After giving up 30 runs in 1 day, Phillies actually gain ground in race

After giving up 30 runs in 1 day, Phillies actually gain ground in race

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If you are going to take a 20-run beating, it’s best to do so in the first game of a doubleheader. And not one of those separate admission doubleheaders, an old-fashioned doubleheader in which the second game starts 30 minutes after the first one.

That way there’s no time to sit around and stew in the juices from the painful defeat.

Lace ‘em right back up. Get back out there and start swinging again.

That’s just what the Phillies did Thursday night. They won the second game of a doubleheader against the New York Mets, 9-6 (see first take). The win came just a few hours after the Mets pounded the Phillies, 24-4, and turned position players Roman Quinn and Scott Kingery into batting-practice pitchers (see story).

Rhys Hoskins made a costly error — one of four that the sloppy Phillies made — in the Mets’ 10-run fifth inning in the opener. But Hoskins came back in the nightcap and rescued the Phillies and Zach Eflin from an early two-run deficit with a three-run homer in the bottom of the first inning, and the Phillies never trailed again.

“Rhys’ homer was huge,” said Eflin, who delivered 6 2/3 innings of four-run ball for his ninth win. “As a pitcher, you always want to pitch with the lead and he got it for us.”

Hoskins has homered in three of the last four games. He has 25 on the season.

“Rhys set the tone with that big three-run home run, getting us right back in it and I think it speaks to the character of our club,” manager Gabe Kapler said. “We’re not down for long. We can take it on the chin. We can take a punch and we always get up and come out swinging. We believe in each other and I think that was on display today.”

The victory capped a crazy day of baseball. Even after a 20-run loss in the opener, the Phillies were able to pick up ground in both the NL East and NL wild-card races. They trail Atlanta by 1½ game in the division and lead the wild card race by 1½ games.

“Obviously, you never want to lose like we did (in the first game), but it happens,” Hoskins said. “We get to wake up tomorrow closer than we were today — that’s a good day.”

There were no chats, meetings, speeches or reprimands in the brief time between games.

“Nothing,” Kapler said. “These guys are professionals. They know how to prepare for the next game. They know how to wash it off. You have to have a short memory. We had an ugly first game, there’s no denying that. It was one that we wanted to forget quickly and one way to do that is to come out and win the next game. That’s just what we did.”

Hoskins said there was no need to say anything between games.

“We all saw what happened,” he said. “You just flush and move on to the next one. We know what to do to get back on the horse and win a ballgame.”

Having little time to wallow in the ugly loss helped.

“Yeah,” Hoskins said. “There’s a lot less time to think about it.”

Kapler used Quinn and Kingery for three innings of relief — they combined to allow nine runs as the game deteriorated into a comedy act — in the first game because it was a blowout and he wanted to save his bullpen. He was able to use Luis Garcia, Victor Arano and Seranthony Dominguez for big outs late in the second game — not that any one of those guys would have profiled to pitch in the first-game blowout.

“You saw it,” Hoskins said. “We don’t use guys in the first game. We used position players. Even though it’s pretty ugly, especially in the seventh inning, we have a stronger chance to win the second game, especially with the bullpen we have. You trust Gabe. It’s worked. There’s not really much else to say. We don’t see any madness in his method.”

Kingery started the second game at shortstop and ignited a three-run second inning with a solo homer. That broke an 0-for-21 drought for the rookie.

“I joked with him that I wish I knew all we had to do was put him on the mound for him to hit a homer,” Hoskins said. “A little extra adrenaline. Different adrenaline. It was good to see. He’s been grinding with the rest of us. His swing is right there. For him to see results was great.”

Kingery became the first player since Rocky Colavito of the 1968 Yankees to pitch in Game 1 of a doubleheader and homer in the second game (see video).

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All-Star Aaron Nola does literally everything in Phillies' win over Mets

All-Star Aaron Nola does literally everything in Phillies' win over Mets

Updated: 11:30 p.m.

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NEW YORK — After a frustrating extra-inning loss in Game 1 of their doubleheader, the Phillies needed shutdown innings and timely hitting in Game 2 against the Mets.

All-Star Aaron Nola took it upon himself to provide both.

Nola was completely locked in on the mound, and his fifth-inning trip to the plate was the game's decisive at-bat. After Corey Oswalt intentionally walked Maikel Franco to load the bases, Nola doubled on the first pitch he saw to clear the bases.

As sharp as Nola looked from the first pitch he threw, you got the sense that was all the offense the Phillies would need. It was, with the Phils winning, 3-1.

Here's how much of a groove Nola was in. He faced 23 batters tonight and threw two strikes among the first three pitches to 19 of them ... and one of the only hitters he didn't get ahead of 0-2 or 1-2 made a first-pitch out.

"It's really easy [to play behind him]," Rhys Hoskins said. "When I was on the DL, I got to stand in on a couple of his bullpens. Obviously, I knew he was good before but just to watch the perfection that happened in his bullpens ... there's a lot more appreciation for what he does every time he steps on the mound. Every spot was hit, everything was sharp, there were no misses in the middle of the plate. That's why he's an All-Star. It's been fun to watch and I'm really glad he's on our team.

