Colorado Rockies

Another rough start for Nick Pivetta in Phillies' loss to Rockies

Another rough start for Nick Pivetta in Phillies' loss to Rockies

BOX SCORE

This one all came down to starting pitching. Tyler Anderson was sharp. Nick Pivetta was not.

The Phillies’ modest two-game winning streak ended Wednesday night in a 7-2 loss to the Colorado Rockies at Citizens Bank Park.

Anderson, a lefty, handcuffed the Phillies with seven innings of one-run ball. He held the Phillies to six hits, walked none and struck out six.

Pivetta, meanwhile, saw his recent struggles continue as he was tagged for eight hits and six runs in five innings of work. The right-hander walked three.

Pivetta opened the season with a 3.26 ERA in his first 11 starts. He has given up 13 earned runs in 14 innings over his last three starts.

The Rockies entered the game having lost nine of 11 and five in a row. However, they showed signs of awakening when they stroked five hits and scored three runs in the ninth inning of Tuesday night’s 5-4 loss to the Phillies.

The Rockies continued to wake up in this one. They scored a single run against Pivetta in the first inning and five in the fourth inning. Pivetta gave up a walk, two singles, a double and a two-run homer to Ian Desmond in that inning.

Rookie catcher Jorge Alfaro accounted for the Phillies’ first run with a solo homer against Anderson in the fifth inning. Rookie Jesmuel Valentin got the start in right field and had three of the Phillies' seven hits. He doubled twice and stroked his first big-league homer with two outs in the ninth inning.

Scott Kingery batted third and struck out four times.

The Phillies have lost 11 of 16 games since briefly rising to first place in the NL East on May 26. They are 34-31.

Notes
• Slumping Odubel Herrera got the night off. His batting average has dipped from an NL-best .361 to .283 in a span of 23 games.

• Maikel Franco, who had not been in the starting lineup for five straight games, got the nod at third base against the lefty Anderson. Franco had previously been 3 for 7 with a homer against Anderson. He went hitless in four at-bats in this game. Franco has lost playing time to J.P. Crawford and will likely continue to do so as the Phillies get a look at Crawford at third base.

• The series concludes on Thursday afternoon with Vince Velasquez (4-7 4.95) facing Colorado right-hander German Marquez (4-6, 4.79). The Phillies will honor Jim Thome before the game in advance of his July induction to the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York.

More on the Phillies

Phillies make sure Aaron Nola's latest gem stands up ... barely

Phillies make sure Aaron Nola's latest gem stands up ... barely

BOX SCORE

Aaron Nola was up in the clubhouse riding an exercise bike and watching on television as the Colorado Rockies mounted a charge in the ninth inning.

One run in. A second run in. Now a third.

Suddenly it’s a one-run game and Nola’s masterpiece is about to unravel.

Nervous?

“I mean, kind of,” Nola said. “How can you not get nervous right there? But we pulled it out.”

The Phillies survived a rocky performance by reliever Luis Garcia in the ninth inning to score a 5-4 win over the Rockies at Citizens Bank Park on Tuesday night (see first take). The game should not have been that close. The Phils led 5-1 entering the inning. Garcia was tagged for four straight hits and three runs before rightfielder Aaron Altherr (with a game-saving catch) and Seranthony Dominguez (with a game-ending strikeout of two-time National League RBI king Nolan Arenado) saved his bacon and locked down the one-run victory.

The Phils have won two in a row for the first time since May 16-17.

“That is a long time,” Nola said. “But it's good to get back on the winning train.”

The Phillies were out-hit by a margin of 11-4 in this game, but they managed to win because Nola pitched well and Scott Kingery drove in four runs with a three-run homer in the first inning and a sacrifice fly. Jesmuel Valentin had a pinch-hit, RBI single in the eighth and the run proved huge as the win turned out to be more difficult than it should have been.

Colorado starter Jon Gray struck out 10, but he walked four and paid for them. He walked two in the first inning, setting up Kingery’s three-run homer, his first long ball in two months. Kingery hit a 1-2 fastball that came in at 97 mph.

“I’m just trying to put the bat on the ball and thankfully he threw me something I could handle,” said Kingery, who has chased a ton of breaking balls out of the zone in similar situations.

