Instant Replay: Rangers 8, Phillies 4

Instant Replay: Rangers 8, Phillies 4


ARLINGTON, Tex. — The Phillies completed a miserable stay in Texas with an 8-4 loss to the Texas Rangers on Thursday afternoon.
The Rangers swept the three-game series by a combined score of 22-8. The Phillies are 0-5 in interleague play this season. They were also swept by Seattle.
The Rangers have won nine in a row. That's the longest winning streak in the majors this season.

The Phils have lost 11 of their last 13 road games to fall to 6-16 on the road. They are 14-24 overall and have lost 15 of their last 18.

Starting pitching report
Rookie right-hander Nick Pivetta gave up just a run in 4 2/3 innings, but a high pitch count prevented him from going deeper into the game. He walked four for the second straight start.
Pivetta was at 90 pitches through four innings, but with a 2-0 lead, manager Pete Mackanin stuck with Pivetta for the fifth inning so he could go for his first big-league win.
Pivetta struck out the first batter then issued a one-out walk. Mackanin lifted him after a strikeout of Elvis Andrus. The manager went to lefty Joely Rodriguez because Nomar Mazara was hitting just .111 against lefties. Rodriguez did not respond and took the loss.
Pivetta has a 5.12 ERA in four starts with the big club. His next start will come at Triple A, as Aaron Nola is set to return from the disabled list Sunday. Pivetta was optioned to Lehigh Valley after the game.
Texas lefty Martin Perez was impressive. He pitched seven walk-free innings and struck out eight. He allowed five hits and two runs.
The Rangers got seven innings from their starting pitcher in all three games in the series. Phillies starters went six, four and 4 2/3 innings in the three games, respectively.
Bullpen report
Rodriguez came in with two outs in the fifth and a two-run lead. He could not protect the lead. The first four batters he faced reached base on a walk, two singles and a three-run homer. The homer was the 27th allowed by the Phillies' bullpen this season, the most in baseball.
In all, Rodriguez allowed seven runs in just two-thirds of an inning. He gave up six hits and walked two.
At the plate
Mackanin dropped slumping Maikel Franco to seventh in the batting order, the lowest he'd hit since his rookie season. Franco responded with a well-struck sacrifice fly to dead center and a home run to right. He drove in the Phillies' first two runs.

The Phillies entered the ninth down, 8-2. Aaron Altherr led off with a single and Tommy Joseph homered against Jeremy Jeffress to make it a four-run game.

Odubel Herrera went 0 for 4 with three strikeouts. He is hitless in his last 11 at-bats and is just 3 for 23 through six games on the road trip, dropping him to .242.
Ryan Rua had the big hit for the Rangers, a three-run homer against Rodriguez to highlight Texas' five-run fifth.
Health check
Michael Saunders left the game with left groin tightness.
Up next
The Phillies open a three-game series against the Pirates in Pittsburgh on Friday night. Here are the pitching matchups:
Friday night — RHP Jeremy Hellickson (4-1, 3.71) vs. RHP Trevor Williams (2-2, 6.41)
Saturday afternoon — RHP Vince Velasquez (2-3, 5.63) vs. RHP Ivan Nova (3-3, 2.48)
Sunday afternoon — RHP Aaron Nola (2-0, 5.40) vs. RHP Chad Kuhl (0-1, 6.69)

Zack Wheeler pitches a gem, Phillies bats come alive for 11 runs in win over Yankees

Zack Wheeler pitches a gem, Phillies bats come alive for 11 runs in win over Yankees

The Phillies got a strong start from Zack Wheeler and plenty of offense as they beat the New York Yankees, 11-7, in the first game of a doubleheader Wednesday at Citizens Bank Park.

Wheeler pitched six innings in the seven-inning affair. He gave up six hits, walked two and struck out two. He has won both of his starts with the Phillies and allowed just four runs (three earned) in 13 innings.

The Phillies, who were the visiting team in Game 1, erased a three-run deficit with four runs in the top of the third inning. They added six runs on six singles and a New York error in the sixth inning.

The leaky bullpen, of course, struggled, but the Phils built a big enough lead to survive.

Bryce Harper clubbed a two-run homer in the third inning. He left the game in the sixth inning after running down the first base line and being checked by an athletic trainer. It was apparently a precautionary move as Harper was in the Game 2 lineup.

