Brown, 'pen and Brignac lead Phillies to win in 14

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Brown, 'pen and Brignac lead Phillies to win in 14

BOX SCORE

It took a couple of miscues at third base by Cesar Hernandez on Thursday night for utility man Reid Brignac to get into the Phillies’ starting lineup for the first time.

Brignac made the most of his opportunity Friday night. His bases-loaded single in the bottom of the 14th inning snapped a tie that lasted 8½ innings and lifted the Phillies to a 6-5 victory over the New York Mets in a game that started on Friday night and ended five hours and 23 minutes later at 12:30 a.m. Saturday (see Instant Replay).

“I’m happy to come through for my teammates,” said Brignac, who was with the team in spring training and came up from Triple A earlier this month. “This is definitely one to remember for me.”

Before Friday night’s start, Brignac had just six plate appearances since joining the Phils. The walk-off hit was the second of his career. He homered to beat the Yankees when he was with Tampa Bay in 2010.

Brignac is looking for a simple return on his clutch hit.

“It just felt great to be on the field, playing the game I love,” he said. “Hopefully a night like this will get me in there tomorrow.”

Brignac’s hit came after three hitters reached base for the Phillies in the 14th against Mets closer Jenrry Mejia. Marlon Byrd opened the frame by getting to second when rightfielder Chris Young dropped a fly ball to right. The wind got pretty frisky as Friday turned into Saturday, but Young didn’t blame his costly two-base error on that.

“It was just a flub-up,” he said.

After the error, Carlos Ruiz singled and pinch-hitter Hernandez was walked intentionally. That brought Brignac to the plate for the game-ender.

“I had a good feeling,” he said. “I was confident. He threw a cutter that caught a lot of the plate and I didn’t miss it.”

The Phils' last two wins have both come in their last at-bats and both have been aided by defensive miscues by the opposition. They rallied to beat the Rockies on Wednesday night. The Rockies made two errors in the ninth before Ryan Howard’s game-winning homer.

The Phillies probably would not have won that game if it weren’t for Mike Adams’ stellar relief work. (He pitched out of Antonio Bastardo's no-outs, bases-loaded jam.) They would not have won this game without stellar work from the entire bullpen. Six relievers, capped by Justin De Fratus’ two innings, teamed to throw seven shutout innings.

“That was the key,” manager Ryne Sandberg said. “They did not give up a run and that gave us a chance.”

De Fratus got the win.

“I think this was definitely a confidence-builder for our whole bullpen,” he said.

Starter A.J. Burnett went seven innings and allowed five runs. He struck out 11, but walked six.

“The walks,” he said. “Two a game, fine, but six …”

Beleaguered leftfielder Domonic Brown paced the offense with four RBIs, three of which came on one swing at a 2-0 fastball from starter Rafael Montero in the fourth inning. Calls for Brown to be benched or even sent to the minors have grown in recent days, but Sandberg has stuck with him. Brown’s batting average dipped to .199 after he flied out in the second inning. But he rebounded with his three-run homer in the fourth. He added an RBI groundout an inning later.

“The three-run homer was big at the time,” Sandberg said. “That’s the type of swing and the type of game that can boost his confidence, something I was hoping for and looking for.”

Did Brown need a game like this?

“I don’t know,” Brown said.

(Editorial comment: He did.)

“I felt good,” Brown added. “I wasn’t over-swinging. I didn’t miss the fastball. I got into a hitter’s count and put the bat on the ball. It’s that simple.”

We’ll see if Brown can build on his success Saturday afternoon.

Sleep fast. First pitch is at 3:05 p.m.

Phillies held to 3 hits again, pounded by Rockies in return home

Phillies held to 3 hits again, pounded by Rockies in return home

BOX SCORE

The loudest noise made by the Phillies' offense on Monday night was the thud — clearly audible above the small crowd — that Odubel Herrera created when he smashed his batting helmet on the dirt infield after grounding out to third base to end the seventh inning.

Herrera's frustration spoke for an entire team. The Phillies were hammered, 8-1, by the Colorado Rockies (see Instant Replay). They were out-hit, 13-3. The loss was the Phils' 18th in the last 22 games and they have been outscored 126-89 over that span.

The loss left the Phils at 15-27 for the season, matching their worst 42-game start since 2000 when they finished 65-97 in front of tiny crowds at Veterans Stadium in Terry Francona's last season as skipper.

Over the last two games, both losses, the Phils have just six hits.

"Three hits today, three hits yesterday," manager Pete Mackanin said. "You're not going to win a lot of games getting three hits."

Aaron Altherr had two of the Phillies' hits, both doubles against Colorado rookie Jeff Hoffman, who was very impressive with seven walk-free innings and seven strikeouts.

