Phillies

Best of MLB: Indians set franchise record with 15th straight win

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Best of MLB: Indians set franchise record with 15th straight win

CHICAGO -- The Cleveland Indians set a franchise record with their 15th consecutive win Thursday night, beating the Chicago White Sox 11-2 behind another terrific outing for Corey Kluber.

Cleveland also belted five homers while becoming the first major league team with a 15-game winning streak since Oakland won 20 in a row in 2002. Edwin Encarnacion hit a three-run drive in the first and Francisco Lindor connected in the second to help the Indians get off to a fast start.

Kluber (15-4) struck out 13 in seven innings. Yolmer Sanchez and Jose Abreu homered in the first for Chicago, but Kluber allowed only one more hit for the rest of his outing (see full recap).

Yankees crush 4 homers to beat Orioles
BALTIMORE -- Aaron Judge and Chase Headley hit two-run homers, Starlin Castro and Todd Frazier added solo shots and the New York Yankees beat the Baltimore Orioles 9-1 Thursday for their first series win at Camden Yards in four years.

Didi Gregorius had three hits and scored twice for the Yankees, who closed within 3 1/2 games of AL East-leading Boston and fortified their grip on the top AL wild card.

Sonny Gray (9-9) gave up one unearned run and six hits in 5 2/3 innings. The right-hander is 3-4 since he was acquired by New York in a July 31 trade with Oakland (see full recap).

Braves rally for walk-off win over Marlins
ATLANTA -- Kurt Suzuki capped a two-run rally in the ninth inning when his lined single past third base drove in Freddie Freeman and lifted the Atlanta Braves over the Miami Marlins 6-5 on Thursday night.

Miami left-hander Brad Ziegler (1-4) gave up a leadoff double to pinch-hitter Matt Adams in the ninth. Pinch-runner Nick Markakis moved to third on Ender Inciarte's groundout to first and scored easily on Ozzie Albies' double to right-center, leaving Ziegler with the blown save, his fourth in 13 chances.

Freeman was given an intentional walk and moved to second on Lane Adams' grounder before Suzuki lined the winning hit past Brian Anderson at third base.

Ichiro Suzuki gave Miami a 5-4 lead when he dropped a pinch-hit single into shallow left field in the eighth, driving in Anderson.

Rex Brothers (3-3) struck out the side in the ninth (see full recap).

Hector Neris optioned to Triple A; Phillies bring up LHP Austin Davis

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Hector Neris optioned to Triple A; Phillies bring up LHP Austin Davis

The Phillies have sent struggling reliever Hector Neris to Triple A and called up left-handed reliever Austin Davis.

Neris, 29, was the Phillies’ primary closer last season, racking up 26 saves in 74 games. He pitched in 79 games in 2016.

The workhorse right-hander has struggled this season, pitching to a 6.00 ERA in 30 games. Neris allowed four hits and four runs in the ninth inning Sunday at Milwaukee. The Phillies held on for a 10-9 win with Jake Thompson coming on for the save.

Davis, 25, was selected by the Phillies in the 12th round of the 2014 draft. He had a 2.70 ERA and a 0.982 WHIP in 26 games at Double A Reading and Triple A Lehigh Valley this season.

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Phillies score 10 runs and win but still leave behind a sour taste

Phillies score 10 runs and win but still leave behind a sour taste

Such an enigmatic group, these Phillies.

How crazy is it that on an afternoon when the Phils scored 10 runs to finish off an unlikely series victory, the leftover taste was a sour one because of the bullpen.

Gabe Kapler tried to show confidence in Hector Neris in the ninth inning for the second straight game. It worked Saturday but not Sunday.

After needing eight pitches in a 1-2-3 save Saturday, Neris allowed four runs and two homers in two-thirds of an inning to turn a 10-5 lead into a 10-9 game (see first take)

Kapler was forced to turn to Jake Thompson, who threw one pitch to get the save.

At this point, how can Kapler go back to Neris late in a close game? He attempted to use Neris in low-leverage situations — prior to Saturday, each of his last six outings came in games well in-hand — but it hasn't worked. 

Neris has a 6.00 ERA and has allowed eight home runs in 27 innings. To put that in perspective, Aaron Nola has allowed six home runs in 95⅓ innings. 

Neris' velocity was crisp Sunday, reaching as high as 98 mph. But the location, again, was off. Too many pitches in the middle of the plate.

The Phillies have a 4.56 ERA in the ninth inning. That's fourth-worst in the majors and second-worst in the NL, ahead of only the Marlins. Remove Neris from the equation and the Phils' ninth-inning ERA is 3.52.

The Phillies' bullpen was supposed to be a strength. But Pat Neshek hasn't pitched, Neris has fallen flat, Tommy Hunter is only starting to get into a groove and Luis Garcia is on the DL after several rough outings in a row.

Kapler must be careful of overusing Seranthony Dominguez, who factors into their ninth-inning plans far beyond this year. But aside from Dominguez, the only relievers the Phillies have who've been reliable more often than not are Edubray Ramos and Victor Arano. 

It's a precarious position to be in, yet the Phils are 12-6 in one-run games this season. Only the Mariners, Yankees, Brewers and Braves have a better winning percentage in such games. 

Nick Pivetta is on the hill Monday at home against the Cardinals. The Phillies badly need a long outing from him after their starters accounted for just 57% of the innings in Milwaukee.

It would be the perfect time for Pivetta to get back on track after allowing 13 runs in his last 14 innings and failing to pitch into the sixth four starts in a row.

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