"He's been really, really good from Day 1 of his career. For him to finally get the recognition from across the league and maybe nationally that he deserves, it was cool to see. I'm happy for him as a teammate, I'm happy for him as a friend, nobody more deserving. The guy works his tail off every single day, he's got a routine like nobody I've ever seen."

From the first through seventh innings, Nola retired 18 consecutive hitters. After walking Michael Conforto with two outs in the seventh to break the streak, Nola struck out his 10th and final batter.

In all, Nola allowed one hit and one walk over seven shutout innings with 10 Ks. He improves to 12-2 with a 2.27 ERA, moving ahead of Max Scherzer (2.33).

It was Nola's double, though, that elicited the biggest reaction from the Phillies' dugout. Not just the biggest reaction of the game. The biggest reaction all season, according to Gabe Kapler.

"That was the moment in the dugout when I heard the loudest celebration of the year," the manager said. "His teammates were so happy for him. It was pretty special."

The Phillies and idle Braves are both 50-39. Barring any postponements this week, the Phils will enter the All-Star break with one more game played than the Braves, who are off again Thursday.

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Wasted opportunities highlight Phillies' frustrating Game 1 loss

Wasted opportunities highlight Phillies' frustrating Game 1 loss

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NEW YORK — The Phillies couldn't cash in golden opportunities in the eighth and 10th innings of a tie game before falling to the Mets, 4-3, in Game 1 of Monday's doubleheader.

Wilmer Flores delivered the walk-off home run in the 10th inning, just one pitch after the Mets challenged thinking he had been hit by Victor Arano.

Arano took the loss. Seranthony Dominguez threw two perfect innings in the eighth and ninth. His 29 pitches likely make him unavailable tonight.

The Phillies are 49-39, a half-game behind the Braves for first place. Atlanta is off tonight and again Thursday.

Despite how bad the Mets have gotten, the Phils are just 20-42 against them since the start of 2015 and 9-22 at Citi Field. 

During that span, they've been out-homered by the Mets 108-50.

Wasted chances
Scott Kingery, Andrew Knapp and Maikel Franco worked consecutive one-out walks to load the bases in the eighth inning. Pinch-hitter Jesmuel Valentin forced Robert Gsellman into a full count before a strikeout and a Cesar Hernandez groundout ended the threat.

It was a very 2018 Phillies-like inning with all the pitches seen. However, in Valentin's at-bat, balls 1, 2 and 3 were all borderline strikes on the corners. 

In the 10th inning, the Phils had two on with nobody out and stranded both runners. 

In both innings, the nine-spot in the order made a key out, with Valentin failing to get a runner in from third and Dylan Cozens making the final out of the 10th.

These were spots where having one more capable bench bat could have helped the Phillies substantially. Aaron Altherr had pinch-hit earlier and Gabe Kapler wasn't about to use Jorge Alfaro off the bench with another game tonight, which left just Valentin and the whiff-prone Cozens in chances when a medium-deep fly ball or single could have won the game.

The Phillies went 2 for 13 with runners in scoring position and stranded 12 runners. Not gonna win many games like that.

Decent day for Eflin
Zach Eflin gave up a couple of hard-hit balls to Phillie-killer Asdrubal Cabrera but was otherwise effective, allowing three runs and just five base runners in five innings. Eflin retired seven of the final eight hitters he faced and exited with the game tied.

Since June 1, Eflin is 6-0 with a 2.32 ERA. The only NL starting pitchers over that stretch with a lower ERA in as many innings are Jacob deGrom and Jon Lester.

Monday was Eflin's 12th start of the season, which sets a new career high for him in the majors. He's 7-2 with a 3.15 ERA and 1.08 WHIP.

Walking the walk
Carlos Santana walked three more times in Game 1 Monday, giving him 71 on the season.

The only other major-leaguers with 70 walks this season are Mike Trout and Bryce Harper.

Santana has 22 more walks than strikeouts, by far the best ratio of any player in either league. 

And for the "Yeah but he stinks, he's hitting .217" crowd, consider this: Santana has more extra-base hits (32) than Joey Votto, as many RBI (51) as Paul Goldschmidt and a higher on-base percentage (.363) than Anthony Rizzo. 

Franco on a roll
Franco homered to left-center in the fourth, delivered an opposite-field single in the sixth and worked an eight-pitch walk to load the bases in the eighth. 

Franco is up to .273/.320/.458 on the season. Trade target Mike Moustakas, who plays the same position, is hitting .254/.309/.468.

Since June 17, Franco is 22 for 59 (.373) with six doubles, three homers and nine RBI. He's raised his OPS from .689 to .779.

Biggest Phillie-killer going?
Cabrera has just destroyed the Phillies since signing with the Mets prior to 2016.

In 41 games against the Phils over that span, Cabrera has hit .392 with 14 doubles, 11 home runs and 32 RBI. He accounted for the Mets' first and third runs in Game 1 of Monday's doubleheader, with a solo home run in the first inning and a two-out RBI double in the third off Eflin.

Luckily for the Phils, they might not have to worry about Cabrera much longer. He's one of the players the Mets are likely to trade before July 31.

Up next
The second part of today's doubleheader pits All-Star Aaron Nola (11-2, 2.41) vs. 24-year-old Mets rookie right-hander Corey Oswalt (0-1, 7.94).

No relation to Roy Oswalt.

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