Asdrubal Cabrera

Phillies 4, Mets 3: Rhys Hoskins breaks slump with crucial home run

Phillies 4, Mets 3: Rhys Hoskins breaks slump with crucial home run

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NEW YORK – An important bat in the Phillies’ lineup woke up Friday night and lifted the team to an important win.

Slumping Rhys Hoskins clubbed a tie-breaking home run in the top of the eighth inning to help propel the Phillies to a 4-3 win over the New York Mets in the first of a three-game series at Citi Field.

Hoskins had been in an 0-for-14 skid before the home run and he was just 2 for his previous 30. The home run was his team-best 28th and it made a winner out of Aaron Nola, who allowed just three runs over seven innings.

Nola is 16-4 with a 2.29 ERA.

The Phillies entered the night 3½ games behind first-place Atlanta in the NL East. The Braves were playing a late game in Arizona.

Another Nola gem
Nola is 8-1 with a 1.94 ERA after a Phillies’ loss this season.

The right-hander allowed just three hits and a walk. He struck out eight.

However, two of the hits that Nola allowed were home runs, including a game-tying solo shot by Dominic Smith in the bottom of the seventh.

Nola has been mostly brilliant at keeping the ball in the yard this season. He allowed just eight homers in his first 27 starts. He has given up five in his last two.

Hoskins’ big hit
Hoskins’ go-ahead homer came on a 1-2 fastball – 97 mph — from Tyler Bashlor. Hoskins fell behind, 0-2, in the count but stayed alive before launching the game’s biggest hit over the wall in left.

Good bullpen work
After Hoskins gave the Phils the lead, Gabe Kapler went to his bullpen. Seranthony Dominguez delivered a 1-2-3 eighth. Tommy Hunter got the save. Hunter has not allowed a run in his last 5 2/3 innings.

The lineup
Kapler loaded his lineup with switch-hitters and right-handed bats against lefty Steven Matz. One of those switch-hitters, Carlos Santana, belted a two-run homer in the third inning. Right-handed hitters Aaron Altherr and Jose Bautista started in center and right field, respectively, and batted in the No. 3 and 4 spots in the order.

Matz ran a high pitch count and exited after five innings. The Mets brought in righty Eric Hanhold for the sixth inning and Kapler pinch-hit for Altherr and Bautista with lefty bats Odubel Herrera and Nick Williams. Herrera led off with a double and scored on a one-out hit by Asdrubal Cabrera to give the Phils a 3-2 lead.

Make the skipper smile
Kapler is always talking about how he loves long at-bats where the hitter makes the pitcher work and does damage at the end of the at-bat. Santana’s at-bat in the third was nirvana for Kapler. Santana worked a full-count and hit the 10th pitch of the at-bat out of the park for a two-run homer.

Santana is hot
At a time when the Phillies really need his bat, Santana has five homers and 14 RBIs in his last 17 games. He is up to 22 homers and 81 RBIs for the season.

Phillie killer
Jay Bruce gave the Mets a 1-0 lead with a solo homer in the second inning. He has 22 homers and 60 RBIs in his career against the Phils.

Health check
An MRI on Maikel Franco’s sore right wrist revealed a bone bruise. He remains day to day. He was able to take some swings before the game.

Roman Quinn did not start after some lingering soreness from being hit by a pitch in the foot on Wednesday.

Up next
Tough draw for the Phillies on Saturday night as they face gas-throwing Noah Syndergaard in the second game of the series.

Syndegaard pitched a complete-game two-hitter and struck out 11 against the Giants in his last outing. Zach Eflin goes for the Phillies.

Vince Velasquez opposes Cy Young candidate Jacob deGrom in the series finale on Sunday.

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Marlins 2, Phillies 1: Failure to take advantage of a huge opportunity

Marlins 2, Phillies 1: Failure to take advantage of a huge opportunity

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MIAMI — The Phillies wasted a golden chance to make up ground in the NL East race on Wednesday night.

