Instant Replay: Dodgers 4, Phillies 0

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Instant Replay: Dodgers 4, Phillies 0

BOX SCORE

Apparently a managerial change didn’t do much for the Phillies’ offense.

As Ryne Sandberg took over the leadership of the ballclub on the day the Phillies announced the dismissal of Charlie Manuel (see story), the status quo prevailed. Behind a three-hitter from Zack Greinke, the Phillies were blanked, 4-0, by the Dodgers on Friday night at the Bank.

Greinke out-dueled Cliff Lee into the eighth inning, handing the Phils’ ace his fourth straight loss.

The defeat was the Phillies’ 20th in the last 24 games to knock them to 53-68.

Starting pitching report
Lee was solid in eight innings, allowing five hits and a walk with six strikeouts. However, Lee gave up a two-run homer to Hanley Ramirez with one out in the fourth inning. The Dodgers added a third run in the seventh when Dom Brown misplayed a line drive into an RBI double for Mark Ellis. They tacked on their final run when Scott Van Slyke singled home Ramirez in the ninth.

Greinke allowed three hits and four walks in 7 1/3 innings. He came out in the eighth after allowing an eight-pitch walk to Jimmy Rollins and an 0-2 single to Michael Young.

Bullpen report
Justin De Fratus lasted just two-thirds of the ninth inning, allowing two singles, a hit batsman and an unearned run before Sandberg turned to Cesar Jimenez for the final out of the inning.

For the Dodgers, Paco Rodriguez and Ronald Belisario each recorded an out in the eighth before turning it over to closer Kenley Jansen in a non-save situation. Jansen retired the side in order in the ninth.

At the plate
The Phillies had three hits. Cody Asche doubled to right with two outs in the second and Darin Ruf hit a single under a diving Ramirez’s glove with one out in the fourth.

However, the Phillies drew five walks and got the leadoff man on base in the third, fourth and seventh innings. They also left the bases loaded in the eighth and went 0 for 5 with runners in scoring position.

Ramirez hit his 12th homer of the season and the third in his career off Lee. In going 1 for 3 against Lee, Ramirez is 8 for 16 all-time against the lefty.

Juan Uribe added a pair of hits with a double.

For the history books
Sandberg made his big-league debut for the Phillies on Sept. 2, 1981 in Atlanta as a pinch runner for catcher Bob Boone in a 4-3 loss to the Braves. Sandberg scored a run in the ninth inning of that game on a single by Pete Rose. Phillies broadcaster Gary Matthews batted third for the Phillies and went 0 for 5 in Sandberg’s debut.

Up next
The Phillies and Dodgers continue the series on Saturday night when Kyle Kendrick (10-9, 4.48) faces lefty Clayton Kershaw (11-7, 1.88). Kendrick suffered a 6-1 loss to the Dodgers on June 30, allowing four runs on 10 hits and a walk in six innings.

Kendrick is 5-5 with a 7.36 ERA in 11 career appearances against the Dodgers and in his last seven starts, the righty has allowed 34 runs (29 earned) on 55 hits and nine walks in 36 innings. That’s a 7.25 ERA since June, after posting a 3.59 ERA in the first three months of the season.

Strangely, Kershaw is winless in his career against the Phillies, sporting an 0-4 record with a 4.31 ERA in eight starts. This comes despite the fact that Kershaw has allowed two runs or less in four starts against the Phillies, including just one run on five hits in eight innings on July 18, 2012 at Dodger Stadium.

Phillies can exhale after bullpen nearly blows 10-0 lead

Phillies can exhale after bullpen nearly blows 10-0 lead

BOX SCORE

The moment when the ball struck first baseman Tommy Joseph’s glove for the final out of the Phillies 10-8 win over the Mets — dealing a major blow to their rival’s wild card hopes in the process — felt more like a collective exhalation than a moment of celebration (see Instant Replay).
 
Two days earlier, the bullpen faltered suddenly. A game-tying two-run homer by Jose Reyes in the ninth was the first body blow. The game-winning three-run homer by Asdrubal Cabrera was the knockout.
 
Saturday, the collapse occurred over the course of five innings as the Phillies let a lead that was once 10-0 slip away, one drawn-out at-bat after another.
 
Missing, of course, was the moment of impact in the proverbial slow-motion car crash, thanks to well-placed sinkers and four-seamers from Michael Mariot.
 
“The bullpen’s been sputtering,” manager Pete Mackanin said in an understatement.
 
Joely Rodriguez entered in the sixth inning with a 10-4 lead to face a string of lefties and it quickly became apparent that he did not have his fastball. A middle-in four-seamer that caught too much of the plate was slapped for a double by Mets shortstop Gavin Cecchini, his first major-league hit and a run. A second run scored when a little dribbler by third baseman T.J. Rivera died on the third base line, leaving Rodriguez with no play.
 
“He just didn’t throw quality strikes,” Mackanin said.
 
