Scott Kingery, Aaron Nola spark early lead as Phillies hang on late

Scott Kingery, Aaron Nola spark early lead as Phillies hang on late


The Phillies rode an early long ball by Scott Kingery and the right arm of Aaron Nola to a more-difficult-than-it-should-have-been 5-4 win over the Colorado Rockies at Citizens Bank Park on Tuesday night.

The victory gave the Phillies back-to-back wins for the first time since May 16-17 at Baltimore. 

Nola and Colorado right-hander Jon Gray hooked up in a brisk pitchers' duel. They each struck out 10.

The Phillies didn’t do a whole lot of hitting — they were out-hit, 11-4 — but they got a big one in the first inning when Kingery smacked a three-run homer with two outs. Kingery had not homered since April 10. He hit a 1-2 fastball over the wall in left-center, making Gray pay for a pair of walks.

Kingery’s homer was one of just three hits that Gray gave up in six innings. However, he walked four, including two more in the third inning to set up Kingery’s fourth RBI of the game, a sacrifice fly to center field.

Jesmuel Valentin capped the Phillies' scoring with a pinch-hit RBI single in the eighth. Ultimately, the run proved huge.

Nola was sensational. He gave up just four hits and no walks in matching his season-high strikeout total. He threw 108 pitches and got 15 swinging strikes, nine on his curveball.

Nola is now 8-2 with a 2.27 ERA in 14 starts (see story).

Nola left the game with two runners on base and two outs in the bottom of the seventh. Edubray Ramos gave up a first-pitch base hit, scuttling the shutout bid.

Tommy Hunter pitched a scoreless eighth. The Phils led 5-1 heading to the bottom of the ninth. All hell broke loose in the frame as the Rockies collected five straight hits against Luis Garcia and Seranthony Dominguez and scored three runs to make it a one-run game. Dominguez struck out dangerous Nolan Arenado for the final out with two men on base.

The Rockies (32-34) have lost nine of their last 11.

The Phillies are 34-30 and 21-11 at home.

• More proof that he is being phased out of the picture (see story), Maikel Franco did not start for the fifth straight game. J.P. Crawford got the start at third base.

• The Phillies wore their cream-colored uniforms and red and blue caps. That combination is usually reserved for day games. The Phillies wore that combo so they would line up with Rhys Hoskins, who needs to wear his blue and red batting helmet because it protects his broken jaw. Hoskins is awaiting a red helmet with jaw protection.

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A simpler approach could get Rhys Hoskins to the future slugger we envisioned

A simpler approach could get Rhys Hoskins to the future slugger we envisioned

The Phillies finally got their slugger of the future.

That’s what Phillies fans and many people around the game were thinking after Rhys Hoskins became the fastest player in MLB history to slug 18 career home runs, accomplishing the feat in 34 games. Hoskins set the mark in a win against the Miami Marlins on September 14th, 2017 and you can relive it today on NBC Sports Philadelphia.

That home run off of former Phillie Vance Worley would also be the last of Hoskins’ rookie campaign. In the two seasons that have followed since, Hoskins has hit a more-than-respectable 63 total home runs. But his slugging percentage dropped in each season since 2017, going from .618 SLG as a rookie to .454 SLG in 2019.

So, where does Hoskins go from here? It would be overly critical to question whether Hoskins will be a one-year wonder. He has posted solid, if not spectacular, power numbers since that first season. But he also hasn’t been anywhere near the conversation for best power hitters in the National League either.

Here’s a reason for optimism: As much as he said the right things, my sense is that Hoskins was negatively impacted by the launch angle, pitch-taking mindset set forth as dogma by the Gabe Kapler regime. Hoskins already possesses those tendencies naturally. Adding more thought to the equation led to plate paralysis. As walks increased, production diminished from a player that this franchise is counting upon to create runs. With Joe Girardi and hitting coach Joe Dillon at the helm, there’s reason to think we’ll see Hoskins get back to “see ball, hit ball” mode.

It also can’t hurt to have a full season under his belt with Bryce Harper. While the two have a good relationship, it couldn’t have been easy to go from leading man to best supporting actor status. That dynamic should come more comfortably for Hoskins in the seasons ahead.

Who knows what the 2020 season will look like? Or if we’ll even have a season? But my bet is that Hoskins figures it out and puts together a 40 home run season in the not-too-distant future.

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Phillies Talk podcast: Shane Victorino joins to talk some ball


Phillies Talk podcast: Shane Victorino joins to talk some ball

A special guest joined the Phillies Talk podcast Friday: former Phillies All-Star and World Series champion Shane Victorino.

• Victorino on the sports shutdown

• His love of Philly, the fans and how they embraced him

• Why Philly made such a difference in his life

• The confidence that Charlie Manuel and Gene Lamont gave him

• Shane on his famous walk-off outfield assist

• Victorino's 40-yard dash vs. Troy Polamalu

• Victorino on Bryce Harper

• His message to Phillies fans

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