J.T. Realmuto also homered for the Phillies, who are now 2-3. Wheeler has both of the team’s wins. 

The Phils will be the home team in Game 2. Aaron Nola will start the game.

It’s never easy

With his team leading, 11-3, manager Joe Girardi removed Wheeler at 87 pitches and entrusted the final three outs to his very shaky bullpen. Lefty Austin Davis was quickly mugged for four runs, three on Aaron Judge’s seventh homer of the season. 

After Trevor Kelley walked a tight rope and put two men on base, Girardi had to bring in closer Hector Neris to get the final out. That might sound insignificant, but it wasn’t, not with a second game to play. Neris threw just one pitch in earning the save. We’ll see if that affects his availability for Game 2.

Unhappy return

Sixteen years after being selected by the Phillies in the third round of the 2004 draft, lefty J.A. Happ faced his original team. Happ and Cole Hamels are the only two members of the 2008 World Series championship team still active.

It was not a pleasant return to CBP for the 37-year-old Happ. He allowed four runs in the top of the third inning to lose a 3-0 lead. The big hit in the frame was Harper’s two-run homer on an 0-2 pitch. Happ walked six batters, including four in the third inning. One of them came with the bases loaded.

Speaking of ...

... Homers on 0-2 counts. The Phillies gave up a whopping 16 of them last season. That was the most in the National League and second-most in the majors behind the Angels, who gave up 18.

In five games this season, Phillies pitchers have already allowed two 0-2 homers. Nola gave up one on a breaking ball in his first start and Wheeler gave up one (also on a breaking ball) to Brett Gardner in the second inning of this game. Other than that, Wheeler was very good.

Stay hot

Girardi went with a right-handed heavy batting order against the lefty Happ. Phil Gosselin started at third and Jean Segura moved to shortstop. Lefty-hitting Didi Gregorius did not start. He entered the game as a pinch-hitter in the fifth and stayed on at shortstop with Segura moving to third.

Gosselin had two plate appearances. He doubled and pushed home a run with a bases-loaded walk in the third.

For the season, Gosselin is 5 for 8 with two homers and a double. He has reached base safely eight times in his 11 plate appearances.

A kick start?

Rhys Hoskins fell behind 0-2 against reliever Nick Nelson in the sixth inning. He then drove a single to left field for his first RBI of the season. Maybe the hit will help Hoskins get going. He was 2 for 15 before the hit. 

On defense

Segura made an error at shortstop that cost Wheeler and the Phillies a run in the first inning. Segura atoned with a nice play to start a double play in the fourth.

The Phils turned three double plays behind Wheeler. Wheeler benefited from four double plays in his first start. Not a bad trend.

Spencer for hire?

Before Game 1, Girardi announced his pitching rotation for the week. Nola will pitch the second game of the doubleheader. Zach Eflin will pitch Thursday against the Yankees and Vince Velasquez and Jake Arrieta will pitch the first two games of the Atlanta series on Friday and Saturday, respectively.

Girardi said Sunday’s starter against the Braves was “to be determined.” It seems reasonable that top pitching prospect Spencer Howard could make his major-league debut that day. Girardi had previously said that he and team officials would discuss the possibility of Howard getting that start. Stay tuned.

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Bryce Harper exits with apparent tweak after best inning of Phillies' season

Bryce Harper exits with apparent tweak after best inning of Phillies' season

It may have been strictly precautionary, but the Phillies removed Bryce Harper in the bottom of the sixth inning Wednesday in the first game of their doubleheader after he appeared to tweak something during a swing.

Harper moved with a slight limp after the swing but appeared to be OK. He was visited by a trainer at first base and ran for himself in the top of the sixth after that healthy hack. The Phillies were up 11-3 when Joe Girardi pulled him, and there's another game 35 minutes after the first one ends, so they could just be playing it safe. We'll know more when the Phillies' Game 2 lineup comes out.

(Update: Harper was in the Game 2 lineup, so this was clearly a precautionary move.)

Earlier in the game, Harper hit a two-run home run to start the Phillies' scoring. Five games into his season, he has two homers, five RBI and a 1.054 OPS.

That sixth inning for the Phillies was their best all season. They scored six runs and had four hits with runners in scoring position after totaling just five in their first four games.

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