Phillies

Phillies 4, Nationals 3: Rhys Hoskins hits two home runs and Phillies hang on for victory

Phillies 4, Nationals 3: Rhys Hoskins hits two home runs and Phillies hang on for victory

BOX SCORE 

For the second day in a row, Rhys Hoskins hit a go-ahead home run, the defense cut down a run at the plate and the Phillies won a one-run game at Citizens Bank Park.

This one was a 4-3 victory over the Washington Nationals in front of 28,212 on Monday night.

The Phillies are 7-2.

Hoskins broke a 2-2 tie with a solo homer against Anibal Sanchez with one out in the sixth. The homer came on a full-count curveball. On Sunday, Hoskins belted a decisive two-run homer on a full-count curveball from Minnesota’s Jose Berrios. That homer lifted the Phils to a 2-1 win.

Hoskins likes hitting with a full count. He has 12 homers and 30 RBIs in 136 career at-bats with a full count.

Hoskins concluded his night with a second homer, a solo shot in the eighth inning. It proved to be huge after Pat Neshek gave up a homer in the ninth and the Nats cut the Phils’ lead to one.

Hoskins has five homers and 15 RBIs on the young season.

The keys

• Hoskins did it again.

• For the second day in a row, the Phillies cut down a run at the plate. This time, right fielder Bryce Harper cut off a ball in the gap and fired to shortstop Jean Segura, who threw a strike to J.T. Realmuto to nail Ryan Zimmerman. Huge play in a close game.

• With a man on first base and one out in the fourth, Odubel Herrera got a first-pitch, 89-mph fastball from Sanchez. Herrera jumped all over the low-octane fastball and drove it out to right to tie the game at 2-2.

• Nice work Seranthony Dominguez, Adam Morgan and David Robertson. They combined for three scoreless innings out of the ‘pen. Neshek got the final three outs — Juan Soto, Zimmerman and Kurt Suzuki — with the tying run at second.

Velasquez’ night

Vince Velasquez’ first start of the season wasn’t great, but it wasn’t bad, either. He battled some command issues and ran a high pitch count in a rough second inning, but still managed to hold the Nats to two runs over five innings. He walked none and struck out two.

The runs that Velasquez allowed came in the second when he gave up a leadoff double to Juan Soto and a one-out homer to Suzuki on a 2-2 slider. Velasquez looked uneasy working with a runner on base and his tempo slowed down significantly leading up to the homer by Suzuki. Other than that, not a bad place to start for Velasquez, who needs to put together some consistency to secure his spot in the rotation and hold off competition from Triple A or even outside the organization.

Rehab outing

OK, so it wasn’t a rehab outing, per se, but manager Gabe Kapler got struggling Dominguez back on the mound in a 2-2 game in the top of sixth inning. Dominguez, who has struggled with command and velocity in the early going, delivered a clean inning and popped the ball up to 98 mph, which was a good sign.

In real rehab matters, Roman Quinn (oblique strain) continues to play for Single A Clearwater. Kapler said Quinn was healthy, but the Phillies would not rush him back, partly because Herrera was playing so well and it might be tough to get Quinn in the lineup immediately. Kapler said it was possible that Quinn could get some at-bats at Double A or Triple A before being activated. Beginning Friday, the Phils play 17 straight days. Quinn will likely get some starts during that stretch, Kapler said.

Lineup tweak

Kapler gave slumping Cesar Hernandez his first night off and went with Scott Kingery at second base. Hernandez, hitting .179 in the first eight games, could be right back in there Tuesday night. He has been hitting seventh in the lineup. Kapler said it was not out the question that he’d look to hit Hernandez ninth at some point in the season. That would allow Maikel Franco to move to seventh and continue to hit in front of the pitcher while Hernandez at the bottom could give the Phils something akin to back-to-back leadoff men. Just a thought.

Kingery had a pair of singles.

Up next

Aaron Nola makes his third start of the season on Tuesday night. He faces Stephen Strasburg. The Nationals roughed up Nola for six runs in three innings last week in Washington.

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Heck of a win for Phillies over Cubs, but some drama can be avoided

Heck of a win for Phillies over Cubs, but some drama can be avoided

CHICAGO — When a team goes into Wrigley Field and outlasts a first-place Chicago Cubs club in 10 innings, it’s a heck of a win.

And there’s no doubt the Phillies enjoyed that kind of a win Monday night. They fell behind early, rallied for a lead, gave it away, tied the game, and finally went ahead for good on a solo homer by J.T. Realmuto with two outs in the 10th inning.

The 5-4 win over the Cubs was the Phillies’ fourth in a row and it left them at a season-best nine games over .500 (see observations).

The Phillies got strong performances from several corners of their roster. Most notable was Realmuto, who shined at the plate and behind it.

But if the Phillies were completely honest with themselves as they headed for the team bus after the game, they would have admitted that the victory was actually more difficult than it should have been.

On a night when the Phillies made two excellent defensive plays to cut down runs at the plate in the early innings, they played a ragged eighth inning and that allowed the Cubs to rally for three runs and take a 4-3 lead. Only a one-out double by Maikel Franco, a huge, two-out walk by Andrew McCutchen (after being down 0-2) and a game-tying bloop single by Jean Segura saved the Phillies in the top of the ninth. They came all the way back on Realmuto’s homer in the 10th — five innings after he made a defensive gem on the receiving end of a Bryce Harper strike to the plate (see video).

