Phillies

Phillies-Mets observations: Adam Morgan finally cracks as 3-game win streak ends in extras

Phillies-Mets observations: Adam Morgan finally cracks as 3-game win streak ends in extras

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Adam Morgan gave up a three-run home run to Asdrubal Cabrera in the 11th inning and the Phillies fell to the New York Mets, 7-4, Saturday night in the penultimate game of their season and manager Pete Mackanin’s tenure. 

Morgan (3-3) has been one of the Phillies’ top relievers of late, having allowed two runs in his last 26 innings with 32 strikeouts. 

But the lefty gave up a single to Phillip Evans and walked Nori Aoki with one out. After striking out Jose Reyes, Cabrera belted an 0-1 changeup just over the wall in left field for his 14th home run. 

Rhys Hoskins’ two-out single to left off Jamie Callahan capped a two-run seventh as the Phillies tied it. Hoskins nearly won it in the 10th, but his long drive to left got caught up in the wind and was caught at the edge of the wall. 

Maikel Franco hit his second home run in as many days, a solo shot in the second, as the Phillies’ three-game winning streak was snapped. 

• Phillies starter Henderson Alvarez was wild in his final audition for a 2018 job. Struggling with fastball command, Alvarez walked six, including five of the final 10 batters he faced on a chilly and windy night at Citizens Bank Park. In his third start following a two-year absence from the majors because of shoulder trouble, the former NL All-Star didn’t record a strikeout in 4 2/3 innings. 

• Alvarez allowed three runs and three hits, with the Mets going ahead 3-2 in the fifth on Brandon Nimmo’s first career triple, which drove in two.

• The Phillies (65-96) were eliminated in the “race” for the worst record in the majors and ensuing No. 1 pick in next June’s draft when San Francisco (63-98) lost to San Diego 3-2 earlier Saturday.  

• Jeurys Familia, the Mets’ ninth pitcher, worked a perfect 11th. 

• Hoskins has 48 RBIs in 49 games. 

• Alvarez finished with a 4.30 ERA in three starts. He’s a contact pitcher, with a fastball topping out at 93 mph, but once threw a no-hitter and is only 27. The Phillies may try to bring him to spring training with so many openings in the rotation. 

• Alvarez continued to occasionally throw an Eephus pitch. Switch-hitting Asdrubal Cabrera lined an opposite-field single on a 59.9 mph offering in the fourth. 

• After Franco’s homer, Jorge Alfaro doubled in the second and scored on Cesar Hernandez’s infield single as the Phillies built a 2-0 lead. 

• Franco’s difficult season is finishing on an upswing. He’s homered in three of his last four games and has 23 on the year, taking over the team lead from Tommy Joseph.  

• Alfaro took a shot to the head on that play at the plate and remained down for several moments before getting to his feet and walking off. He was replaced by Cameron Rupp in the seventh. 

• Hoskins made a nice scoop of catcher Rupp’s low throw to first in the seventh.

• The Mets went up 4-2 on Cabrera’s double off Zac Curtis in the seventh. 

• Rightfielder Nick Williams threw out Juan Lagares at the plate to complete a double play to end the sixth. 

• The stiff wind blowing in prevented at least three home runs: Hoskins’ drive to left in the 10th, Nimmo’s fly to center in the first and Alfaro’s drive to right in the fourth.

• Mackanin had J.P. Crawford batting second for the second time since his call-up “just to give him as many at-bats the next two days as I can.” He went 1 for 4 and made a fine snag, spin and throw to first to get Amed Rosario in the sixth. 

• Freddy Galvis drew a walk pinch-hitting to lead off the seventh in his 161st game. Galvis on Sunday can become the first Phillies player to appear in all 162 games since Ryan Howard in 2008. 

• Aaron Altherr hit third, played left field and hit a sacrifice fly with the bases loaded in the seventh to make it 4-3. While Altherr has come on late in the season, Mackanin said his durability is still a question. “I’d like to know that a guy can play every day,” he said.

• All major league games on the final day of the season Sunday will start at 3:05 p.m. RHP Nick Pivetta (7-10, 6.26 ERA) will face Noah Syndergaard (1-2, 3.18), who will throw only 20-25 pitches in his return from a lat muscle injury. It will be Mackanin’s final game before he moves into an advisor role next season (see story)

Odubel Herrera, Carlos Santana lead way as Phillies crush Nationals

Odubel Herrera, Carlos Santana lead way as Phillies crush Nationals

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WASHINGTON – If Odubel Herrera keeps this up, he’s going to find himself right back in this city next month.

And not to visit the monuments.

Herrera swung a potent bat again Friday night in helping the Phillies beat up on the Washington Nationals, 12-2 (see first take). The win allowed the Phils to leap over the Nats and into second place in the NL East. The Phils are 40-33. The Nats are 40-34. Atlanta leads the division.

There’s still an entire summer of baseball to play before a division winner is crowned. But the Phils, who went 66-96 last season, were feeling pretty good about themselves after winning this one.

“At this point, in a lot of ways, we've proven ourselves,” manager Gabe Kapler said. “We're a pretty good ball club. We have gone toe to toe with some of the best teams in the league and done a pretty good job. At some point, it stops being that we're trying to prove ourselves and we're just competing with really good teams. I think that's where we are.”

