Colorado Rockies

Phillies 7, Rockies 5: Bryce Harper's game-winning HR leads Phils to sweep on getaway day

Phillies 7, Rockies 5: Bryce Harper's game-winning HR leads Phils to sweep on getaway day


Bryce Harper clobbered a baseball for the second straight afternoon and his home run proved to be the game-winner as the Phillies completed a three-game sweep of the Rockies with a 7-5 win.

It was Harper's ninth home run of the season and second in two months off Rockies lefty specialist Mike Dunn. Harper has five extra-base hits over his last four games — three doubles and two homers. 

Harper is up to .304/.407/.537 this season against left-handed pitchers with six doubles and three homers in 54 plate appearances.

He's heating up. In their next series, the Phillies face three consecutive lefties Tuesday through Thursday.

With Hector Neris unavailable after pitching two innings Saturday, Juan Nicasio, Adam Morgan and Pat Neshek were strong in relief.

Nicasio struck out Charlie Blackmon and Trevor Story in the seventh inning and got Nolan Arenado to ground out with two men aboard to end the threat. Morgan pitched a 1-2-3 eighth with two strikeouts. Neshek threw 11 pitches to earn his third save of the season.

The sweep was the Phillies' second of the season. They wrapped up their homestand Sunday with a 4-3 record and are 18-10 at home. 

The Phils are 27-19 overall as they hit the road for a week-long trip. They lead the Braves by 2½ games, the Mets by 6½ games and the Nationals by 7½ games. The Mets have lost five in a row.

Clutch off the bench

J.T. Realmuto, who did not start, snapped a three-week home run drought with a pinch-hit, two-run shot off Rockies reliever Bryan Shaw in the sixth inning. It was Realmuto's first career pinch-hit homer and it tied the game three batters before Harper put the Phils ahead for good.

Andrew Knapp started in Realmuto's place and walked three times, scoring twice. 

McCutchen stays hot

Andrew McCutchen had another productive day at the plate, reaching his first three times up with a walk, a two-run single and another single.

The two-run single should have been a double and it could have been a bases-clearing double had Knapp read it correctly on first base. It was a deep drive to left-center field but Knapp hesitated thinking it had a chance to be caught. As a result, he advanced only to second.

In his final AB of the day, McCutchen lined out sharply to warning track in left-center.

Eickhoff regressing

Jerad Eickhoff hadn't allowed a home run in 30 innings entering his last start against the Brewers. Milwaukee homered off him twice and the Rockies hit three more on Sunday. That's five home runs Eickhoff has allowed in his last nine innings.

His ERA has risen to 3.23. Eickhoff does not have a huge margin for error. He's heavily reliant on his curveball to the point that facing the same team twice in less than a month can be more problematic for him than other pitchers.

The Rockies came into Sunday's game having scored an average of 6.9 runs per game in May, by far the most in the National League. The Cubs, who the Phillies face next, are second at 5.1.

Kingery's back

Scott Kingery (hamstring) returned from a month-long absence and got his first-ever start in center field. He stroked a line-drive single to left in his first at-bat and later walked and stole a base.

With Odubel Herrera hitting .234 with a .297 on-base percentage, Kingery could continue to see regular time in center field, especially against left-handed starters.

Up next

The Phillies head to the midwest for a seven-game road trip to Chicago and Milwaukee, beginning with four games at Wrigley Field.

There are two very interesting pitching matchups in the Cubs series. 

In Game 1, Jake Arrieta faces the pitcher the Cubs chose to pay instead of him: Yu Darvish. 

In Game 3, it's a battle of left-handed Coles past and present. The Phillies are the only team Cole Hamels has never faced.

Monday night at 8:05 — Jake Arrieta (4-4, 4.02) vs. Yu Darvish (2-3, 5.14)

Tuesday night at 7:07 — Zach Eflin (5-4, 2.89) vs. LHP Jose Quintana (4-3, 3.68)

Wednesday night at 8:05 — LHP Cole Irvin (2-0, 2.77) vs. LHP Cole Hamels (4-0, 3.13)

Thursday afternoon at 2:20 — Aaron Nola (4-0, 4.47) vs. LHP Jon Lester (3-2, 2.09)

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Rockies 4, Phillies 1: Phillies' offense doesn't show up until it's too late in series finale

Rockies 4, Phillies 1: Phillies' offense doesn't show up until it's too late in series finale


DENVER — The Phillies capped an unpleasant visit to Coors Field with a 4-1 loss on Sunday afternoon.

The offense produced just five hits and three of them came with two outs in the ninth as the Phils rallied for their only run. Colorado's Wade Davis retired Cesar Hernandez with two men on base to end the game.

The Phils lost three of four in the series and head to New York at 12-9.

The Phils are 5-13 against the Rockies since the start of the 2017 season. They have lost seven of the eight games that they’ve played at Coors Field since last September and been outscored 58-21.

The keys

• Two hits through 8 2/3 innings in Coors Field. That won't do it.

• Colorado starter Jon Gray kept the Phillies' hitters off-balance with a fastball that reached 97 mph and a slider/curveball mix that produced 13 swings and misses. Gray allowed just one hit over six shutout innings. He walked four and struck out five.

• With the Phillies down 1-0 in the fourth inning, Hernandez made a base-running blunder that ultimately cost his team a run. Hernandez had reached second in a muffed force play but did not notice that the ball had come loose and walked off the field toward the dugout and was tagged out.

