Phillies

Best of MLB: Matt Wieters' late grand slam lifts Nationals over Cubs

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Best of MLB: Matt Wieters' late grand slam lifts Nationals over Cubs

CHICAGO -- Matt Wieters hit a tiebreaking grand slam off Carl Edwards Jr. in Washington's five-run eighth inning, helping the Nationals beat the Chicago Cubs 9-4 on Sunday.

Bryce Harper started the winning rally with a one-out infield single against Mike Montgomery. Ryan Zimmerman doubled against Edwards and Daniel Murphy was walked intentionally to load the bases.

Washington then grabbed control in a span of two pitches. Edwards (3-3) hit Anthony Rendon, tying it at 4, and Wieters followed with a drive over the wall in center for his third career grand slam.

Wieters drove in five runs and Brian Goodwin homered for the NL East-leading Nationals, who had dropped three of four.

Willson Contreras homered twice for NL Central-leading Chicago. The Cubs closed out a 2-4 homestand against contenders Arizona and Washington before pulling on leather vests and bandanas for their "Easy Rider"-themed six-game road trip out west (see full recap).

Souza hits walk-off homer to lift Rays over Brewers
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Steven Souza Jr. homered off Milwaukee reliever Jacob Barnes leading off the ninth inning Sunday to lift the Tampa Bay Rays to a 2-1 win over the Brewers.

Souza's 24th home run helped the Rays salvage a win in a three-game series in which they scored only two runs. It was Souza's first walkoff homer with the Rays.

Most of the game was a pitchers' duel between the Rays' Chris Archer and the Brewers' Jimmy Nelson.

Tommy Hunter (1-2) got the win after tossing 1 1/3 innings of relief.

Barnes (3-3) threw only two pitches in relief of Nelson, who gave up one run on six hits while striking out nine in eight innings (see full recap).

Astros stun Blue Jays with four-run 9th
HOUSTON -- Juan Centeno hit an RBI single with two outs that capped a four-run rally in the ninth inning, lifting the Houston Astros over the Toronto Blue Jays 7-6 Sunday.

Jose Altuve singled off All-Star closer Roberto Osuna (3-3) to begin the Houston ninth and one-out singles by Yuli Gurriel and Marwin Gonzalez loaded the bases. Carlos Beltran grounded into a forceout that scored a run, and Alex Bregman hit a tying, two-run triple.

Centeno followed with a liner over the head of leaping first baseman Justin Smoak and into shallow right field to win it for the AL West leaders.

Nori Aoki had a two-run homer, his first hit since being traded from Houston to Toronto last Monday, during a four-run seventh that gave the Blue Jays a 6-3 lead.

Francis Martes (4-1) pitched 1 2/3 scoreless innings for the win. Osuna allowed five hits and four runs while getting only two outs for his seventh blown save this season (see full recap).

Phillies-Padres postponed, rescheduled as part of doubleheader Sunday

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Phillies-Padres postponed, rescheduled as part of doubleheader Sunday

Saturday night’s Phillies-San Diego Padres game has been postponed because of rain.

The game will be made up Sunday as part of a separate admission doubleheader.

The start of Sunday’s regularly scheduled game (game 50 ticket) will be moved from 1:30 p.m. to 12:05 p.m. Gates will open at 11:05 a.m.

The makeup game (game 49 ticket) will start at 6:05 p.m. According to the team, fans holding tickets for Saturday night's game may use them for Sunday night’s 6:05 p.m. game. Fans unable to attend that game may exchange them for any remaining home game this season.

Vince Velasquez and Nick Pivetta will be the Phillies’ starting pitchers in Sunday’s doubleheader. Pivetta will start Game 1 and Velasquez will take the mound for Game 2.

The Phillies returned from the All-Star break and posted an 11-5 win over the Padres on Friday night. That game began a stretch of 19 of 29 games against non-contending teams for the Phillies.

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It didn't take long for Freddy Galvis' defense to wow the Padres

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It didn't take long for Freddy Galvis' defense to wow the Padres

It didn't take long for Freddy Galvis to open the eyes of his new teammates.

"I can think of maybe two balls all year long where he did not make a play," Padres manager Andy Green told the San Diego Union-Tribune at the end of June.

"It's the most accurate arm I've ever seen from a shortstop," first baseman Eric Hosmer said in the same piece.

The Phils obviously didn't move on from Galvis because of his defense. They moved on from him because he never reached a higher level with his bat and because they had two young infielders — Scott Kingery, J.P. Crawford — they were ready to move forward with.

The Galvis trade was a good one for the Phillies. In exchange for one year of his services, they got a solid young pitcher with upside in Enyel De Los Santos.

It was a move they had to make because Galvis will be a free agent after the season and this gave them the extended look they needed at Kingery and Crawford.

There's no question, though, that the 2018 Phils have missed Galvis' defense. Phillies shortstops have committed 13 errors, seventh most in baseball. Padres shortstops have committed five errors, fewest in the National League and second fewest in the majors.

At the beginning of Galvis' major-league career, his flashy plays stood out but he wasn't as effective with routine plays as Jimmy Rollins was. That changed after Galvis made 17 errors in 2015. In the three seasons since, he's committed just 20 errors combined.

Galvis can make the flashy play, but he also makes almost every single routine play. He knows where to position himself for every hitter, how quickly to release the ball to throw out a speedy runner. 

Over the years, more than a few teammates have commended Galvis' baseball instincts as some of the best they've ever seen. You can't quantify baseball instincts the way you can quantify offensive stats, so there's a portion of fans that will always scoff when Galvis' value is brought up.

"His internal clock, as far when he releases the ball, how much times he has, he just knows all that stuff beforehand," Hosmer told the Union-Tribune. "He's about as fundamentally sound as any infielder I've ever seen."

The Phillies have not gotten the look at Crawford they wanted in 2018. Injuries have limited him to just 34 games, 112 plate appearances and 93 defensive chances at shortstop.

As for Kingery, he should benefit from the everyday playing at shortstop. He's improved defensively as the season has worn on. In a few years, he'll likely be even better with the glove — and, equally important, a more selective hitter.

Galvis has hit .234/.294/.331 this season. Phillies shortstops have hit .238/.286/.352 and played worse defense. 

If this ends up being the worst offensive year of Kingery's career, then his worst numbers would fall in line with Galvis' career averages (.244/.288/.367).

It will be interesting to see where Galvis ends up this offseason. A team with a powerful and deep lineup — the Brewers, the Diamondbacks — can win with Galvis and effectively hide him in the 8-spot. If the Phillies had better offenses all those years, the weak aspects of his game wouldn't have been as pronounced.

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