Phils Offense Explodes for 9 Runs in Bounce Back Win

Phils Offense Explodes for 9 Runs in Bounce Back Win

Coming off a loss to start the series, the Phillies rebounded nicely on the strength of another stellar outing from Cliff Lee and some late-inning heroics from the bats, turning a close game into a 9-2 slaughter, consequently ending the Arizona Diamondbacks' seven-game win streak.

With runners at the corners and no men out in the bottom of the seventh, Wilson Valdez cracked a two run double off the wall in deep center. Hunter Pence and John Mayberry would both score to put the Phillies ahead by a score of 4-2.

Two batters later, after a Brian Schneider sacrifice bunt to move Valdez to third, pinch hitter Ben Francisco would hit his own shot to the warning track, scoring Valdez from third on a sacrifice fly to stretch the lead an extra run.

From there, the Phillies would tack on an extra four runs in the bottom of the eighth thanks to a Cody Ransom throwing error, a Brian Schneider single, a Jimmy Rollins sacrifice and a Shane Victorino double.

In relief of Cliff Lee, Antonio Bastardo and Ryan Madson would combine for a scoreless eighth and ninth to close out the ballgame and secure the victory before what was reported on the broadcast as the largest crowd of the season at Citizens Bank Park.
As for the early scoring, Jimmy Rollins would open things up for the Phillies by going yard off Diamondback starter Joe Saunders on his first pitch of the ballgame. One inning later, John Mayberry would single to center to score Hunter Pence and tie the game at 2-2.

Filling in for Raul Ibanez in right, it was a solid night for Mayberry, who made a fantastic read on Valdez' seventh inning double to score all the way from first. John took off practically on contact and crossed plate not far behind the Hunter Pence, who began with a 180-foot advantage. He finished the evening with a run, three hits and an RBI, giving supporters additional motivation in calling for his increased presence in the lineup.

On the mound for the Phils, Cliff Lee would work through seven innings before getting pulled in favor of the pinch hitting Ben Francisco. Despite giving up a two-run home run to recently called-up Paul Goldschmidt and looking a bit shaky early on, Lee would settle in to retire twelve straight batters. Believe or not, Cliff's two run, three hit, seven strikeout performance actually "hurt" his numbers in the month of August. Per Jayson Stark's Twitter feed:

Cliff Lee this month: 24 innings, 14 hits, 25 whiffs, only 2 runs on Goldschmidt's bomb tonight.

Hard to believe he could do much better than his absurd numbers in the month of June, but he's clearly trying.

Unfortunately, it wasn't all good news for the Phillies Wednesday night as Ryan Howard appeared in a great deal of pain after his final at bat of the evening. Though he would stay in the game, all did not look right. After the game, Howard would reveal that he was suffering from a "hand cramp." David Murphy is now reporting via Twitter that:

"Howard said there is still some discomfort in his hand, doesn't know if it is a cramp or what. Didn't seem concerned."

Hopefully, the alleged cramp is just a cramp and the Big Piece stay healthy down the stretch.

We'll find out tomorrow when the Phils take the field for the rubber match of this three game set at 7:05 when Vance Worley squares off Arizona ace Ian Kennedy. Enjoy your night, guys.

Brian Carroll's goal in 92nd minute gives Union draw with Rapids

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Brian Carroll's goal in 92nd minute gives Union draw with Rapids

COMMERCE CITY, Colo. -- Brian Carroll tied it in 92nd minute and the Union escaped with a 1-1 draw with the Colorado Rapids in a showdown of the Western and Eastern conference leaders.

Carroll ran underneath Fabian Herbers' high-arching header and slotted the finish under goalkeeper Zac MacMath from close range.

The Union (5-3-5) responded only 5 minutes after the Rapids (8-2-4) opened the scoring on Sam Cronin's header in the 87th minute. Cronin made a deep run to connect with Marlon Hairston's cross from the right flank, redirecting it into the far corner of the goal.

Both Dillon Powers and Luis Solignac had shots crash off the crossbar for the Rapids after the 70th minute.

The Union extended their unbeaten streak to seven while the Rapids stayed unbeaten in their nine home games this season.

Chase Utley haunts Mets in Dodgers' rout at Citi Field

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Chase Utley haunts Mets in Dodgers' rout at Citi Field

NEW YORK -- Chase Utley hit a grand slam and a solo homer after Noah Syndergaard threw a 99 mph fastball behind his back, and the Los Angeles Dodgers went deep a season-high five times in routing the New York Mets 9-1 on Saturday night.

