Instant Replay: Diamondbacks 5, Phillies 4

Instant Replay: Diamondbacks 5, Phillies 4

BOX SCORE

The Phillies almost sent their Father's Day crowd home happy. Almost.

Hector Neris blew a one-run lead in the ninth inning, and Jeanmar Gomez allowed a solo homer to Rey Fuentes in the 10th as the Phillies lost, 5-4, to the Diamondbacks.

It was Fuentes' first career home run.

The Phils were swept this weekend for the eighth time in 2017 and the fourth time in their last seven series.

They had taken a 4-3 lead in the sixth inning on Ty Kelly's pinch-hit RBI double but couldn't hold on as they dropped yet another one-run game. 

The Phillies have played four more one-run games than any team in the majors and are 10-17 in them.

They're 22-46. No National League team since the 2013 Marlins has had a worse start through 68 games.

Starting pitching report
Four starts, four quality starts for Ben Lively, who allowed three runs in six innings.

It looked like Lively was in store for a short afternoon when Paul Goldschmidt and Brandon Drury took him deep in the first inning, but he held the D-backs to 4 for 20 thereafter.

Lively struck out six after whiffing just five total in his first three starts. Those swings-and-misses Sunday were the difference in his staying in the game and getting out of jams.

He was also aided by great plays from Freddy Galvis (running, over the shoulder grab in shallow left field) and Maikel Franco (barehanded pickup and rocket to first).

Lively is 1-1 with a 3.33 ERA.

The Phillies made D-backs left-hander Robbie Ray work hard all afternoon, placing at least one man on base in every inning. Ray, who entered 7-3 with a 2.62 ERA, allowed four runs and 12 baserunners in 5⅓ innings with seven strikeouts.

Ray had allowed just one run in 37 innings in his prior five starts.

Bullpen report
Neris blew his second save in eight attempts. He walked light-hitting Nick Ahmed to start the ninth then allowed back-to-back singles before retiring three in a row.

The ever-reliable Pat Neshek pitched a scoreless seventh inning but needed 28 pitches because the D-backs fouled off 10 in the inning.

Neshek has allowed two runs in 27 innings this season for a 0.67 ERA. No pitcher in the majors within even 4⅓ innings of Neshek has done that. Dellin Betances is closest with two runs in 21⅔ innings.

At the plate
The Phils had a chance to walk it off in the ninth but Tommy Joseph struck out with runners on first and second, then Maikel Franco popped out after a 10-pitch battle with hard-throwing Archie Bradley.

The Phillies scored in each of the first three innings to answer the Diamondbacks' three-spot in the first.

Aaron Altherr hit a no-doubt home run in the first off Ray, his seventh this season against a left-handed pitcher. That ties Nolan Arenado, Joey Votto and George Springer for the MLB lead.

Franco added an opposite-field, line-drive homer in the second. It broke his stretch of 57 plate appearances without a home run. 

Kelly has just four RBIs on the season but his run-scoring double was his third go-ahead RBI in the sixth inning or later.

For Arizona, Paul Goldschmidt hit his 16th home run of the season, a towering shot into the left-field seats off Lively. Chris Owings hit his eighth homer of the year two batters later.

On the bases
Juan Samuel aggressively sent Galvis on Kelly's go-ahead double in the sixth and Galvis was narrowly thrown out at home. Galvis was originally called safe when it appeared he eluded catcher Chris Herrmann's tag but he was ruled out after an Arizona challenge.

The Phillies counter-challenged that Herrmann violated the collision rule by not giving Galvis a lane to slide but had no such luck on a reversal.

Fatherly love
Vince Velasquez's dad, Leonard, threw out the first pitch, a strike to his son on the inside corner. In a scene that was serious for Leonard Velasquez but funny to everyone else, he spent a good five minutes warming up with his son before taking the mound.

Up next
The Phillies are off Monday before beginning a three-game series at home against the Cardinals, who swept them last week in St. Louis.

The Phils are finished with the Cards after this series.

Tuesday night at 7:05: Jeremy Hellickson (5-5, 4.91) vs. Mike Leake (5-6, 3.14)

Wednesday night at 7:05: Nick Pivetta (1-3, 4.46) vs. Michael Wacha (3-3, 4.78)

Thursday afternoon at 1:05: Aaron Nola (3-5, 4.76) vs. Carlos Martinez (6-5, 2.86)

Best of MLB: Josh Reddick's big day helps Astros sweep A's

Best of MLB: Josh Reddick's big day helps Astros sweep A's

OAKLAND, Calif. -- Josh Reddick homered and scored four runs, Jake Marisnick and Marwin Gonzalez each went deep and the Houston Astros beat the Oakland Athletics 12-9 on Thursday.

The major league-leading Astros completed a four-game sweep with their 10th straight victory in Oakland and their 15th win in 16 games against the A's overall. They've won 12 of their last 14 road games. Their 27-8 record away from home is the best in the majors.

Reddick also doubled, tripled and drew a walk, and Marisnick and Gonzalez each drove in three runs.

David Paulino (2-0) struck out six and gave up three runs, seven hits and two walks. The 23-year-old rookie right-hander struck out five of his first six batters in his sixth career start.

Astros center fielder George Springer left with a left hand contusion after being struck by a fastball from Jesse Hahn (3-5) leading off the game. The ball also grazed Springer's left shoulder. Springer is tied for second in the AL with 21 home runs. His status is day-to-day (see full recap).