The Philies have won eight of their last 11 and much of that run has coincided with Herrera’s re-awakening at the plate.

Herrera was leading the NL in hitting at .361 on May 17. Over the next 23 games, he hit .161 (15 for 93) to fall to .283. He is back up to .308 thanks to a four-hit game Friday night. He homered, stroked three singles and scored four runs.

Over the last eight games, Herrera is 17 for 36 (.472) with six homers and nine RBIs.

Herrera joined some fine company in the third inning when he homered for the fifth straight game. The only other Phillies to do that are Rhys Hoskins, Chase Utley, Bobby Abreu, Mike Schmidt and Dick Allen.

“All I’m thinking about is helping the team win,” Herrera said. “It’s always satisfying to beat great teams like the Nationals. That’s what you play for. Everyone here is a competitor. You always want to see where you're at. It’s a good challenge for us. Luckily for me, I’m hitting the ball well.”

So well that he could end up back in the All-Star Game. Herrera was the lone Phillie in the game two years ago. This year’s game will be played in Washington.

“I’m playing hard. I’m giving my best,” Herrera said. “If it happens it will be great. That’s what you work for.”

Starter Zach Eflin won his fourth straight start with five innings of two-run ball and relievers Austin Davis, Yacksel Rios and Zac Curtis did the rest.

“Every guy who pitched for us today was not on our opening day roster,” Kapler said. “So here we are, in a very important series in the middle of the summer, and we're playing the Nationals. Kudos to our player development department, an excellent job developing these guys. These guys came in and threw strikes and attacked the strike zone.”

The Phillies had 15 hits. They struck out 13 times, but they drew eight walks and pushed Washington starter Tanner Roark from the game at 4 1/3 innings and 113 pitches.

“Our offense played Phillies-style offense,” Kapler said. “What we've been preaching all year long. Deep counts. We worked walks at the end of the counts. We found ways to put the ball in play. And drive the baseball. I thought we did a really good job. Roark is a tough dude. Really impressive to see us grind him out. I was really impressed with the way we worked counts from the very beginning of the game.”

One of those deep counts came in the first inning when Roark fell behind Carlos Santana, 3-0. With one out and runners on second and third, Kapler gave Santana the green light and Santana lined a pitch that was off the plate into left field for two runs.

“Carlos prides himself on drawing walks,” Kapler said. “He wants to have 100 walks a season. It's an excellent goal. That's why he's so valuable whether he's swinging the bat the way he wants to or not.

"However, every once and a while, he's going to get into a 3-0 count with runners on base and he might be the best guy in the lineup to do damage in that moment. And we like him to sometimes be ultra-aggressive. It doesn't mean you go way out of the strike zone to attack. But maybe you expand just a little bit. You know where the barrel is and you're in an advantageous position against the pitcher. I'm really happy that was his decision.”

Santana also had a two-run homer en route to a four-RBI night. Nick Williams drove in three runs. Cesar Hernandez had three hits and Andrew Knapp homered.

Since May 1, Santana has 10 homers and 34 RBIs in 45 games.

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Phillies make statement in blowout of Nationals for 40th win of season

Phillies make statement in blowout of Nationals for 40th win of season

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WASHINGTON — An off day in the schedule didn’t cool off Odubel Herrera’s molten bat. 

Or Carlos Santana’s.

Herrera had four hits and scored four runs to help the quietly heating-up Phillies beat up on the Washington Nationals, 12-2, on Friday night.

Santana drove in four runs.

The Phils had 15 hits, including three homers. They struck out 13 times, but walked eight times.

The win inched the Phillies (40-33) a half game ahead of the Nationals (40-34) in the NL East standings. The Atlanta Braves lead the division.

The Phils have won eight of their last 11 games.

Right-hander Zach Eflin (5-2) earned his fourth straight victory with five innings of two-run ball. He was supported by plenty of offense.

Herrera homered for the fifth straight game and sixth in the last seven. He also singled three times as his batting average climbed back over .300.

Over the last eight games, Herrera is 17 for 36 (.472) with six homers and nine RBIs.

Santana drove in two runs with a first-inning single against Washington starter Tanner Roark. He also blasted a two-run homer in the sixth inning. He also walked twice and scored three runs.

Since May 1, Santana has 10 homers and 34 RBIs in 45 games.

Nick Williams also had a pair of hits and three RBIs.

Andrew Knapp hit the Phillies’ third homer of the game in the ninth inning.

Relievers Austin Davis, Yacksel Rios and Zac Curtis combined on four shutout innings of relief.

Notes
• The Phillies signed veteran infielder Danny Espinosa to a minor-league deal. He will join the Triple A Lehigh Valley team and provide depth. He has been released from three organizations this season — the Yankees in spring training and the Blue Jays and Dodgers during the season.

• Pat Neshek will get some work for Single A Clearwater on Saturday. He has not pitched in the majors this season because of shoulder and forearm injuries. Manager Gabe Kapler said it was possible that Neshek could be back as early as the middle of next week, depending on how he progresses.

• Saturday is an important day for Jerad Eickhoff as he will start throwing his curveball in the bullpen. That pitch had caused discomfort in the fingers on his right hand (see story).

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