Nola also stuck out 10 as he improved to 8-2 with a 2.27 ERA in 14 starts. That’s All-Star Game material.

Since June 22, 2017, Nola is 14-3 with a 2.03 ERA, a 0.91 WHIP and 148 strikeouts in 18 home starts. The Rockies love to hit fastballs. Nola combated that with 15 swinging strikes, nine on curveballs.

“He mixed his pitches beautifully,” manager Gabe Kapler said.

Nola got in a couple of jams, but his pulse never quickened and he navigated them. He left with two outs in the seventh and a 4-0 lead.

“It's an intangible very few pitchers have,” Kapler said of Nola’s no-panic demeanor. “It's confidence and it's bravado.”

Kapler wanted to stay away from his favorite bullpen weapon, Dominguez, especially after the rookie right-hander had thrown 41 pitches on Sunday. But Dominguez had to come in and clean up Garcia’s mess. Altherr helped with a sensational grab on a Charlie Blackmon liner to right that would have brought home at least a run.

“Basically what we look at is who is most likely to get a ground ball there,” said Kapler, explaining his decision to open the ninth with Garcia. "Louie throws 99 miles an hour with a slider, so he matches up pretty well against a lot of people. Because he hasn't a lot of success in recent days doesn't mean we're going to go away from him. We have to maintain faith and confidence in our guys with big electric stuff and that's basically what we've done.”

Dominguez threw 13 pitches on a night Kapler was hoping not to use him. The Phillies want to be careful with him so he might not be available on Wednesday night when the team tries to win three in a row for the first time in a month.

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• Which of 4 pricey vets would Phils still sign today?

• Machado to Phillies could happen — eventually

Scott Kingery, Aaron Nola spark early lead as Phillies hang on late

Scott Kingery, Aaron Nola spark early lead as Phillies hang on late

BOX SCORE

The Phillies rode an early long ball by Scott Kingery and the right arm of Aaron Nola to a more-difficult-than-it-should-have-been 5-4 win over the Colorado Rockies at Citizens Bank Park on Tuesday night.

The victory gave the Phillies back-to-back wins for the first time since May 16-17 at Baltimore. 

Nola and Colorado right-hander Jon Gray hooked up in a brisk pitchers' duel. They each struck out 10.

The Phillies didn’t do a whole lot of hitting — they were out-hit, 11-4 — but they got a big one in the first inning when Kingery smacked a three-run homer with two outs. Kingery had not homered since April 10. He hit a 1-2 fastball over the wall in left-center, making Gray pay for a pair of walks.

Kingery’s homer was one of just three hits that Gray gave up in six innings. However, he walked four, including two more in the third inning to set up Kingery’s fourth RBI of the game, a sacrifice fly to center field.

Jesmuel Valentin capped the Phillies' scoring with a pinch-hit RBI single in the eighth. Ultimately, the run proved huge.

Nola was sensational. He gave up just four hits and no walks in matching his season-high strikeout total. He threw 108 pitches and got 15 swinging strikes, nine on his curveball.

Nola is now 8-2 with a 2.27 ERA in 14 starts (see story).

Nola left the game with two runners on base and two outs in the bottom of the seventh. Edubray Ramos gave up a first-pitch base hit, scuttling the shutout bid.

Tommy Hunter pitched a scoreless eighth. The Phils led 5-1 heading to the bottom of the ninth. All hell broke loose in the frame as the Rockies collected five straight hits against Luis Garcia and Seranthony Dominguez and scored three runs to make it a one-run game. Dominguez struck out dangerous Nolan Arenado for the final out with two men on base.

The Rockies (32-34) have lost nine of their last 11.

The Phillies are 34-30 and 21-11 at home.

Notes
• More proof that he is being phased out of the picture (see story), Maikel Franco did not start for the fifth straight game. J.P. Crawford got the start at third base.

• The Phillies wore their cream-colored uniforms and red and blue caps. That combination is usually reserved for day games. The Phillies wore that combo so they would line up with Rhys Hoskins, who needs to wear his blue and red batting helmet because it protects his broken jaw. Hoskins is awaiting a red helmet with jaw protection.

More on Phillies

• Phillies lay out plan for 1st-round pick Bohm

• Which of 4 pricey vets would Phils still sign today?

• Machado to Phillies could happen — eventually