Phillies

Aaron Nola comes up aces in Phillies' win over Red Sox

Aaron Nola comes up aces in Phillies' win over Red Sox

BOX SCORE

BOSTON – On a night when their offense did some damage early then went into a long hibernation, the Phillies pulled out an important, 3-2, win over the Boston Red Sox on Tuesday night because they pitched brilliantly.

Aaron Nola delivered a terrific start and Jose Alvarez, Mike Morin and Hector Neris combined for six outs in relief to close out the one-run victory.

Neris survived a ringing leadoff double in the ninth as Boston’s Xander Bogaerts ran into the first out on the bases. He then survived a liner off the bat of Andrew Benintendi that went for a game-ending double play.

The win snapped a two-game losing skid for the Phillies, who entered the game two back in the NL wild-card race.

The Phillies had just seven hits on the night and four of them came in the first inning.

The Red Sox entered the game leading the majors with a .277 team batting average. The Phillies held them to five hits through eight innings. Pretty good.

Quick start, then …

Nothing.

The Phils scored three times against lefty Brian Johnson in the first inning. Two of the runs came on a double by Jean Segura after Rhys Hoskins walked and Bryce Harper doubled. Scott Kingery drove in the third run with a single.

That was it for the Phillies’ inconsistent offense. Starting with two outs in the fourth, Boston’s bullpen retired 15 straight Phillies hitters until Adam Haseley drew a two-out walk in the ninth.

Nola’s night 

He was superb. Just superb.

He pitched seven innings, allowed four hits and two runs. He struck out seven and walked just one. He threw 104 pitches and No. 103 was 94 mph.

Nola was outstanding in protecting a one-run lead in the fifth and sixth innings. Both times, he got three outs with a runner on second base. In the sixth, he retired the Sox’ No. 2, 3, and 4 hitters to get out of trouble. That trio of Rafael Devers, Xander Bogaerts and J.D. Martinez has combined for 82 homers.

Nola has shined in two career starts at Fenway Park. On July 30, 2018, he pitched a very similar ballgame – eight innings, four hits, one run, one walk and six strikeouts. The Phillies lost that game, 2-1.

One mistake

On a night when the offense gave him little margin for error, Nola made one mistake – a first-pitch fastball to Jackie Bradley Jr., with a man on base in the third inning. Bradley ambushed the down-the-middle heater for a two-run homer. Two of the four hits that Nola allowed came in the inning.

The horse

Before the game, manager Gabe Kapler talked about riding Nola every fifth day through the end of the season (see story). Kapler said he wanted to see how this start went before he said anything definitive. It went pretty well.

Lineup stuff

Hoskins was the designated hitter in the American League park. Once again, Kapler looked to optimize Hoskins’ selectivity and on-base skills in the leadoff spot.

J.T. Realmuto got a break behind the plate and started at first base. Andrew Knapp did the catching.

Hoskins’ night

He entered the game hitting just .168 since the All-Star break. He had an infield hit in the fourth inning and walked twice. He is hitting .239 but leads the team with a .380 on-base percentage.

Hoskins ignited the Phillies’ three-run first inning with a leadoff walk.

Up next

Drew Smyly (1-1, 4.71 in five starts with the Phillies) gets the ball Wednesday night. He will pitch against Boston’s Rick Porcelo (11-9, 5.49).

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What Alec Bohm's arrival means for struggling Rhys Hoskins and Scott Kingery

What Alec Bohm's arrival means for struggling Rhys Hoskins and Scott Kingery

Alec Bohm is here and he's going to play. 

The Phillies didn't call up Bohm, their top offensive prospect, to get him a few at-bats here and there. He'll be a regular in the lineup, Phillies GM Matt Klentak said Thursday shortly after Bohm was added to the roster.

Bohm will mainly play third base, where he was Thursday in his debut against the Orioles. When Bohm is at third, it will shift Jean Segura to second base, where he played last season. Scott Kingery will again be a utility player. Kingery could see some time in center field with Adam Haseley (wrist sprain) placed on the 10-day IL Thursday. That was the corresponding move to make room for Bohm on the active roster.