Herrera went hitless in three at-bats and is hitting just .200 in the month of May and .232 overall — not what the front office expected when it signed him to a five-year, $30.5 million contract extension in the offseason.

"It's very frustrating because I feel like I am being selective and waiting for my pitch, but when I make contact things don't happen," Herrera said. "I feel like I'm swinging the bat well, but I'm just missing."

Phillies starter Jerad Eickhoff gave up nine hits, seven of which were singles, and four runs over six innings. Four of the hits that Eickhoff allowed came in the third inning when the Rockies scored three times. Two of the runs scored on a flare double and the other on a groundball through a drawn-in infield.

"I executed a lot of good pitches," Eickhoff said. "I got a lot of the contact I wanted. The ball just didn't land in the gloves."

Eickhoff did not walk a batter. He struck out four.

Despite being 0-5 with a 4.70 ERA in nine starts, the right-hander believes he has made strides his last two outings. He gave up three runs (two earned) over six innings in his previous outing at Texas. Prior to that start, he worked on fixing a mechanical flaw in his delivery.

"These past two have been night-and-day different," he said. "I felt great today and in Texas and I'm going to keep that positivity going."

Finding other things to be positive about with this team is becoming difficult.

This Phillies team was not expected to contend; it is still in a rebuild. But things weren't supposed to be this bad, either.

"I'll tell you what, I'm getting frustrated, too," general manager Matt Klentak said before the game. "This team is better … there is more talent on this team than we've shown in terms of our record.

"We'll pull out of it. We will. That's what talented players will do. I'm not going to tell the fans they shouldn't be frustrated. We've gone through a tough stretch.

"But I'm not ready to call it regression. I think there's been a lack of consistency on our team in general, with some players more than others. There's been a lack of consistency, but especially for young players, two months is a relatively small sample size to categorize it as regression."

At 29-17, the Rockies have the best record in the National League. They have 16 road wins, which is one more than the Phillies have overall. The Rockies are in town for three more days. This ugly start could get even uglier.

Best of MLB: Twins pound out 21 hits, storm back to beat Orioles

Best of MLB: Twins pound out 21 hits, storm back to beat Orioles

BALTIMORE -- Max Kepler homered and drove in four runs, Miguel Sano and Jorge Polanco each had a career-high four hits and the Minnesota Twins roared back to beat the Baltimore Orioles 14-7 Monday night.

Minnesota trailed 5-0 in the second inning and 6-2 entering the fifth before cranking up the offense against Ubaldo Jimenez and an ineffective Baltimore bullpen.

A two-run double by Kepler helped the Twins knot the score in the fifth, Minnesota sent 11 batters to the plate in a six-run sixth and Sano added a two-run homer in the ninth.

Joe Mauer had three hits, two RBIs and scored twice for the Twins, who reached season highs in runs and hits (21).

Adam Jones hit a three-run drive in the second inning off Kyle Gibson (1-4) for Baltimore (see full recap).

Peacock, Astros 1-hit Tigers
HOUSTON -- Brad Peacock and three relievers combined for a one-hitter and Jose Altuve provided the offense with an RBI double to lead the Houston Astros to 1-0 win over the Detroit Tigers on Monday night.

Peacock was solid moving out of the bullpen to make a spot start for injured ace Dallas Keuchel. In his first start since September, Peacock allowed the lone hit and struck out eight in 4 1/3 innings. He was lifted after walking Tyler Collins with one out in the fifth inning.

Chris Devenski (3-2) took over and pitched 2 2/3 innings for the win before Will Harris pitched a scoreless eighth. Ken Giles struck out two in the ninth for his 12th save to allow the Astros to bounce back after being swept by the Indians over the weekend.

Detroit's only hit was a single by Mikie Mahtook with one out in the third on a night the Tigers tied a season high by striking out 14 times. The team's only baserunner after Collins was Victor Martinez, who was plunked with one out in the seventh. But Houston still faced the minimum in that inning when J.D. Martinez grounded into a double play to end the seventh.

The Astros struck early against Michael Fulmer (5-2) when George Springer drew a leadoff walk before scoring on the double by Altuve to make it 1-0 with one out in the first (see full recap).

Homers help Yankees top Royals
NEW YORK -- Didi Gregorius, Brett Gardner and Chris Carter homered, and the New York Yankees once again downed Jason Vargas by beating the Kansas City Royals 4-2 Monday night.

A reversed umpire's call in the seventh inning kept the Yankees ahead and enabled Michael Pineda (5-2) to top Vargas for the second time in a week. The Royals, with the worst record in the AL, have lost five of seven.

Vargas (5-3) began the day with a 2.03 ERA, tied for second-best in the majors. But the lefty fell to 0-7 lifetime against the Yankees when he was tagged by Gardner and Gregorius, the only left-handed hitters in the New York lineup (see full recap).