Instant Replay: Dodgers 4, Phillies 0

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Instant Replay: Dodgers 4, Phillies 0

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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.

For Rhys Hoskins, it all started with that first home run

For Rhys Hoskins, it all started with that first home run

SAN FRANCISCO — All Rhys Hoskins needed was to get the first one.
 
That's the way power hitters are.
 
They will tell you they don't think about hitting home runs.
 
But they do.
 
"As much as I want to say I wasn't trying to get the first one out of the way, I think it's probably pretty obvious that's what it was," Hoskins said after the Phillies beat the San Francisco Giants, 5-2, Sunday (see game story).
 
He was referring to his first 12 big-league at-bats during the Phillies' last homestand. He went hitless in those at-bats before reaching base on a single in his 13th at-bat and heading to his native California for seven games on his first big-league road trip.
 
Hoskins delivered. He went 8 for 25 with eight RBIs on the seven-game trip. He homered twice in the first game of the trip and three more times before it ended, including on Saturday and Sunday in the Phillies' only two wins of the trip.
 
"I feel like I'm getting into better counts and the results showed this week," the 24-year-old said.
 
Manager Pete Mackanin said he was never worried about Hoskins being over his head.
 
"You know how that goes," he said. "You can't jump to conclusions after 20 at-bats. You might say he's hitting .220 (actually .237), but we can tell from his at-bats he's a much better hitter than that."
 
Hoskins hit 38 homers at Double A Reading last season and 29 more at Triple A Lehigh Valley before coming up earlier this month. After 11 games — and five homers — he feels more like himself.
 
"I just wanted to settle in the box and feel more comfortable in the box and realize it really is the same game, 60 feet, six inches, they still have to throw the ball over the plate," he said. "I think that has a lot to do with it."
 
Hoskins had two hits in Sunday's win, including a home run. He played first base, his natural position. Jorge Alfaro played there Saturday night as manager Pete Mackanin held slumping Tommy Joseph out of the lineup two days in a row. Joseph is hitting just .185 against left-handed pitching this season and Mackanin kept him away from lefties Ty Blach and Madison Bumgarner.
 
With a doubleheader Tuesday against Miami, and two righties pitching for the Marlins, Mackanin is sure to use Joseph in at least one of those games.
 
But how about beyond that? Alfaro has produced at the plate over the last two days and the team officials want to continue to see him. He was already slated to get time behind the plate, but first base has also become a place for him to get occasional at-bats, as it is for Hoskins, as well.
 
How is this all going to shake out?
 
Mackanin said Hoskins "most likely" would continue to get most of his reps in left field, where he's been OK, despite a couple of bad reads, for a relative newcomer to the position.
 
Then Mackanin added: "Let me have the day off (Monday) to think about it. We'll see how we can make this all work."

IronPigs rally to help Phillies end West Coast trip with 2 straight wins

IronPigs rally to help Phillies end West Coast trip with 2 straight wins

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SAN FRANCISCO — Ben Lively, his eyes wide before his eighth big-league start, looked around at his teammates moments before the game.
 
"Dude, this is a really familiar dugout," he told Rhys Hoskins.
 
Indeed. Six of the Phillies' nine starters Sunday afternoon at AT&T Park were recent teammates at Triple A Lehigh Valley. They recently graduated to the majors and on this day joined together in rallying for a 5-2 win over the San Francisco Giants as the Phils closed out a West Coast trip with two wins and five losses (see Instant Replay).
 
It was a very entertaining ball game for several reasons:
 
The Phillies came back from a run down in the eighth inning and scored three times on a succession of five straight singles against Giants reliever Hunter Strickland.
 
Closer Hector Neris pitched himself into a tight spot when he plunked Buster Posey with a first-pitch fastball to load the bases in the bottom of the eighth. Posey took exception with the pitch, said something to Neris and moaned about it to reporters after the game (see video).
 
And then there was the IronPigs. All of the recent additions from Triple A had a hand in the win. All five of the Phillies' runs were driven in by players recently promoted. In Saturday night's win, a cast of recent additions drove in 10 of the Phillies' 12 runs. So, newcomers drove in 15 of the Phillies' 17 runs the last two days.
 
"We were pretty talented down there and I think it's good for this organization to have that kind of burst of energy," Hoskins said. "Hopefully it carries over to the homestand."
 
The IronPigs' impact started with Lively, who was recalled before the start and delivered six innings of two-run ball — "just what we needed," manager Pete Mackanin said.
 
It continued with utility man Pedro Florimon starting in left field, throwing out a runner at the plate and driving in three runs, including the tie-breaking run in the eighth.
 
Jorge Alfaro started behind the plate and drove in the tying run with a base hit in the eighth after coming back from an 0-2 count.
 
In all, the Phillies had five straight one-out hits in that inning — by Hoskins, Maikel Franco, Alfaro, Nick Williams and Florimon. All but Franco was in Triple A until recently.
 
"It's awesome," Lively said. "Everyone is getting an opportunity. A lot of people are making the best of their opportunities. That fires me up more than anything."
 
Two others who had been at Lehigh Valley this season, Adam Morgan and Luis Garcia, chipped in with 1 2/3 innings of scoreless relief.
 
Hoskins gave the Phillies a little breathing room in the ninth inning when he bashed his fifth homer in his first 11 games in the majors. All of them came on this trip to his home state with a slew of friends and family in the seats.
 
"I think we could have come away with a couple more wins, obviously, but we're feeling pretty good going home, split the series after dropping the first two," Hoskins said.
 
The wins were the Phillies' only two in the state of California this season. They went 2-11 in the land of the Double-Double.
 
The game was not without some drama. With two outs and runners on first and second in the bottom of the eighth, and the Phils clinging to a two-run lead, Mackanin summoned his closer, Neris, as the dangerous Posey — who had already singled and doubled — stepped in the box.
 
Neris' first pitch, a 95-mph fastball, hit Posey in the side. The usually mild-mannered Posey was angry and said something to Neris before cooler heads prevailed.
 
After the game, Posey was still angry.
 
"I'm pretty certain he hit me on purpose and it's just a shame because I wanted to compete in that at bat," Posey said. "I guess he didn’t feel he could get me out.
 
"It was a big spot. It would have been fun to hit."
 
Neris was incredulous when he heard what Posey said.
 
"Not a chance," he said when asked if he hit Posey on purpose. "I don't want to put the tying run on second base. I don't want to hit anybody in that situation."
 
Mackanin said there was no way Neris threw at Posey.
 
"If Hector hit him intentionally, I'm not real happy with Hector to put the tying run on second base and the go-ahead run on first," Mackanin said. "It doesn't make sense to me."