Trevor Plouffe

Phillies win wild one thanks to Trevor Plouffe's bomb and the majors' best bullpen in July

Phillies win wild one thanks to Trevor Plouffe's bomb and the majors' best bullpen in July

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The Phillies’ front office lost out on another bullpen trade target when the New York Yankees landed Baltimore closer Zach Britton on Tuesday night. The Phils had coveted the left-hander and tried to swing a deal for him. They also liked Brad Hand, another left-hander who went from San Diego to Cleveland.

It’s no secret that general manager Matt Klentak would like to add a bullpen weapon for the stretch drive.

But if you listen to the men in the clubhouse, no addition is really needed.

“Our bullpen is nasty,” Austin Davis said early Wednesday morning. “I mean, everyone from top to bottom is gross. I don’t know what the narrative is out there, but our bullpen is disgusting.”

Nasty. Gross. Disgusting.

These are superlatives in today’s pitching world. And the Phillies’ bullpen earned every one of them with the job it did Tuesday night/Wednesday morning. It racked up 11 innings of one-run ball — and the last 10 in a row were scoreless — in leading what might have been the win of the season, a wild, 7-4 victory in 16 innings over the Los Angeles Dodgers at Citizens Bank Park (see first take).

The stingy performance left the bullpen with a 2.54 ERA for the month of July.

That is the best in baseball.

Opposing batters are hitting just .201 against the Phillies’ bullpen in July. That’s the second-lowest mark in the majors.

“It's interesting,” manager Gabe Kapler said. “We rewind six weeks or so and it was a big question mark. We were struggling. We had some really heartbreaking losses and a lot of that was pinned on our bullpen. There was some validity to that. At the same time, our bullpen has performed admirably since that time period. It's kind of been the next-man-up thing. It's been sensational. We've had a lot of different people step up.”

The Phillies trailed 3-0 early in the game, tied it on a booming, two-run homer by Jorge Alfaro in the seventh and won it on newcomer Trevor Plouffe’s three-run home run against the Dodgers’ ninth pitcher of the game, infielder Kike Hernandez, with one out in the bottom of the 16th.

The victory, which took five hours and 55 minutes to complete, left the clubhouse rocking at 1:30 a.m., and Brother Gabe gushing about his club, which leads the NL East by a game over Atlanta.

“The most notable performance was just the group, right?” Kapler said. “It was not one person individually. It was the bullpen. It was the big hits. It was the fight. It was the tenacity. It was the grind. It was the drive. It was the character.”

The Dodgers used Hernandez even though they had a starter, Rich Hill, warming in the bullpen. After the game, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said he was saving Hill for a potential save situation. That never materialized.

Hernandez walked two batters before Plouffe came to the plate thinking of one thing: Win the game. Facing a soft-tossing infielder is not easy for a hitter who is wired to see hard stuff. Plouffe took a less-is-more approach and drove the ball over the wall in right-center for the win.

“It's tough,” said Plouffe, a former regular with the Minnesota Twins who was signed as a minor-league free agent earlier this season and had been playing at Triple A before coming up earlier this month to help on the bench. “You really have to tell yourself to slow down. They're throwing below the hitting speed usually, so I just tried to have a good at-bat. I was up there at that point trying not to strike out or hit into a double play.

“All I want to do is contribute to victories here. I love being on a winning team. I haven't been on many in my career. But they're amazing. They're fun. That's it. I just want to contribute. Tonight it was my chance to come off the bench and do it. I'm happy.”

Plouffe put much of the credit for the win where it belonged.

“Our bullpen won the game for us,” he said.

Starter Aaron Nola was hurt by poor defense and left the game after five innings. Adam Morgan allowed a homer in the sixth, but the bullpen pitched scoreless ball the next 10 innings. Victor Arano, Luis Garcia and Davis, an unheralded rookie who has racked up 24 strikeouts in 17 1/3 innings, all pitched two scoreless innings apiece. Vince Velasquez was pressed into duty and got the win thanks to a big strikeout with runners on second and third and two outs in the top of the 16th.

Davis struck out three in his two innings of work. He also got to dig into the batter’s box against Dodgers All-Star closer Kenley Jansen. Davis struck out in the at-bat, but it did not dampen his enthusiasm for the events of the evening.

And morning.

“When you win games like that, it makes it fun,” he said. “And we’re going to be ready to come tomorrow and, you know, beat them again.”

Wednesday’s series finale is set for 12:35 p.m. Sleep fast.

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Trevor Plouffe hits walk-off homer to give Phillies 16-inning win over Dodgers

Trevor Plouffe hits walk-off homer to give Phillies 16-inning win over Dodgers

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The Phillies rallied from three runs down in the seventh inning then needed what seemed like an eternity to post a wild, 7-4 win over the Los Angeles Dodgers at Citizens Bank Park on Tuesday night/Wednesday morning.

The Phillies won it on a three-run home run by Trevor Plouffe with one out in the bottom of the 16th inning.

The homer came against Kike Hernandez, a Dodgers infielder who had taken over on the mound. Hernandez walked two before Plouffe’s big hit.

Vince Velasquez, who is scheduled to start on Saturday, was pressed into duty and got the win with a scoreless inning of work in the top of the 16th.

The game took five hours and 55 minutes to play. It ended at 1:14 a.m.

