Phillies

Gabe Kapler eats a big steak, watches a big arm during trip to Reading

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Gabe Kapler eats a big steak, watches a big arm during trip to Reading

Gabe Kapler, manager of the 14-7 Phillies, took a busman’s holiday Monday and ventured up Rt. 422 to watch the Double A Reading Fightin Phils play the Akron Rubber Ducks. (Actual name.)

Before the game, Kapler enjoyed an “incredible” 20 oz. rib eye — medium rare — at one of Reading’s fine steakeries. (The name eluded him.) He then headed over to the ballpark, fedora perched stylishly atop his head, and watched the Fightins beat the Cleveland Indians’ Double A club, 8-4.

“I thought it was the right thing to do to support (Reading manager) Greg Legg and the work that he is doing,” Kapler said of his trip to Reading. “Our player development staff is so incredibly invested in what we’re doing here and they deserve a lot of credit for the start that we’re off to. Their fingerprints are all over this major-league club and we’re in this together. Player development is an unsung department in an organization and those guys deserve a lot of love and credit for what is happening here.”

Kapler was impressed with several of Reading's players.

“I saw some cool things,” he said before the big Phillies got back to work Tuesday night. “Zach Coppola and his effort on the bases. He drove a ball to left-center field with a beautiful swing. And he gave his body for the club on defense when he crashed into the wall full speed. That was really impressive.

“I saw (Zach) Green hit a home run.

“And Seranthony was sensational. It was nice to see him.”

Seranthony Dominguez, a 23-year-old power-armed right-hander from the Dominican Republic, is making the transition from starter to reliever this season. He has opened the season with 18 strikeouts and two walks in his first 12 innings. He pitched a perfect inning Monday night with Kapler looking on.

Dominguez, a potential closer down the road, had previously impressed Kapler during a stint in big-league camp this spring.

Kapler was asked if he believed Dominguez could help the big club this season.

“He’s definitely got the talent,” Kapler said. “He’s definitely got the demeanor. And one of the things I mentioned yesterday as I was watching him was when we went out for mound visits (during spring training), this was a guy that was completely composed, in some ways similar to the way Scott Kingery’s heartbeat is. He was always very cool, calm and collected. Then to come up and dial up 97, 98 (mph) with a nasty slider — those two things in combination lead me to believe he can make an impact.”

Phillies get 13 strikeouts from Nick Pivetta, luck in 10th inning for win

Phillies get 13 strikeouts from Nick Pivetta, luck in 10th inning for win

BOX SCORE

From a terrible and inexcusable loss to a dramatic win ... what a night for the Phillies.

They rallied for a 6-5 win over the St. Louis Cardinals on Aaron Altherr's two-run double with two outs in the bottom of the 10th inning Monday night.

Altherr's hit got a lot of people off the hook.

The Phillies led, 4-0, after the first inning and had only four hits the rest of the way.

The Cardinals came all the way back in a bizarre ninth inning and went ahead on a solo homer by Tommy Pham against Jake Thompson in the top of the 10th.

The Phillies should have won this one earlier.

With two outs in the top of the ninth, Victor Arano registered the team’s 18th strikeout of the game. It should have ended the game and given the Phils a 4-2 win. The pitch, however, a slider in the dirt, got by catcher Andrew Knapp, scoring a run from third and keeping the inning alive for pinch-hitter Kolten Wong to tie the game with a single against Adam Morgan.

Rhys Hoskins started the Phillies' rally in the bottom of the 10th inning with a single.

The win improved the Phillies to 38-32 and a NL-best 23-12 at home.

The Phils came out of the chute with four runs in the first inning against Miles Mikolas. 

Nick Pivetta struck out a career-high 13 in 7 1/3 innings of work. Right-handed reliever Edubray Ramos picked up Pivetta with runners on second and third and one out in the eighth. With the game on the line, Ramos registered two huge strikeouts to preserve a two-run lead.

Arano was called on to pitch the ninth. He, too, faced a second-and-third jam with one out. He essentially pitched out of the jam with a pair of strikeouts but the one that would have ended the game went for a wild pitch. It gave the Cardinals life and they capitalized.

In case you’re wondering, bullpen ace Seranthony Dominguez was not available after throwing 52 pitches the previous two days.

Pivetta had struggled in his previous three starts this month. He’d lost all three and given up 13 runs in 14 innings.

This one was a different story. The right-hander had dominant stuff from the beginning. He threw 108 pitches and got 21 swinging strikes, 11 on his curveball and seven on his four-seam fastball, which topped out at 97.6 miles per hour.

A day after scoring 10 runs in Milwaukee, the Phillies scored four times in the first inning. Three of the runs came on a home run by Odubel Herrera after Mikolas allowed a leadoff single to Cesar Hernandez and a walk to Hoskins.

Herrera’s bat has really come alive after a hellacious slump that dropped him from a league-best .361 to .283 in a 23-game span. Over his last five games, he has nine hits, including three home runs.

Knapp drove in the Phillies’ fourth run.

Rightfielder Nick Williams was forced to leave the game in the eighth inning when Matt Carpenter’s double clanged off the wall and struck Williams in the face, drawing blood (see video).

Vince Velasquez will look to follow up last week’s gem against Colorado in the second game of the series on Tuesday night.

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Charlie Manuel back in a Phillies uniform for 'hittin' season'

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Charlie Manuel back in a Phillies uniform for 'hittin' season'

The temperature on the field was well into the 90s as the Phillies took batting practice at Citizens Bank Park before Monday's game against the St. Louis Cardinals.

In other words …

“Hittin’ season,” Charlie Manuel said. “This is my weather. I probably should be here.”

And Manuel was there, standing behind the batting cage — in uniform — taking it all in, talking hitting, offering pointers.

Manuel scouts amateur players leading up to the draft so he has been in town all month and will stay through Thursday’s annual Phillies Phestival, which benefits the Philadelphia Chapter of the ALS Association. Hitting coach John Mallee asked the beloved former skipper to put on a uniform and come down on the field to watch batting practice. The two had previously built a rapport during spring training.

Manuel is still a fixture around the batting cage in spring training, but this was the first time he’d been in uniform around the cage at Citizens Bank Park since he was fired as Phillies skipper on Aug. 16, 2013. Actually, Manuel never changed into his uniform that day. He got the news from then general manager Ruben Amaro Jr., appeared briefly at a news conference then grabbed his Wawa bag and headed home. So Monday was the first time he’d been in uniform at CBP since Aug. 8, 2013. The Phillies beat the Chicago Cubs, 12-1, that day.

Manuel wasn’t the only extra set of eyes around the batting cage on Monday. Andy Tracy, the team’s minor-league hitting coordinator, is also in town. Manager Gabe Kapler brings in members of the player-development staff periodically. Kapler stresses inclusion top to bottom. Longtime Phillies observers will recall that former GM Ed Wade used to employ a similar program.

Manuel loved his time around the batting cage.

“I got a good sweat going,” he said. “I feel good. It’s a good feeling, unreal really. We had some guys in BP really putting on a show. (Nick) Williams, (Jorge) Alfaro, (Aaron) Altherr, (Carlos) Santana — they were launching ‘em. Hopefully it carries over into the game.”

Well, the Phillies scored four runs in the first inning, three on a homer by Odubel Herrera.

Hittin’ season.

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