PHOENIX — The Phillies have gotten good starting pitching all season but lately they’ve taken it to another level.
Nick Pivetta pitched six shutout innings to lead the Phils to a 5-2 win over the Arizona Diamondbacks on Tuesday night. Pivetta scattered five hits, walked one and struck out six to improve to 7-9. It was his second straight strong outing and the Phillies’ NL-leading 59th quality start.
The bullpen got the final nine outs, surviving some sloppy defense and two runs in the bottom of the eighth inning. The Phils’ middle infield turned a big double play behind Victor Arano to get out of the eighth inning. The Phils also turned an important double play behind Luis Garcia to get out of the seventh when it was still a one-run game (see story). Pat Neshek pitched a scoreless ninth for his second save.
Offensively, the Phils got a solo homer from Nick Williams in the third inning against Zack Greinke, who gave up just that one run in seven innings. The Phils took that 1-0 lead into the eighth inning, when they rallied for four runs, two of which were unearned. Cesar Hernandez bunted and circled the bases for the Phillies’ first run in that inning after the Diamondbacks made two throwing errors. Asdrubal Cabrera had a two-run double and Jorge Alfaro an RBI single in that inning. All the runs were charged to Jake Diekman, the former Phillie.
A Little League home run for Cesar!— NBC Sports Philadelphia (@NBCSPhilly) August 8, 2018
We'll take it. The Phillies lead 2-0. pic.twitter.com/JawX2uHRjH
The win improved the Phillies to 64-49. They lead the NL East by 1½ games over Atlanta.
The Phillies, who squandered eight shutout innings from Jake Arrieta in a 3-2 loss in 14 innings to Arizona on Monday night, will look to win the series on Wednesday afternoon.
Pivetta has put together two straight strong starts. Over that span, he has given up just two runs in 12 innings, while registering 13 strikeouts and walking just one.
Phillies starters have been outstanding over the last eight games. They have allowed just nine earned runs in 55 1/3 innings over that span for a 1.46 ERA. The Phils are 6-2 over those eight games. Both of the losses were by one run, in 13 and 14 innings, respectively.
Crawford almost ready
After playing 14 innings and dipping deep into the bullpen on Monday night, the Phillies added pitcher Enyel De Los Santos from Triple A before the game. Outfielder Dylan Cozens was sent back to Triple A and the Phillies played with a three-man bench. The Phils could have a deeper bench by the weekend as infielder J.P. Crawford could be activated any day now. He has been on the disabled list since June 20 with a broken left hand.