NEW YORK — Ben Lively crashed J.P. Crawford's coming-out party Tuesday night and no one had a problem with it.
Lively pitched seven innings of one-run ball and drove in four runs with a two-run single and a swing-hard-and-something-good-might-happen, two-run home run to lead the Phillies to a 9-1 victory over the New York Mets at Citi Field (see observations).
Both of Lively's big hits came against Jacob deGrom, who has been an absolute beast against the Phillies for much of his career. The hard-throwing, floppy-haired right-hander entered the game with a 6-0 record and a 2.10 ERA in 10 career starts against the Phillies, including 2-0 with a 1.37 ERA in three starts this year.
It all changed Tuesday night. DeGrom gave up 10 hits and a career-high nine runs (three were unearned) in 3 2/3 innings, the second-shortest outing of his career. And this was after striking out the side in the first inning.
"It's nice to beat deGrom," manager Pete Mackanin said. "If you want to be the best, you have to beat the best."
Though the Phillies entered the game with the worst record in the majors — watch out, the San Francisco Giants are gaining in the race for the No. 1 draft pick — this was still a satisfying win.
"This was a unique game in that every player on the team, including the pitcher, scored at least one run and had a hit," Mackanin said. "That was kind of neat."
The game also offered a potential glimpse of the future. With the highly touted Crawford having arrived earlier in the day (see story), the Phillies' starting lineup featured five players, Lively included, who opened the season at Triple A and are considered building blocks for the future. They all contributed:
Lively, of course, did it with his arm and his bat.
Rhys Hoskins had a single, a double and two walks to run his on-base percentage to .436 in 26 games.
Nick Williams had a three-run double, giving him 38 RBIs since coming up on June 30.
Catcher Jorge Alfaro had three hits to raise his batting average to .362 in 58 at-bats.
And, on his first night in the majors, the 22-year-old Crawford contributed, as well. He had his first big-league hit, scored a run and made a couple of nice plays at third base.
"These guys, great teammates, made me feel welcome from the get-go," Crawford said. "Right when I got here they made me feel at home and I can't thank them enough to kind of settle down the nerves before the game and just have fun out there.
"It was a dream come true. Stepping onto the field, looking around, I thought to myself, like, man, I'm really here. I've been working on it for so long. Just to finally live the dream. I can't wait to get started."
Crawford is a shortstop by trade and likely is the Phillies' shortstop of the future. But for now, he is getting reps at third base as Maikel Franco and his .223 batting average and .278 on-base percentage take a seat. Mackanin said Crawford would likely be back at third base on Wednesday night as the Phillies look for players that will make them better in the future.
The players involved in Tuesday night's win thought they provided a little peek at the future.
"Definitely," Crawford said. "We've been talking about that since Double A. Just to be here in this moment with everyone together, back together and hopefully sooner or later everyone comes back and stays healthy and we can do some damage later on."
Surrounded by players he'd been with in the minors, Lively was overwhelmed by a feeling of what might be down the road.
"Absolutely," he said. "You can't deny that. Having J.P. up here, I told him it fired me up having him hand me the ball from third base. It's awesome."
"It's nice to see a lot of young guys in the lineup," Mackanin said. "Every little bit helps. It gives everybody a little spurt of energy going down the stretch. It's nice to see. The guys swung the bats well. They played a good game."
Ironically, no one swung the bat better than Lively. He had zero hits in 16 Triple A at-bats this season and last and now has six hits, including two homers, in 21 big-league at-bats this season.
"I still laugh about not having a hit in Triple A," he said. "It's pretty funny. I hit pretty good in high school and had a couple of schools look at me as a third baseman, but the pitching route has worked out pretty well."
Lively's two-run homer in the fourth came against a deGrom slider and cleared the wall in right-center.
"I hit it pretty good," the rookie pitcher said with a laugh. "Right when I hit it I was like, 'Ooh, that's hit pretty good.'"
As much as Mackanin liked the home run, he liked this more: Lively delivered his eighth quality start (six or more innings, three or fewer earned runs) in 11 outings.
"He's just a battler," Mackanin said. "He's a true competitor. He wants to win. He wants to be good. He goes right after hitters. He doesn't screw around with them. He gives it his best shot. He takes his chances. That's what I like."