upper back strain but says he is healthy.

"I feel good," he said. "I don't know. It could just be August, I guess. I have no idea. But I felt good. For the most part, I was able to execute a lot of pitches. It hasn't affected anything. I wouldn't know.

"The command was kind of in and out, good to some hitters, then a couple of hitters later, it went away. So that was kind of frustrating.

"It's one of those games, one of those seasons, man. I just have to keep battling. I'm going to go out there every fifth day and try to put my best foot forward."

Run support has often been a problem in Eickhoff's starts. It was not in this game. The Phillies hit three home runs and broke open a tie ballgame with seven runs in the sixth inning. Rookie Rhys Hoskins became the first Phillie ever to hit four homers in his first 10 games when he smacked a three-run shot in the third. Ty Kelly came off the bench and highlighted the big sixth-inning rally with a pinch-hit grand slam and Cameron Rupp poked a solo shot in the ninth.

"Obviously, Ty Kelly with the slam really opened the gates," Mackanin said. "Rupp added on and thankfully he did. I didn't think we'd need it, but we did and I'm happy we had it."

Seven of the Phillies' runs were driven in by reserve players. Cameron Perkins got the start in right field and drove in two runs, including the tiebreaker in the sixth. Pedro Florimon came off the bench and drove in an important run in the sixth, and Kelly added the pinch-hit grand slam over the high wall in right to punctuate the inning.

Kelly has made the most of his infrequent playing time. He has 14 hits and 14 RBIs.

"You just have to take whatever opportunities are given and I've been fortunate to get some big opportunities," he said. "A pinch-hit with three guys on base. You can't ask for much more than that."

Instant Replay: Phillies 12, Giants 9

Instant Replay: Phillies 12, Giants 9

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SAN FRANCISCO — The Phillies broke an 11-game losing streak in the state of California with a 12-9 win over the San Francisco Giants on Saturday night.
 
The Phils broke a 4-4 tie with seven runs in the sixth.

The game got hairy in the ninth as the Giants scored five times to cut a 12-4 Phillies' lead to three runs. The Giants brought the tying run to the plate before Hector Neris got the final out.
 
The Phils' offense was keyed by several reserve players. Cameron Perkins got the start in right field and drove in two runs, including the tiebreaker in the sixth. Pedro Florimon came off the bench and drove in an important run in the sixth, and Ty Kelly added a pinch-hit grand slam to highlight the inning.
 
Rookie Rhys Hoskins belted his fourth home run of the trip. He is the first Phillie to hit four homers in his first 10 big-league games and the second in the majors this season, joining Los Angeles Dodgers rookie Cody Bellinger who hit his first two homers in an April 29 game against the Phillies.
 
The win snapped a six-game losing streak for the Phillies, who are 20-46 on the road and 1-11 in the state of California this season.
 
Starting pitching report
Jerad Eickhoff allowed eight hits and four runs over 4 2/3 innings. Eickhoff has had trouble going deep into games. He has made 22 starts and failed to go six innings in 11 of them.
 
Giants starter Ty Blach gave up eight hits and six runs in 5 1/3 innings.
 
Bullpen report
The bullpen was good until Edubray Ramos got hit around in the ninth. Adam Morgan got a big out in the bottom of the fifth to keep the game tied and picked up the win thanks to the Phils' rally in the sixth. Hoby Milner, Jesen Therrien and Luis Garcia pitched scoreless ball. Neris had to come on and get the last out, but not before walking a batter.

Giants lefty Josh Osich was charged with four runs in the sixth.
 
At the plate
The Phils trailed, 3-1 when Hoskins put them up by a run with a three-run homer in the third.
 
The seldom-used Kelly has 14 hits and 14 RBIs.
 
Freddy Galvis had three hits.
 
Cameron Rupp smacked his 12th homer of the season.
 
Denard Span hit Eickhoff's first pitch of the game for an inside-the-park homer. The ball took an odd carom off the wall and rightfielder Perkins actually kicked it as he ran it down. Without the kick, it probably would have been a triple. The official scorer ruled it a home run and not a triple and an error because the odd carom eluded Perkins and made it a difficult.

Buster Posey has hit in 21 straight games against the Phils, dating to 2014.
 
Lineup stuff
Jorge Alfaro started at first base in place of slumping Tommy Joseph (see story).
 