Even the normally-reliable Hector Neris struggled on Saturday. In his 77th outing of the season, Neris walked two straight batters and then surrendered an RBI double to Cecchini of his own which narrowed the lead to 10-7 and thrust the uncertainty of a save situation onto Mackanin.
 
Mariot was given first crack at the ninth inning one day after Mackanin said he would give Jeanmar Gomez a break from closing duties.
 
Mariot’s audition got off to a rough start. He gave up a pinch-hit solo home run to Jay Bruce — who had been mired in an 0-15 slump — with one out in the ninth and then walked Eric Campbell and Michael Conforto after a pair of grueling at-bats that lasted a combined 18 pitches.
 
The two hitters fouled off eight of Mariot’s pitches and took several four-seamers that just missed the plate.
 
“I was pretty upset about that,” Mariot said of the four-seamers that missed. “I was hoping to get at least a swing or maybe a call on those. Talking to [catcher] A.J. [Ellis], I think he said that they missed but I was hoping at least one of them to get called a strike.”
 
Gomez was up in the Phillies’ bullpen but Mariot ensured that Mackanin wouldn’t need to throw the recently-struggling closer back into the fire in a high-stress situation.
 
Mariot was able to locate his fastball when he needed to most. He fooled Lucas Duda with a two-seamer that the slugger popped out to Freddy Galvis and got Travis D’Arnaud to ground a four-seamer outside right back to him.
 
“I just told myself: ‘keep throwing strikes and good things will happen,’” Mariot said.
 
He threw just enough strikes to ensure that the Phillies didn’t end up on the wrong end of what would have been the Mets’ biggest comeback in team history.

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Best of MLB: Nationals clinch NL East with win over Pirates

Best of MLB: Nationals clinch NL East with win over Pirates

PITTSBURGH -- The Washington Nationals clinched their third National League East title in five years, beating the Pittsburgh Pirates 6-1 Saturday night behind 5 1/3 scoreless innings from rookie reliever Reynaldo Lopez.

Stephen Drew's two-run single capped a three-run first inning for the Nationals, who return to the postseason after a one-year absence. Their win ensured a playoff berth, and they won the division about 20 minutes later when the second-place New York Mets lost to Philadelphia.

Lopez (4-3) came on to the start the bottom of the fourth inning with a 6-1 lead and allowed three hits while striking out five and walking one. He was removed a runner on first and one out in the ninth inning.

Marc Rzepczynski and Blake Treinen got one out each to end the game, and a pocket of Nationals' fans behind the visiting dugout cheered (see full recap).

Cardinals solve Wrigley again, crush Hammel, Cubs 10-4
CHICAGO -- The St. Louis Cardinals have a lot to accomplish if they want to return to Chicago in two weeks for a rematch of last year's NL Division Series. They would have to qualify for one of the wild-card spots, then win the single-elimination playoff game.

If they do, the Cardinals may be the one club that won't be fazed by Wrigley Field and the Cubs.

Yadier Molina drove in four runs, Stephen Piscotty homered and the Cardinals boosted their playoff hopes by getting to Jason Hammel early in a 10-4 rout of Chicago on Saturday.

Randal Grichuk added three RBIs and Jhonny Peralta had three hits and scored three runs for the Cardinals, who stopped a two-game skid and moved into a tie with San Francisco for the final NL wild-card spot pending the Giants' game at San Diego (see full recap).

Yanks shut out for 3rd straight game in 3-0 loss to Jays
TORONTO -- The New York Yankees' offense has disappeared, and their playoffs chances have pretty much vanished, too.

Jose Bautista hit a three-run homer off Tyler Clippard in the eighth inning, and the Toronto Blue Jays beat the Yankees 3-0 Saturday.

New York has been shut out in three straight games for the first time July 27-28, 1975.

"Whatever we're doing right now, it's not working," first baseman Mark Teixeira said. "We just seem to have lost it the last few days."

The Yankees have lost 10 of 13 following a seven-game winning streak and dropped 4 1/2 games back for the AL's second wild card with eight games left. They likely will miss the playoffs for the third time in four years (see full recap).

Dietrich homers, Marlins end Braves' streak at 7 win
MIAMI -- Derek Dietrich hit a two-run homer to help the Miami Marlins end the Atlanta Braves' winning streak at seven games, winning 6-4 on Saturday night.

Dee Gordon had two hits, two walks and three stolen bases - one shy of tying the Marlins' single-game franchise high, which he has done on two separate occasions.

Atlanta's Freddie Freeman extended his hitting streak to 28 games in the first inning and has reached base in 44 straight. He also hit a solo home run in the sixth, his 32nd.

Brian Ellington (4-2) earned the win in relief and A.J. Ramos recorded his 39th save in 42 chances.

The Braves pulled within 5-4 on a wild pitch by Fernando Rodney in the seventh inning (see full recap).