Phillies

Rhys Hoskins gets that 5th at-bat, becomes Phillies' hero

Rhys Hoskins gets that 5th at-bat, becomes Phillies' hero

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ATLANTA — Rhys Hoskins flung his bat to the ground in a rare show of frustration and disgust after striking out in the eighth inning. An hour later, he had a smile on his face and beams of colored light bouncing off his face.

Ah, the redemptive ways of baseball.

Hoskins struck out three times and grounded into one of four Phillies’ double plays in his first four at-bats Tuesday night. But when the 10th inning rolled around, Hoskins got another chance to do some damage and he did plenty. He stroked a tie-breaking, two-run double to right field with two outs to start a four-run rally and help lift the Phillies to a 5-1 win over the Atlanta Braves at SunTrust Park (see first take).

“I think I learned from an early age that you have to want that fifth at-bat,” Hoskins said amid the bouncing lights and blaring music that fill the Phillies’ clubhouse (home and away) after wins. “Somehow the baseball gods always seem to put that guy into a situation to try to win the game. It happened today. That’s what we dream of as hitters, to be in that situation in extra innings.”

Hoskins hit a 2-2 pitch, a 95-mph fastball from right-hander Jose Ramirez, to score Scott Kingery and Cesar Hernandez, who both shined in setting the table. 

“Rhys’ first couple of at-bats weren’t his best of the season,” manager Gabe Kapler said. “So to see him dig in and get a knock against a guy with some velocity was pretty awesome. The entire dugout erupted on his behalf. Pretty awesome.

“He’s a strong-minded individual. There are so many guys who fold in that situation. The night starts off bad, they’re 0 for 3, they’ve punched out several times and, boom, they’re licked mentally. He just has a different level of grind. He’s just very strong mentally.”

Nick Pivetta pitched five innings of one-run ball and the bullpen delivered five scoreless. Odubel Herrera drove in a run and made a nice catch at the wall.

Kingery, who came off the bench in the seventh, drew a walk to open the 10th. With Hernandez at the plate, Kapler gave Kingery the green light and the rookie swiped second on the second pitch that Ramirez threw to Hernandez. It was a gutsy call and a gutsy play by Kingery but the Phillies had good intel on Ramirez’s move and time to the plate. Kingery slid hard and held the base with a fingertip.

“You’ve got to get a runner in scoring position somehow,” he said. “We had good information, so I felt confident.”

Kingery moved to third on a nice base-hit bunt by Hernandez, who then stole second. After struggling Carlos Santana (he’s hitting .136) struck out and Herrera popped out, Hoskins came up with two outs.

“He had a little bit of a rough day and you knew he wanted to come up big,” Kingery said. “I had a feeling he was going to get the job done there. That was just a good at-bat by a good player. It was just another example of this team getting big hits in big situations and kind of fighting until the end.”

The Phils are 10-6. They have won nine of their last 11.

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

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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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