In a scene that seemed inevitable since October, Syndergaard was immediately ejected following the third-inning pitch -- almost certainly his shot at retaliation against Utley for the late takeout slide that broke the right leg of then-Mets shortstop Ruben Tejada in last year's playoffs.

Plate umpire Adam Hamari tossed Syndergaard, sending Mets manager Terry Collins into a rage, but no trouble ensued between the teams. A longtime New York nemesis, Utley raised one hand slightly in the direction of the Dodgers' bench to keep teammates calm -- and later answered by doing all sorts of damage with his bat.

Kenta Maeda (4-3) shook off an early line drive that appeared to hit him in the pitching hand and threw five shutout innings for the win. The right-hander yielded two hits, both in the first, and snapped his three-game losing streak.

Adrian Gonzalez homered and had four hits for the Dodgers, who spoiled the Mets' 30th anniversary celebration of their 1986 World Series championship. Corey Seager and Howie Kendrick also connected, all after Syndergaard was gone.

Pinch-hitter Juan Lagares homered in the eighth for New York, long after the outcome was decided.

The stoic Utley is playing at Citi Field this weekend for the first time since Tejada was injured. The Mets -- and their fans -- were incensed by the aggressive slide, which led to a change in baseball rules this season designed to protect infielders in what some call the Utley Rule.

But the Mets had not tried to retaliate until Saturday night.

With one out and nobody on in the third inning of a scoreless game, Syndergaard's first pitch to Utley sailed behind the second baseman's back by a considerable margin.

Hamari immediately ejected Syndergaard, prompting Collins to come storming out of the dugout. Collins also was ejected after screaming at Hamari and pointing in his face during an animated argument. The manager was finally escorted back toward the New York dugout by another umpire.

After waiting near the mound with teammates for some time, Syndergaard walked calmly to the Mets' dugout without showing any emotion as the crowd cheered him.

Logan Verrett (3-2) entered for the Mets and, with a vocal contingent in the sellout crowd of 42,227 urging him to hit Utley with a pitch, eventually threw a called third strike past him. But then Utley homered on Verrett's first pitch of the sixth to give the Dodgers a 1-0 lead.

Booed all night, Utley added his sixth career slam off Hansel Robles in the seventh, giving Los Angeles a 6-0 cushion with his 38th career homer against the Mets.

In the series opener Friday night, Utley was greeted with loud jeers and derisive chants. He had four RBIs in a 6-5 loss, including a three-run double that tied the score with two outs in the ninth.

Where are you now?
Tejada was released by the Mets during spring training and signed by the St. Louis Cardinals, who designated him for assignment Saturday.

Trainer's room
Dodgers: RF Trayce Thompson exited in the fifth with lower back soreness. He was replaced by Yasiel Puig, who hit an RBI single off Verrett in the sixth.

Mets: INF Wilmer Flores (hamstring) went 1 for 2 with a sacrifice fly in his fifth rehab game for Double-A Binghamton. Before the game, Collins said it was reasonable to think Flores could come off the disabled list Sunday.

Up next
Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw (7-1, 1.48 ERA) starts the series finale Sunday night against 43-year-old Bartolo Colon (4-3, 3.44). Kershaw, coming off a two-hit shutout against Cincinnati, is 7-0 with a 1.17 ERA in 10 starts against the Mets. He is 5-0 with a 0.64 ERA in May -- including a three-hit shutout of New York on May 12 at Dodger Stadium. The three-time Cy Young Award winner has struck out 55 and walked two this month.

Soul drop 1st road game of season to Gladiators

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USA Today Images

Soul drop 1st road game of season to Gladiators

The Soul fell on the road to the Cleveland Gladiators, 63-49, at Quicken Loans Arena on Saturday night.

The loss was just the second of the season and the first away from the Wells Fargo Center for the Soul. Quarterback Dan Raudabaugh completed 25 of 44 passes for 342 yards and seven touchdownsi in a losing effort.

The Gladiators were led by receiver Quentin Sims, who finished with 10 receptions for 114 yards and three touchdowns, and signal caller Arvell Nelson who completed 22 of 36 passes for 307 yards and seven touchdowns.

Next week, the Soul travel to Jacksonville to take on the Sharks on Saturday, June 4. The game will be broadcast on CBS Sports and 97.5 The Fanatic.  Kick-off is set for 7 p.m.