The win improved the NL East-leading Phillies to 56-44. They lead Atlanta by a game. The Braves lost at Miami.

The Phillies will look for a series win over the Dodgers on Wednesday with Jake Arrieta on the mound.

The Phillies’ bullpen delivered 11 innings of one-run ball — including 10 scoreless innings in a row — after Aaron Nola departed. Victor Arano, who was originally signed by the Dodgers and acquired by the Phillies for Roberto Hernandez in August 2014, pitched scoreless ball in the eighth and ninth after the Phillies rallied to tie the game with three runs against starter Kenta Maeda in the bottom of the seventh. Two of those runs came on a booming, game-tying, two-out homer by Jorge Alfaro with two outs.

Luis Garcia and Austin Davis both pitched two scoreless innings in relief.

Nola lasted just five innings in his shortest outing since April 4. He allowed five hits, including a solo homer, and walked two on his way to giving up three runs. However, two of the runs would not have scored had the Phillies’ defense not made another poor showing.

Centerfielder Odubel Herrera and second baseman Jesmuel Valentin combined to botch a pop up to shallow center field that would have ended the first inning. The inning stayed alive and Nola threw a wild pitch to score a run from third. Alfaro, the catcher, could have saved Nola, but he was unable to block a ball that appeared quite blockable. It was the second night in a row that happened with Alfaro behind the plate and both times it cost the Phillies a run.

In the fifth inning, leftfielder Rhys Hoskins could not make a play on a catchable ball to the wall by Joc Pederson. It went for an RBI double, giving the Dodgers a 3-0 lead.

The Phillies got a run back in the bottom of the fifth on a solo homer by Nick Williams, but the Dodgers went right back up by three runs on a homer by Yasmani Grandal against Adam Morgan in the sixth. Grandal had homered against Nola earlier in the game.

Maeda did not allow a hit until there were two outs in the fourth inning. Williams’ homer got the Phils on the board in the fifth and the bats fully awakened against Maeda in the bottom of the seventh.

Carlos Santana started the uprising with a single. He scored on a double by the resurgent Maikel Franco to make it a 4-2 game. Two batters later, Alfaro unloaded on a 1-0 fastball and sent it far over the center-field wall to tie the game at 4-4. Alfaro crushed the ball. It came off the bat at 114 mph and traveled 446 feet. Alfaro knew he hit it well and he admired the shot for a second or two before breaking into his home-run trot.

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Offense backs Enyel De Los Santos' solid debut in Phillies' win over Mets

Offense backs Enyel De Los Santos' solid debut in Phillies' win over Mets

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NEW YORK — The bottom of the Phillies’ batting order came through in a big way Tuesday night.

Maikel Franco, hitting in the No. 8 spot, drove in four runs with a three-run homer and an RBI single to lead the Phillies to a 7-3 win over the New York Mets at Citi Field.

The Phillies’ No. 9 hitter also had a big night, though not with the bat.

Enyel De Los Santos earned the pitching victory in his major-league debut. The 22-year-old right-hander from the Dominican Republic delivered 6 1/3 innings and allowed three runs. He gave up five hits, including a pair of triples and a double, walked three and struck out six. His fastball averaged 93 mph and topped out at 97.

De Los Santos was acquired in the December trade that sent shortstop Freddy Galvis to the San Diego Padres. He had been called up from Triple A Lehigh Valley earlier in the day to make a spot start as the Phillies needed an extra arm after playing a doubleheader on Monday.

De Los Santos was 9-3 with a 1.89 ERA in 16 starts at Lehigh Valley before his promotion. He was sent right back to Triple A as the Phillies needed to make room for Vince Velasquez to come off the disabled list and pitch on Wednesday night. But De Los Santos will leave having made a good impression and is just a phone call away should a need arise. Had the Phillies not needed De Los Santos in this game, he would have pitched in the Triple A All-Star Game on Wednesday night.

The Phillies entered the game tied for first place in the NL East with Atlanta. The victory was the Phillies’ 10th in the last 13 games and improved them to 51-39 while the Mets sagged to 36-53. And that after an 11-1 start.

Franco continued to swing a hot bat even as he remains firmly on the trading block. Manager Gabe Kapler dropped him to the eighth spot in the batting order eight games ago. Since then, Franco is 11 for 25 with a double, two homers, three walks and seven RBIs.

The Mets also used a pitcher making his major-league debut. Franco welcomed Drew Gagnon to the majors with a three-run homer in the second inning. Franco did a good job staying back on a hanging, 80-mph curveball. In the sixth inning, Franco stroked an RBI single up the middle. In between, the Phillies got a two-run single from Nick Williams in the third and a solo home run from Odubel Herrera — his career-high 16th — in the fifth.

Williams had three hits and is 9 for 22 in six games on the road trip.

There was a scary moment in the bottom of the third inning when Rhys Hoskins ran face-first into the left-field wall trying to make a play on what ended up as a triple by Amed Rosario. Hoskins went down in a heap and Kapler and athletic trainer Scott Sheridan ran out to tend to him. But Hoskins quickly sent them back to the dugout. He gave the bench a thumbs-up and stayed in the game.

Hoskins had three singles in the game. The Phillies out-hit the Mets, 13-7.

The Phillies added veteran Trevor Plouffe from Triple A before the game and he contributed a pinch-hit single in the eighth.

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