On the final night of being the only game in town for a good long while, the Phillies got a solid start from Kyle Kendrick, clutch relief work from Justin De Fratus and a whole bunch of offense from a whole bunch of guys.
The result was a 9-5 win over the Arizona Diamondbacks at Citizens Bank Park Friday night (see Instant Replay).
On Saturday, the Eagles open training camp across the street and that’s where the region’s sporting attention will turn, save for a few glances at the Ryan Howard soap opera and what will happen at next week’s trade deadline.
Speaking of Howard, it looks like his three-game benching will come to an end Saturday night against Arizona right-hander Josh Collmenter.
“We have a right-handed pitcher throwing,” manager Ryne Sandberg said. “I’ll make the lineup up. We’ll go forward. But I want him -- with a little bit of rest and some tweaking of his mechanics like he’s done the last couple of days -- to have a big game for us.”
Several Phillies hitters had big games Friday night.
Jimmy Rollins went 0 for 5, but still had a big (money) night. His second plate appearance of the game was his 1,100th since the start of 2013 and that guaranteed his 2015 contract for $11 million.
Darin Ruf, getting his third straight look at first base in place of the struggling/platooning Howard, had a double, a sacrifice fly, a walk and scored a run.
Domonic Brown swung the bat well. He drove in three runs with a groundout and a two-run homer in the seventh. The longball into the right-field seats made it a four-run game after the Diamondbacks had pulled to within two runs in the sixth inning.
Grady Sizemore batted leadoff for the Phillies and played center field. He had a single, two doubles, scored two runs and stole third base.
Sizemore is making the most of his tryout in Philadelphia -- and that’s exactly what it is as team decision makers try to determine if he can be a fit on this team next year after missing the previous two seasons with a myriad of injuries. In 11 games with the Phils, Sizemore is 14 for 41 (.341) with four doubles.
“Everybody here has been very welcoming,” Sizemore said. “The more I play, the stronger I get. I just want to be in the lineup.”
Sizemore’s first-inning single was the 1,000th hit of his career and the Philadelphia fans gave him a nice ovation when it was announced on the video board.
“It’s exciting,” Sizemore said. “Hopefully there’s a lot more.”
Kendrick opened the game with five shutout innings, but allowed a double, a walk and a two-out single in the sixth. All three of those runners scored when reliever Antonio Bastardo gave up a grand slam to pinch-hitter Alfredo Marte.
Bastardo continued to struggle in the seventh when he allowed a pair of singles to open the inning. The left-hander’s tough outing (he retired just one of the four batters he faced) came with scouts from Toronto and Detroit behind the backstop. Both teams are looking for relief help and have been gathering intelligence on Bastardo.
Bastardo left with two men on base and the Phillies up by two runs. In came De Fratus. He struck out Aaron Hill for the first out then walked dangerous Paul Goldschmidt (.312/18/66) in a long, 12-pitch showdown to load the bases before striking out Miguel Montero and Mark Trumbo to end the threat.
“I wasn’t going to let Paul Goldschmidt beat us -- or beat me -- tonight,” De Fratus said.
De Fratus struck out Trumbo on the eighth pitch, a 93 mph fastball. He left the mound pumping his fist.
“That was a game-saving moment right there,” Sandberg said. “He had three strikeouts in the inning, but the big one was with the bases loaded. He showed the emotion and it was right for the moment. It was a big out.”
De Fratus earned the right to be fired up.
“Giving the team a chance to win and keeping the lead,” he said. “That’s really what I was excited about.”
The Phillies had 12 hits in the game and were 6 for 15 with runners in scoring position.
“A good win all the way around,” Sandberg said.