Health check
Right-hander Zach Eflin's status for his next start remains up in the air. He left his start Friday night with tightness and discomfort in his right shoulder. Head athletic trainer Scott Sheridan "doesn't think there's a whole lot there," manager Pete Mackanin said. "But we're not sure. It doesn't seem to be anything to be overly concerned about, but anytime a guy says his shoulder is barking you have to be careful."
 
Up next
The Phillies close out their West Coast trip Sunday afternoon. Ben Lively (1-4, 3.80) will be added to the roster and make the start against Giants ace Madison Bumgarner (3-5, 2.99).

Ty Kelly lines walk-off single in 11th inning to hand Phillies 4-3 comeback win

Ty Kelly lines walk-off single in 11th inning to hand Phillies 4-3 comeback win

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If nothing else, the Phillies’ 4-3 victory over Atlanta on Saturday night showed why you keep a guy like Ty Kelly around.

And, perhaps, why you keep a guy like Odubel Herrera around.

Kelly, a veteran utilityman, won the game with an RBI single in the 11th (see Instant Replay), but Herrera, benched earlier in the week by manager Pete Mackanin for not running out a called third strike, flashed the kind of ability that makes him such an intriguing player, despite his periodic lapses.

He tied the game with a ninth-inning solo homer off Braves closer Jim Johnson, drove in another run with a single, went 3-for-4 and reached base four times.

So while there might still be fans clamoring for him to be elsewhere when Monday’s trade deadline rolls around, the Phillies would have to think long and hard before parting with a 25-year-old who exudes such potential.

“Hopefully,” he said through an interpreter, “I’ve learned my lesson and it won’t happen again. I don’t want to be benched. I’m just expecting good things to happen.”

The counterargument to this week’s shenanigans is an extended stretch of good play on his part. He is hitting .337 since June 1, and Saturday’s homer – on a first-pitch fastball from Johnson – was the first of his career that tied a game in the ninth inning or later.

“It’s definitely been going well,” he said. “It’s better than before. I think it’s all due to timing. When I get to manage my timing, things start clicking for me.”

Kelly’s timing has been no less masterful. His game-winning hit, one of just 13 he has in 71 at-bats this season (.183), was his fifth of the go-ahead variety, and his first walkoff.

“We went to the Ty-breaker,” manager Pete Mackanin said to the expected groans from the media corps.

Pause.

“I had to use that,” he said.

Kelly -- a 29-year-old playing for the sixth organization of his career, and his third this season – is only too happy, meanwhile, to be used.

“I’ve gotten some big opportunities off the bench,” he said. “It’s always nice when you can capitalize on those opportunities.”

He entered the game in the 10th at third base, as part of a double-switch. One inning later, he came to the plate after the Phillies loaded the bases with two outs against reliever Rex Brothers, courtesy of singles by Tommy Joseph and Herrera, as well as a walk to Cameron Rupp.

Kelly’s approach?

“Win the game,” he said. “Just try to do that as much as I can.”

Sound thinking.

For a moment he considered bunting, as Braves third baseman Freddie Freeman was back, but then thought better of it. And when Brothers came at him with an 0-1 fastball, Kelly squared it up and lined it into left-center.

Kelly said he has grown used to sporadic playing time, that he always manages to stay ready.

“It’s an art, for sure,” he said. “It’s something that takes practice.”

In the middle innings, he said, the bench guys head to the indoor cage under the stands and hit off the tee, or hit flips. Anything to get their strokes together. Anything to make the most of the one at-bat they might get over the course of several days.

“That’s the biggest thing – not feeling like you can’t move comfortably,” he said. “Just being comfortable, and treating it like every other at-bat.”

A 13th-round draft pick of the Orioles in 2009, he also spent time in the Seattle, St. Louis and Toronto systems before reaching the majors with the Mets last season. He was on their opening day roster this season as well, but appeared in just one game before he was designated for assignment.

Toronto again scooped him up, but the Phillies acquired him via trade in late April.

“I’ve gotten used to it,” he said of his frequent moves. “It’s been nice to stay on one team for a while here. It’s one of those things in baseball: Guys get moved a lot.”

The idea, then, is to make the most of your chances, wherever you are. Kelly knows that. The Phillies can only hope that Herrera is beginning to understand that as well.