The Phils were manhandled by Miami Marlins rookie right-hander Sandy Alcantara in a costly 2-1 loss.

Alcantara, in just his second big-league start, held the Phils to three hits over seven scoreless innings.

The loss kept the Phillies three games behind first-place Atlanta with 23 games to play.

Atlanta lost earlier in the day, but the Phillies could not capitalize.

The Phillies lost the series to Miami. They have not won a series since Aug. 2-5.

Offense continues to be an issue for the Phillies. They have scored two or fewer runs in five of their last six games.

A big chance
Yes, Phillies players watched the Braves-Red Sox game in the clubhouse before their game. Yes, they saw the Sox come back from a 7-1 deficit to stun the Braves. The Braves’ loss gave the Phils a chance to cut their deficit in the division to two games and manager Gabe Kapler managed this one with playoff-level urgency. Down 2-0 in the top of the fifth inning and looking for offense, he used Odubel Herrera as a pinch-hitter for starting pitcher Nick Pivetta. Herrera grounded into a double play.

Looking for offense
Kapler’s desire to get some offense could be seen in his starting lineup. He sacrificed defense for offense in giving Carlos Santana his first start at third base in four years. That allowed him to get Justin Bour’s bat in the lineup at first base. Bour batted second. “This is a lineup top-heavy in on-base potential,” Kapler said before the game. “We feel like our lineup has a chance to score some runs tonight.” The plan was to substitute with stronger defense if the Phils got a lead, but they never did.

Free passes kill
The Marlins' two runs, both against Pivetta, initially reached base on a leadoff walk and a leadoff hit batsman. Ouch.

A costly play on the bases
Down 2-0, the Phils got a leadoff single from Roman Quinn in the eighth. Santana then hit a line drive to second and Quinn was doubled off first. It was a killer play because Jose Bautista then came off the bench and stroked a pinch-hit double to right-center. Bautista then scored the Phillies’ first run on a base hit to left by Asdrubal Cabrera. Facing Kyle Barraclough, Cabrera hit an 0-2 to pitch to left field to make it a 2-1 game. Rhys Hoskins stranded pinch-runner Scott Kingery at first base when he swung at a pitch out of the zone for his third strikeout of the night. Hoskins is 0 for his last 11 and that hurts.

A late chance
Down by one run, the Phils put two runners on base with one out in the ninth, but Marlins reliever Drew Steckenrider struck out Pedro Florimon and Quinn to end the game.

Santana comes alive
Santana continued to swing it well out of the leadoff spot. He doubled with one out in the third, but the Phils could not get him home.

Good work by the pen
Tommy Hunter and Seranthony Dominguez combined on four scoreless innings to keep the Phils alive.

Miami madness
Miami dismantled its roster before the season and went into a rebuilding mode. That created the opportunity for NL East teams to clean up on the Marlins. First-place Atlanta did that. It went 14-5 against the Marlins this season.

The Phils are 9-7 against the Marlins with three more games to play in Philadelphia. The Phils went 3-6 in Miami. Their performance against the lowly Marlins could end up being the difference between first and second place in the NL East.

Phils lose pitching inventory
The Phillies lost pitcher Ben Lively on waivers to the Kansas City Royals. Lively, who opened the season in the Phillies’ major-league rotation, was designated for assignment earlier in the week. He is the second pitcher that the Phils have lost on waivers in the past week. Mark Leiter Jr. was claimed by Toronto.

Up next
The Phillies are off on Thursday. They open a three-game series in New York against the Mets on Friday night. Here are the pitching matchups for series:

Friday night — RHP Aaron Nola (15-4, 2.23) vs. LHP Steven Matz (5-11, 4.20)

Saturday night — RHP Zach Eflin (9-6. 4.05) vs. RHP Noah Syndergaard (10-3, 3.33)

Sunday night — RHP Vince Velasquez (9-10, 4.10) vs. RHP Jacob deGrom (8-8, 1.68).

