Phillies

Wilson Ramos' dominant Phillies debut wakes up offense in win over Red Sox

Wilson Ramos' dominant Phillies debut wakes up offense in win over Red Sox

BOX SCORE

Wilson Ramos made a big impact in his first game with the Phillies.

Make that a huge impact.

Ramos, acquired in a trade deadline deal two weeks ago and activated from the disabled list on Wednesday afternoon, had a career-high three extra-base hits to help the Phillies come from three runs down to beat the Boston Red Sox, 7-4, at Citizens Bank Park on Wednesday night.

Ramos had two doubles and a triple on his way to three RBIs.

Ramos started a game-tying, three-run rally in the fourth inning with an RBI double.

Two innings later, he led off with a triple – just the second of his career and first since 2011 – and scored the go-ahead run on a pinch-hit sacrifice fly by Scott Kingery.

In the seventh, Ramos drove in two more runs with his second double of the game. The Phils sent eight men to the plate in that inning and scored three runs.

The Phillies’ bullpen was outstanding with 6 2/3 innings of one-run ball.

Over the course of two weeks, the Phillies played the Red Sox four times. The Phils won two and lost two, a more than respectable showing against baseball’s best team.

In those four games, Phillies pitching allowed just eight runs.

The Phillies, who entered the day two games behind first-place Atlanta in the NL East, are 66-53. They have matched their wins total from last season with 43 games remaining.

Vince Velasquez struggled for the second straight outing. He lasted just 2 1/3 innings and gave up three runs, all of which came in the third inning.

Velasquez’s wounds in the third inning were largely self-inflicted. He issued a one-out walk to the pitcher then hit Andrew Benintendi with an 0-2 pitch before the Red Sox loaded the bases on an infield hit by Brock Holt. That brought Mitch Moreland to the plate and he unloaded on a 1-1 fastball, sending a line drive to the wall in left-center to clear the bases. The ball got by centerfielder Odubel Herrera, who may have saved a run if he could have cut off the ball.

After Moreland’s hit, Velasquez walked the next two batters to re-load the bases. Hector Neris came on and got two outs to stop the damage.

Neris’ work in his first action since returning from Triple A was important because it kept the game close and the Phillies were able to tie it with three runs in the bottom of the fourth inning. Rhys Hoskins reached base on an error to start the rally. Nick Williams singled and Ramos launched an RBI double off the right-field wall for a run. Herrera drove home the second run with a ground ball to first and Carlos Santana tied it with a pinch-hit single to right.

Santana did not start as manager Gabe Kapler went with Justin Bour at first base (see story). Santana essentially filled Bour’s pinch-hitting role and came through with his 67th RBI.

Bour made a big contribution on defense to stop a Boston threat in the top of the sixth. The Sox had runners on first and second with two outs in a tie game. Reliever Tommy Hunter got pinch-hitter Steve Pearce to hit a ground ball to the right side. The ball had a chance to get through the hole because Cesar Hernandez was shifted toward second base. Hernandez was able to halt the ball and make an off-balance throw to Bour at first. Initially, it looked like Bour was not able to hold the bag as he stretched for the throw. But replays showed he did hold the bag for the third out and that prevented the go-ahead run from scoring.

In the bottom of the inning, the Phillies rallied to break the tie on a pinch-hit sacrifice fly by Kingery. Ramos scored on the play after opening the frame with a triple.


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Where’s Bryce Harper? How about Roamin’ Roman? A few observations from Phillies camp

Where’s Bryce Harper? How about Roamin’ Roman? A few observations from Phillies camp

CLEARWATER, Fla. — The Phillies came out with four runs in the bottom of the first inning and held on for a 4-3 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates in exhibition play Sunday afternoon at Spectrum Field.

Didi Gregorius, Jay Bruce and newcomer Kyle Garlick, picked up in a trade with the Dodgers last week, had the big hits in the first inning.

But when manager Joe Girardi sized up the win, he pointed to the guy in center field.

Roman Quinn led off the bottom of the first with a double and eventually scored, but his biggest contribution of the game came on defense, where he made two standout catches in the fifth inning.

“He was probably the reason we won the game,” Girardi said.

Quinn raced to his left and made a diving catch for the first out in the fifth inning. He ended the frame by going back to the wall and making a tough catch. Both of the catches came with runners on base.

“Quinn’s defense was really good,” Girardi said. “Two different types of catches in the same inning. He has the ability to run down so many balls. I don’t think you can ever outrun a baseball but he can come close. He gets really good jumps.”

Several times early in camp, Girardi has recalled seeing Quinn a few years ago when Girardi was still skippering the Yankees. Like so many others, Girardi was always impressed with Quinn’s speed and electricity. Quinn, of course, has never been able to stay healthy. That’s probably why the general consensus is that Adam Haseley has come into camp tops on the depth chart in center field. But this will end up being a good position battle as camp unfolds if Quinn stays healthy.

“I believe it’s a competition,” Girardi said earlier in camp. “Both good players. Haseley made great strides last year and Roman can be a difference maker when he’s healthy and on base. He can create a lot of problems. Switch-hitter. He has the ability to take the pitcher’s attention off the hitter at times and score on balls in the gap.”

THE THIRD BASE EXPERIMENT

Jean Segura made his first start at third base on Sunday and made several plays. He also had a ball bounce off his glove. It was a play he probably should have conceded to shortstop Didi Gregorius.

Segura is moving off of shortstop to make room for Gregorius, who signed as a free agent in the offseason.

Segura has never played third base before. The Phillies are hoping he can handle the position so Scott Kingery can play second. But a final decision on where Segura — and Kingery by extension — plays is probably still several weeks away. Segura can play second and has told the team he’d be comfortable there. His ability to play third base is under evaluation by both him and the team.

“The plays don’t look hard for him,” Girardi said. “It’s the reads he has to get accustomed to. We just have to continue to get him reps there because as he has said all along that he can play second in his sleep. Third is the trickier one for him.

“He has the hands, he has the quickness, he has the range, he has the arm. It’s embracing it and if you make a wrong read, it’s not being embarrassed. It’s saying, ‘OK, I learned from that.’ “

Embracing a position change, Girardi added, “is a lot of the battle.”

WHERE’S BRYCE?

Bryce Harper has not played in the first two games. Nothing is wrong. It’s a long camp and Girardi said Harper would start Tuesday in Clearwater.

“That’s just the schedule we planned out a while back,” Girardi said.

WHERE’S WHEELER?

Zack Wheeler has been throwing to hitters at the minor-league complex. His first start is slated for Saturday in Dunedin against the Blue Jays.

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Phillies ace Aaron Nola gets early offense, 3 K’s in spring debut

Phillies ace Aaron Nola gets early offense, 3 K’s in spring debut

CLEARWATER, Fla. -- Aaron Nola’s spring debut went rather nicely Sunday afternoon. He came out of the gate with two scoreless innings and was supported by four runs in the bottom of the first inning.

Nola threw 28 pitches over his two innings of work. Eighteen were strikes. He allowed three singles, walked none and struck out one. He was relieved by lefty JoJo Romero in the third inning.

It is presumed that Nola will be the Phillies’ opening day starter though manager Joe Girardi has not made an announcement yet.

The Phils’ offense looked good early. Roman Quinn led off the bottom of the first with a double and scored on a hit by Jean Segura. Jay Bruce added a two-run double in the inning and newcomer Kyle Garlick had an RBI single.

In other news, the Phanatic unveiled his new look before the game and the world kept on spinning.

More later.

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