“We talked about us acquiring the best all-around catcher in the game and it’s hard for me to imagine there’s a better one out there,” manager Gabe Kapler said after the game.

Prior to this victory, the Phils had been 0-14 when trailing after eight innings.

Again, a heck of a win.

But that eighth inning was troubling.

First of all, reliever Seranthony Dominguez had trouble throwing strikes in his second inning of work. He walked two and both came around to score on a one-out triple by Daniel Descalso.

Second, there was the defense — not so much Segura’s errant throw that bounced off of Descalso and allowed him to score the go-ahead run, but what preceded that.

Descalso’s triple split the gap between leftfielder McCutchen and centerfielder Odubel Herrera. Off the bat, the ball looked like it should have been caught for the second out of the inning. Next thing you knew, it was rolling toward the wall.

“I’ve got to catch that ball,” McCutchen said after the game. “It’s a ball I know I can catch if I stay on my route.”

Kapler called the play a “communication challenge” between McCutchen and Herrera. He went on to acknowledge that while the play was not routine, “with a little better communication, that ball is caught.”

McCutchen looked to be in control of the play until Herrera came into the picture. McCutchen said he had a bead on the ball but had to “veer off” his route because he feared colliding with Herrera.

“We have to do a better job communicating,” McCutchen said. “We’re still learning each other. Once [Herrera] knows I can get that ball, he doesn’t have to go 100 percent to get it. Those balls can’t hit the ground.”

And when they do, three runs can score in the blink of an eye.

In this case, it all conspired against Jake Arrieta. He was on his way to getting the win in his Wrigley Field return before the fateful eighth.

Dominguez was in the game for a second inning because he had a strong, 1-2-3 seventh and Kapler was trying to pick his spot with Pat Neshek. Neshek warmed up but never came in as Dominguez unraveled. After the game, Kapler revealed that Neshek was a little sore before the game. That’s why Kapler did not use him to close out the 10th after the Phils got the lead. Juan Nicasio got a double-play ball to end the game.

It was a hard-fought win for the Phils with a couple of big hits putting them over the top. But it was probably more hard-fought than it needed to be. McCutchen was right: Those balls can’t hit the ground.

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Phillies 5, Cubs 4 (10 innings): J.T. Realmuto does it all in wacky and wild win at Wrigley Field

Phillies 5, Cubs 4 (10 innings): J.T. Realmuto does it all in wacky and wild win at Wrigley Field

BOX SCORE

CHICAGO — J.T. Realmuto was a standout offensively and defensively in leading the Phillies to a 5-4 win over the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field on Monday night.

Realmuto was the ultimate hero with a tie-breaking homer in the top of the 10th inning.

Earlier in the game, he drove in the Phils’ first run and made a nice play at the plate to help cut down a run.

Seranthony Dominguez blew a two-run lead as the Cubs surged to a 4-3 lead in the bottom of the eighth.

The Phils tied the game on a two-out hit by Jean Segura in the top of the ninth.

Jake Arrieta pitched six innings of one-run ball in his return to Wrigley Field.

The Phils have won four in a row. They are 28-19.

The Cubs are 27-18.

The keys

• Maikel Franco stroked a one-out double in the top of the ninth and Andrew McCutchen came back from being down 0-2 to draw a big two-out walk before Segura tied the game with a bloop single to right.

• Dominguez could not throw strikes in the eighth, his second inning of work. He walked two and they both scored on a game-tying triple by Daniel Descalso. Descalso scored the go-ahead run on an error by Segura. Ultimately, Segura atoned.

• Juan Nicasio got a huge double-play ball to earn the save.

• The Phillies kept the game close in the early innings by playing excellent defense. They cut down runners at the plate in the second and fifth innings. Second baseman Cesar Hernandez made a nice, charging play and throw to get a force at the plate in the second inning. In the fifth, the Cubs loaded the bases against Arrieta with one out on a double, a walk and a single. Arrieta then got Albert Almora Jr. to hit a fly ball to rightfielder Bryce Harper. Anthony Rizzo tagged on the play, but Harper cut him down with a strong throw to catcher Realmuto. The throw was slightly up the line. Realmuto made an athletic play to step up on the ball and sweep back with the tag to get Rizzo for the third out.

• Moments after Harper’s throw (and Realmuto’s tag) ended the bottom of the fifth, the Phillies rallied for three two-out runs in the top of the sixth to take a 3-1 lead. Cubs’ starter Yu Darvish walked two batters, including Harper, in the inning and Realmuto and Hernandez had the big hits, both with two outs. Realmuto got the Phils on the board with an RBI single and Hernandez stroked a two-run triple down the right-field line to put the Phils ahead.

Arrieta's night

The veteran right-hander made his first start against the Cubs, the team with which he won a Cy Young Award and a World Series. He has now faced all 30 teams in his career.

Arrieta was not at his sharpest — he allowed 10 base runners over six innings — but he got important outs when he had to and was the beneficiary of some excellent defense. He allowed just one run over six innings and struck out four.

Sights and sounds

The Wrigley Field crowd saluted Arrieta with a standing ovation as he reached the batter’s box in the top of the third inning. Arrieta tipped his cap in appreciation.


Health check

Victor Arano’s sore elbow is not getting better. What does it mean? (see story)

Up next

Zach Eflin (5-4, 2.89) opposes lefty Jose Quintana (4-3, 3.68) on Tuesday night.

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