"The plan is that he's going to play regularly," Klentak said. "That's been the case for a while now. If we're going to call up a player like Alec, we want him to play every day. With Adam Haseley going on the IL today, that opens up some regular reps for us. Obviously, it'll be up to Joe (Girardi) to write out the lineup every day. But I think what you're going to see today is pretty indicative of what the next week or so will be like. Alec will play quite a bit at third. Segura will move over and play some second. 

"Kingery now will help us in a variety of different spots, but notably, he may need to take down some reps in center field. ... We still view Scott as an everyday player. Whether that’s at second base or some other position, but right now given his offensive struggles, given Bohm coming up, and given the need for an extra capable defender in center field, I think this makes sense for the team right now.

"We want Alec to play regularly. We think he's that kind of player. It really highlights the importance of guys like Segura and Kingery being able to play multiple positions. You can have an injury to a left-handed hitting outfielder and call up a right-handed hitting infielder and the pieces can still work."

Bohm can also play first base. With the early-season struggles of Rhys Hoskins, Kingery and Segura, there are multiple lineup combinations which include Bohm that might be able to give the Phillies a boost.

Hoskins, Kingery and Segura have hit a combined .165 this season (20 for 121). Their lack of offense is the major reason Bohm is here now. The extra infield bat certainly puts some pressure on Hoskins and Kingery to perform. Teams don't have time to wait out prolonged slumps in a 60-game season. Friday will be the Phils' quarter-pole of the season.

Hoskins has hit .190 this season with one RBI. He has not homered in his last 109 plate appearances dating back to last season. The walks are nice and the source of his .404 on-base percentage but the Phillies need Hoskins to do more than walk. They need him to hit for power. And they need Kingery to catch up to fastballs. Against fastballs 93 mph or harder this season, Kingery is 0 for 9 and has swung-and-missed more than one-third of the time.

Hoskins and Kingery were both out of Thursday's lineup. Neil Walker started at first base with Segura at second.

"He's a hitter," Klentak said of Bohm. "We think he can help our lineup. Our lineup thus far — and I'm mindful of the fact that we're only 13 games in and even those 13 games have been somewhat disjointed — has had several players really off to fast starts from the very beginning and others that have struggled. Adding another quality bat into that mix can only help us. That's the way we're looking at it."

Bohm ends up debuting before ever playing a game at Triple A. Had there been a minor-league season, it's where he would have opened.

"This guy has done everything he can do in the batter's box at the minor-league level," Klentak said. "It's not his fault that there was no official Triple A season this year. But he's done everything he can. He's really worked very hard on his defense. That's come a long way for him in the last year and a half. On top of that, he's also added the versatility of being able to slide over to first base, which we won't see tonight, but we could see that at some point this year too. 

"As much as anything, we think he's earned it. Now that our roster allows for him to come up and play every day, we think it's a good opportunity for him."

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Phillies lineup: Alec Bohm debuts, bats 6th

Phillies lineup: Alec Bohm debuts, bats 6th

Alec Bohm bats sixth and plays third base in his MLB debut this afternoon.

The Phils promoted Bohm, their top position player prospect, ahead of Thursday's series finale against the Orioles. Adam Haseley was placed on the 10-day injured list with a wrist sprain to make room for Bohm on the 28-man roster.

Rhys Hoskins, who grounded into three double plays Wednesday and is hitting .190 with one RBI on the season, sits. So does Scott Kingery, who is 4 for 40. 

Neil Walker is at first base and Jean Segura is at second.

1. Andrew McCutchen, DH
2. Jean Segura, 2B
3. Bryce Harper, RF
4. J.T. Realmuto, C
5. Didi Gregorius, SS
6. Alec Bohm, 3B
7. Jay Bruce, LF
8. Neil Walker, 1B
9. Roman Quinn, CF

Jake Arrieta, SP

Right-hander Tom Eshelman, the Phillies' 2017 minor-league pitcher of the year, starts for Baltimore.

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