Eickhoff’s day

Jerad Eickhoff had a solid outing in his first start of the season. He gave up just one run through five innings then paid for a couple of no-out walks en route to giving up three runs in the sixth. 

Like Aaron Nola the night before, Eickhoff got some big outs with runners on base. He did not get enough run support to pitch over the sixth inning. After the two walks, he gave up a single and a two-run double as Colorado built its lead to 4-0 in that frame. In all, Eickhoff allowed seven hits and four walks over six innings. He struck out eight.

Missing pop

Cleanup man Rhys Hoskins had three hits on Friday night and three more on Saturday before a hitless day in the series finale. He has gone seven games without an extra-base hit.

Phillie killer

Colorado’s Charlie Blackmon entered the four-game series hitting .219 with a .567 OPS. He ended the series hitting .286 with a .802 OPS. He had 10 hits, including two doubles and two triples, in 18 at-bats.

For his career, Blackmon is 56 for 161 (.348) with 10 homers and 23 RBIs against the Phils.

Health check

After an MRI, Phillies officials have determined that Scott Kingery’s hamstring strain is mild. There is still no timetable for his return. He suffered the injury Friday night.

Up next

The Phils visit Citi Field for the first time in the new season for a three-game series against the Mets (11-10) beginning on Monday night. Jake Arrieta looks to continue his strong start in the opener against Steven Matz. The Phils hung eight runs on Matz in the first inning of a game in Philadelphia last week. Zach Eflin pitches Tuesday night against Zack Wheeler and Vince Velasquez on Wednesday night against Jason Vargas.

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A step forward for Aaron Nola and a dream come true for Phil Gosselin

A step forward for Aaron Nola and a dream come true for Phil Gosselin

DENVER — Phil Gosselin had been here before, just not in front of 40,530 fans.

“I’ve been up with the bases loaded a lot for the Phillies,” he said late Saturday night in the visiting clubhouse at Coors Field. “It was just in my backyard as a kid and it didn’t really count.”

This one counted.

“It felt good to come through,” he said with a smile.

Gosselin grew up in West Chester, saw his first big-league game at Veterans Stadium wearing a Scott Rolen shirt, and went on to star at Malvern Prep and the University of Virginia. All these years later, after stops on the big-league trail in Atlanta, Arizona, Pittsburgh, Cincinnati and Texas, Gosselin helped the team he grew up rooting for — the team that he says made him fall in love with baseball — win a game.

The 30-year-old infielder clubbed a three-run double in the fourth inning to give the Phils a lead that they never relinquished in an 8-5 win over the Colorado Rockies (see observations).

What would that little kid in the backyard think now?

“He would think it was all a dream, to be honest,” Gosselin said. “It was always a goal of mine. I never thought I was that great. I never thought I’d be in the big leagues, if I’m being honest. It was one of those pinch-yourself kind of moments.”

Gosselin signed a minor-league deal with the Phils in December and was recalled from Triple A Lehigh Valley on Wednesday. He got the start, his first with the Phils, at shortstop after the team placed Scott Kingery and Jean Segura on the injured list earlier Saturday (see story). Both have hamstring injuries. Gosselin will likely play shortstop until Segura is eligible to come off the IL next weekend. Kingery will need more time than that.

Gosselin’s three-run double, coupled with Bryce Harper’s three-run home run late in the game, helped make a winner out of Aaron Nola on a night when the right-hander showed signs of being his old self after a rough start to the season. Gosselin’s no-out double was a long fly ball to right-center that kept carrying and carrying before hitting the top of the wall.

“I wasn’t sure if it was going to get off the wall or not,” he said. “I was talking to it the whole way. Luckily, I got enough of it.”

One night earlier, Gosselin entered the game after Kingery injured himself. He stroked a two-out single in the top of the 12th and came around to score on a double by Harper. For a few moments, it looked as if he was going to be one of the stars of an extra-innings win. Then Charlie Blackmon ended all the Phillies’ feel-good storylines with a two-run homer in the bottom of the inning and Gosselin’s hit was just a footnote to what manager Gabe Kapler called a “brutal” loss.

“Good organizations, teams that win, have guys like Gosselin come up and perform in big moments,” Kapler said. “You can't win a lot of games, you can't go to the postseason, unless you have guys from the minor leagues come up and perform. Your non-roster guy that gets a big hit for you. He's been swinging the bat really well. He's earned the right to keep rolling.

“I can only imagine what it's like to grow up in the Philadelphia area as a die-hard Phillies fan and then to come through like he did. He must be on top of the world right now.”

Even beyond the victory, which improved the Phils to 12-8, there was something important to feel good about. Nola had struggled in his previous outings. Though he allowed 10 base runners in 5 2/3 innings, he battled, made big pitches and got big outs — he had nine strikeouts — at crucial junctures of the game.

“His back was against the wall early on,” Kapler said. “He's just a fighter. Nothing fazes Aaron Nola. I know that this has been tough to struggle a little bit. But he showed you why he is such a strong performer. He's able to withstand some of that pressure.

“It was really comforting to see him come out and perform like that for us.”

Nola’s fastball reached 95 mph and his curveball got better and better as the night went on.

“I didn’t get a 1-2-3 inning all night,” Nola said. “There was always traffic on base so I had to bear down and focus on making quality pitches.”

Something to build on?

“Absolutely,” Nola said.

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