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Phillies get big lift from Jake Arrieta, Carlos Santana, Cesar Hernandez and Asdrubal Cabrera, pick up a game on Atlanta

Phillies get big lift from Jake Arrieta, Carlos Santana, Cesar Hernandez and Asdrubal Cabrera, pick up a game on Atlanta

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MIAMI – This was a night that Jake Arrieta needed. It was a night that Cesar Hernandez needed. And it was really a night the Phillies needed.

Arrieta bounced back from a poor outing in his previous start and slumping Hernandez made a huge offensive contribution to lead the Phillies to a 9-4 win over the Miami Marlins on Tuesday night (see first take).

Victories have been scarce for the Phillies lately. This one was just their 10th in the last 27 games but it came on a night when the NL East-leading Atlanta Braves lost to the Boston Red Sox. That means the Phillies will go into Wednesday night’s game against the Marlins trailing the Braves by just three games in the division. The Phillies will be looking for their first series win since early August. Nick Pivetta will be their starting pitcher. In two starts against Miami this season, he has allowed just two runs in 11 2/3 innings. He has struck out 16 and walked none.

Pivetta hopes to get some of the run support that Arrieta got on Tuesday night.

The Phillies had scored a total of just three runs in losing their previous three games entering Tuesday night. They had just four base runners in Monday’s 3-1 loss to the Marlins. The Phils blew past both of those numbers in the first inning Tuesday night. They had six base runners and scored four runs in the first inning.

“I think we probably feel a lot more confidence having had this game,” manager Gabe Kapler said.

Kapler used Carlos Santana in the leadoff spot for the fifth time this season and Santana immediately responded with a tone-setting leadoff homer in the first inning.

Hernandez had been the leadoff hitter for most of the season but a recent slump caused Kapler to move him around. He’d hit third recently. He’d also hit ninth. In this game, Hernandez hit seventh. He came to the plate against Miami starter Trevor Richards with the bases loaded in the first inning and delivered a three-run triple.

“I thought the Cesar triple was especially notable and it was notable because it was a hit we’ve been missing,” Kapler said. “It wasn’t quite a kill shot at that point, but it was the ball that we just haven’t driven into the gap or down the line for extra bases with the bases juiced, so a really quality performance by Cesar.”

Hernandez was on base four times with two hits and two walks. He had entered the game hitting .189 (23 for 122) in his previous 31 games. His on-base percentage was .298 over that span and his slugging percentage was .270.

Before the game, Hernandez received some counsel from Santana.

“Every time you talk to one of your teammates, it's really good,” Hernandez said. “That's something we have going on in this clubhouse. We all look out for each other. We all help each other. Something Santana told me was to try to remember what I was doing earlier in the season. I was very successful. There have been a few games where I wasn't hitting the ball well. So he just told me to calm down, try to remember what I was doing before. And, yeah, it helped.”

Said Kapler, “We’ve moved Cesar around into a couple different spots in the lineup, made him a little uncomfortable, and he’s been just a pro and an excellent teammate through all of that. I’m sure it was a huge weight off his shoulders to come through big for us and help us win that game.”

Asdrubal Cabrera also drove in three runs with a double and a homer. Santana was on base three times and drove in a pair.

Would Kapler consider using Santana in the leadoff spot again Wednesday night?

“It’s really interesting because in some ways you’d say consistency would be running the same lineup back out there, but really, I think the consistent move is to examine the lineup and see what makes sense for tomorrow,” he said.

Arrieta lasted only three innings in his previous start against Washington. He threw 75 pitches in that game and got just one swing and miss. He threw 108 pitches over 7 1/3 innings in this outing and got 18 swing and misses, mostly with his sinker and curveball. He struck out a season-high 11.

“What a gutsy performance by Jake,” Kapler said. “Proven, battle-tested veteran pitcher. We got him the lead and he knew exactly what to do with it.”

There are 24 games remaining in the regular season. The Phillies play seven of their final 11 against Atlanta, but they must stay close to the Braves for those games to have meaning.

“We know that Atlanta is playing Boston,” Arrieta said. “But we need to handle business here. Tonight we took care of business.”

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