Goldschmidt, Diamondbacks blast Rockies
DENVER -- Paul Goldschmidt and Chris Owings hit three-run homers, Zack Godley threw well into the eighth inning, and the Arizona Diamondbacks beat the Colorado Rockies 10-3 on Thursday.

Goldschmidt finished with three hits and four RBIs to increase his season total to 64, tops in the majors.

Arizona took two of three in the NL West matchup and is now tied with Colorado for second place in the division behind the Dodgers. The Diamondbacks have won 12 of 14 and are a season-high 19 games above .500.

Godley gave up a home run to Charlie Blackmon to lead off the first inning, but shut down the Rockies from there.

Blackmon drew a walk in the third, then Godley erased him with a double-play ball to end the inning. He didn't allow a hit after Nolan Arenado's one-out single in the first and retired 19 of the next 20 batters before Raimel Tapia and Pat Valaika singled and doubled to lead off the eighth.

Godley (3-1) allowed three runs on four hits and struck out eight in seven-plus innings. He also helped himself with an RBI single in the eighth.

The Diamondbacks hit a Colorado rookie pitcher hard for the second straight night. Wednesday they scored 10 runs in the fourth off Jeff Hoffman, and Thursday they battered right-hander Antonio Senzatela (9-3) for nine runs in five innings.

Owings' homer in the third, his ninth, made it 5-1, and Goldschmidt hit his 18th to cap a four-run fourth to make it 9-1 (see full recap).

Knebel sets strikeout mark as Brewers top Pirates
MILWAUKEE -- Corey Knebel broke Arodlis Chapman's modern-era record for most consecutive games by a reliever with a strikeout at a season's start, fanning a batter for the 38th straight game and closing out the Milwaukee Brewers' 4-2 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates on Thursday.

Knebel struck out Josh Bell on a foul tip leading off the ninth. The 25-year-old right-hander retired Elias Diaz and Andrew McCutchen on popouts, finishing a four-hitter for his 12th save in 15 chances.

Chapman had set the mark since 1900 as part of a streak of 49 games for Cincinnati that began in August 2013 and ended the following August.

Travis Shaw drove in three runs with a homer and two doubles, and he came within inches of a second home run.

Chase Anderson (6-2) allowed two runs and two hits in six innings (see full recap).

Pete Mackanin 'not pleased' with Odubel Herrera's base-running blunders

Pete Mackanin 'not pleased' with Odubel Herrera's base-running blunders

Odubel Herrera’s return to the dugout was so slow that home plate umpire Nic Lentz had to clap to speed him along. Herrera obliged, accelerating to an effortless jog until he left Lentz’s sight. Then he went back to a hung head and a crawling pace as he reached the steps. Boos met his ears through it all. 

Herrera was picked off third base by Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina for the second out of the fourth inning on Thursday. It didn’t matter much as the Phillies beat the Cardinals, 5-1 (see Instant Replay), guided by Aaron Nola’s the best outing in a long time (see story)

However, Herrera made a base-running blunder at the same spot Wednesday night, when he blew through a Juan Samuel stop sign and was out by a mile at home plate to make the final out in the ninth inning of a tie game. And later on Thursday, while on second during a running count and Maikel Franco behind him at first, Herrera didn’t run on the pitch.

These are mistakes any big-leaguer should avoid. And when he’s the only player a team has signed to a long-term deal, which is supposed to last into a new era that involves winning games, the mistakes sting a bit more. 

“I’m not pleased about it,” Phillies manager Pete Mackanin said. 

Had Wednesday night’s gaffe been avoided, maybe the Phillies could have gone on to win. Thursday’s was more embarrassing than damaging. While displeased, Mackanin, who said he thought about giving Herrera Thursday off, understood what happened this time around.

“He was running contact. And when you’re running contact, you’re susceptible to getting picked off by a catcher, especially with a left-handed hitter up,” Mackanin said. “You have to be aware of that. They’re taught to be aware of that. He just didn’t take that first hard step back. And that deters the catcher from throwing to third base. It happened.” 

The Phillies have been picked off eight times this season. Entering Thursday, only four teams had been picked off more. 

The Phillies own a run scoring percentage (percentage of base runners that eventually score) of 28.0, which puts them in the bottom third of the league. While much of that can be attributed to bad bats, mistakes like Herrera’s are not helping the cause. 

At 25, Herrera is still figuring this whole thing out. But he was the Phillies’ only All-Star last year and is supposed to be a consistent presence in the lineup. 

Andres Blanco, on the opposite end of the spectrum, first saw major-league action in 2004, and should be providing a consistent presence in the Phillies’ clubhouse. Yet on Thursday, starting at second base instead of Howie Kendrick, Blanco made a veteran play on the base paths, which felt like the remedy to Herrera’s mental lapses.

In the bottom of the fifth, with two outs and Blanco on second base, Freddy Galvis grounded a ball up the middle. Cardinals shortstop Aledmys Diaz sent an errant flip to second to get the final out, and Blanco was smart enough to round third and score after the ball got loose in the infield. Mackanin called it a heads-up play. 

“That’s the kind of players you’re looking for, the guys that are going to look for those kinds of things to happen,” Mackanin said, “and they don't assume a play is going to be made and assume they might be able to take an extra base.

“He’s a veteran. I’m glad he paid attention.”