jeremy hellickson

Phillies 4, Nationals 2: Phils' hot homestand rolls on with win over weakened Nats

Phillies 4, Nationals 2: Phils' hot homestand rolls on with win over weakened Nats

The Phillies did not tear the cover off the ball Friday night, but they got a pair of long balls, including a big one from Rhys Hoskins, in rallying for a 4-2 win over the Washington Nationals at Citizens Bank Park.

Hoskins’ second homer in as many games was a three-run shot in the bottom of the sixth. It put the Phils up by two runs.

Hoskins leads the Phillies with 10 homers. He has 62 homers since his big-league debut on Aug. 10, 2017. That is the most in the National League over that span and third-most in the majors behind Oakland’s Khris Davis and Boston’s J.D. Martinez, both of whom entered Friday with 70.

Thirty-four of Hoskins' 62 career homers have either tied the game or given the Phils a lead.

The Phillies are in the midst of putting together a nice homestand. They are 5-2 with two games to play. They are 13-6 at home and lead the NL East at 18-13.

The keys

• With his team up, 2-1, in the bottom of the sixth, Washington manager Dave Martinez brought in lefty Dan Jennings to face Bryce Harper with a man on first base. Jennings walked Harper on five pitches. Jennings then had to face the right-handed hitting Hoskins with two men on base. Hoskins unloaded a 1-1 pitch, a sweeping breaking ball, and sent it into the left-field seats to give the Phillies a 4-2 lead.

The Phillies were happy to see starter Jeremy Hellickson leave the game. He allowed just four hits and struck out nine over 5⅓ walk-free innings. The soft-serving Hellickson has 15 strikeouts in 13⅓ innings against the Phillies this season.

• Jean Segura hit an opposite-field homer in the first inning, his second of the season. He added an infield hit to start the sixth-inning rally in front of Bryce Harper and Hoskins. Segura is hitting .345 with a .931 OPS.

• Phillies manager Gabe Kapler lifted starter Jerad Eickhoff after just five innings and 87 pitches. The score was 1-1 at the time. It did not stay that way long as Seranthony Dominguez gave up a one-out homer to Kurt Suzuki in the sixth. Dominguez had Suzuki, 0-2, but could not put him away. Dominguez threw Suzuki all fastballs and the Washington catcher hit the fourth one in the seats to break the tie.

• Good job by Phillies relievers Adam Morgan, Pat Neshek and Hector Neris. They combined for three scoreless innings to protect a two-run lead.

Morgan has 16 straight scoreless appearances, a team record to open a season.

Eickhoff’s night

The right-hander pitched well again. He went five innings and allowed just one run. He walked three and struck out five. Eickhoff appeared to have another inning in him, but Kapler went to the bullpen in the sixth. Dominguez gave up a tie-breaking homer in that frame, but the Phils’ bats got the lead back in the bottom of the inning and Dominguez vultured the win. Eickhoff once again featured a pair of good breaking balls, curveball and slider, to complement a fastball that topped at about 91 mph.

Harper’s night

He snapped an 0-for-14 skid with a leadoff double in the bottom of the fourth. He died on third. His walk before Hoskins’ homer in the sixth was his 24th, tops in the NL.

Weakened opponent

The Nationals have three key players — Trea Turner, Ryan Zimmerman and Anthony Rendon — on the injured list and Juan Soto did not play because of back spasms. The Phillies are 3-3 against the Nats this season. Washington is 13-18, five games behind the first-place Phils.

Up next

Pretty good pitching matchup at the yard Saturday night as Jake Arrieta (4-2, 3.46) faces Washington lefty Patrick Corbin (2-1, 3.58). The Phillies tried to sign Corbin in the offseason.

The Phillies will honor Jimmy Rollins with a retirement ceremony before the game.

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Best of MLB: Former Phillies Worley, Hellickson, Happ all dominant in wins

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Best of MLB: Former Phillies Worley, Hellickson, Happ all dominant in wins

BALTIMORE -- Jeremy Hellickson threw seven outstanding innings in his Orioles debut, Caleb Joseph homered and Baltimore beat the Kansas City Royals 6-0 Wednesday night to complete a three-game sweep.

Playing in his second game with Baltimore, Tim Beckham doubled, tripled and drove in two runs.

The Orioles' five-game winning streak is their longest since early May, and they now stand just 2 games behind Kansas City for the second AL wild-card slot.

The Royals had won 10 of 11 before coming up flat at Camden Yards, scoring only three runs in 27 innings. They showed their frustration in the ninth inning, when Mike Moustakas was tossed after complaining about a third-strike call and manager Ned Yost was ejected for joining the argument.

Hellickson (1-0), obtained Saturday from Philadelphia, limited Kansas City to five hits, issuing one walk and allowing only one runner to reach third base (see full recap).

Worley earns 1st victory since May 2016
MIAMI -- Vance Worley pitched seven innings and faced the minimum number of batters to earn his first victory since May 2016, helping the Miami Marlins beat the Washington Nationals 7-0 on Wednesday.

Worley (1-2) allowed only two hits, and both baserunners were erased on double play grounders hit by Bryce Harper. Worley lowered his ERA from 6.42 to 5.31 while facing the highest-scoring team in the National League.

Dee Gordon tripled, singled twice, scored three times, drove in a run, stole two bases and made an acrobatic defensive play. Gordon extended his hitting streak to 13 games, matching his career high.

Teammates Christian Yelich and Derek Dietrich hit two-run homers. Right fielder Giancarlo Stanton leaped at the wall to rob Brian Goodwin of a home run for the final out to preserve a four-hit shutout.

By taking the rubber game of the three-game set, the Marlins have won four consecutive series for the first time since late 2015. They're still 12 games behind the NL East-leading Nationals, however (see full recap).

Happy strikes out 10 in Blue Jays’ win
CHICAGO -- J.A. Happ had a season-high 10 strikeouts in seven innings, matching his longest start of the season, as the Toronto Blue Jays beat the Chicago White Sox 5-1 on Wednesday.

Happ (4-8) gave up a run and six hits while walking one to get his first win since July 4. He last got through seven innings in his first start of the season on April 5.

Justin Smoak extended his hitting streak to nine games and reached base three times for the Blue Jays, who won two of three in a matchup of last-place teams. Steve Pearce and Josh Donaldson added solo home runs.

Roberto Osuna entered with two on and nobody out in the ninth inning, and set down three straight batters to earn his 27th save.

Derek Holland (5-11) gave up two runs and five hits with four walks in six innings (see full recap).

Trade deadline review: Klentak talks prospects, buyer's market, August deals

Trade deadline review: Klentak talks prospects, buyer's market, August deals

The trade of Joaquin Benoit to the Pittsburgh Pirates on Monday completed Phillies general manager Matt Klentak's flurry of activity during deadline week.

In totality, Klentak traded four rental veterans in Pat Neshek, Howie Kendrick, Jeremy Hellickson and Benoit and got back three right-handed pitching prospects, two left-handed pitching prospects, a major-league outfielder in Hyun Soo Kim and a Single A shortstop. They also received about $1 million in international bonus pool money, which places them in pretty exclusive company league-wide (see story).

The highest-upside player the Phillies acquired in the four trades was lefty McKenzie Mills, who came over from Washington in the Kendrick deal. Mills was 12-2 with a 3.01 ERA, 10.1 strikeouts per nine innings and 1.9 walks in 18 starts with the Nationals' Class A affiliate.

The other players may end up just being organizational depth. It's too difficult to project whether another team's prospect(s) will eventually impact your big-league club until he shows what he's got at Double A or Triple A.

If one or two of the players in their early-20s the Phillies acquired this week pan out, it will have been a job well done by Klentak, who lacked leverage with all four veterans. Neshek, Kendrick, Hellickson and Benoit are all free agents after the season, and there were question marks about three of them. Hellickson and Benoit have underwhelmed this season, and Kendrick missed 61 of the first 100 games with injuries.

The Phillies' getting anything at all in return for Hellickson and Benoit was basically a win.

"If a player's hurt or he's not performing well, it's hard to move him," Klentak said Monday. "I talked about this with Neshek and Howie and Jeremy and I'll say it with Joaquin as well: These guys delivered. We brought them in here to play a role for this team, they did it, and now they all find themselves in playoff races for the next two months."

(They "delivered" in different ways. Neshek and Kendrick were obviously much more productive when on the field than Hellickson and Benoit.)

It's been an interesting month of July across baseball. Big names like Yu Darvish, Jose Quintana, Sonny Gray and J.D. Martinez were traded. Rentals were moved. A lot of relievers were acquired by their old teams — David Robertson, Tommy Kahnle, Joe Smith, David Hernandez, Jeremy Jeffress.

The Phillies didn't have a big fish capable of bringing back a strong return, and it looked a lot like a buyer's market anyway.

"Every market is a little bit different," Klentak said after the deadline passed. "The activity and the phone calls were pretty heavy, really from that first Monday coming out of the All-Star Break. It was pretty consistent. I never felt like we were at a disadvantage. I do think that teams, especially early, were targeting players with multiple years of control, not the rentals. But as you've seen over the last 24-48 hours, obviously the rentals were moved as well."

The Phillies can still make trades in August but the process is more difficult. To be traded, a player must first be placed on waivers. If he is claimed by another team, the Phillies would be able to negotiate a trade with only that one team. If the player goes unclaimed, the Phillies would be able to trade him anywhere.

The thing is, young and inexpensive players like Tommy Joseph, Cesar Hernandez, Freddy Galvis and Cameron Rupp would surely be claimed because there would be no risk for the claiming team. The real risk of claiming a player in August is if he's expensive and the original team just says, "You take his contract." But with players like Joseph, Hernandez, Galvis and Rupp, their salaries are so low (relatively speaking, obviously) that a team would be fine with assuming one of their contracts.

For those reasons, it seems like the only potential August trade candidate the Phillies have is Daniel Nava, who's currently on the 10-day DL with a hamstring strain.

"I think these were probably the four biggest salaried players that we had to trade," Klentak said of the four players he dealt this week. "And sometimes it's the guys who make money that become August trade targets. That doesn't mean we won't be active, but I think it's possible. We'll see."