Instant Replay: Dodgers 4, Phillies 3

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Instant Replay: Dodgers 4, Phillies 3

BOX SCORE

Yasiel Puig’s first-inning homer off the Phillies’ Aaron Harang pushed the Dodgers out to a quick three-run lead and they never looked back on the way to a 4-3 victory Wednesday night at Citizens Bank Park.

Jeff Francoeur smacked a two-run homer with one out in the eighth inning to help the Phillies crawl within a run with Ryan Howard and Darin Ruf waiting to hit, but that was as close as the Phillies got.

The loss is just the Phillies’ fourth in 17 games since the All-Star break. The team has not lost back-to-back games since July 12, but it faces the majors’ top pitcher in Zack Greinke on Thursday afternoon.

Starting pitching report
Like Jerome Williams a night earlier, Harang was hardly the model of efficiency on the mound. The big righty needed 104 pitches to get through five innings in which he allowed four runs on seven hits and five walks. Luckily for Harang only one of those walks came around to score.

However, a pair of first-inning singles set the table for a two-out homer for Puig, which was the shot that did the most damage.

Dodgers starter Brett Anderson held the Phillies in check for six innings, allowing a run on four hits and two walks over six innings. He struck out five.

Bullpen report
Hector Neris turned in two shaky, yet scoreless innings before turning it over to Elvis Araujo for the eighth and ninth.

Araujo pitched two scoreless innings, giving up a walk with a strikeout.

Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen struck out the side in the ninth for his 20th save of the season.

At the plate
Puig’s two-out homer in the first was all the offense the Dodgers needed, though they added a run in the fifth when Adrian Gonzalez grounded out to drive home Jimmy Rollins.

Howie Kendrick had three hits for the Dodgers and Andre Either, Alberto Callaspo and Puig added a pair of hits each.

Francoeur’s 10th homer of the season brought the Phillies to within a run in the eighth, but aside from the long ball and Maikel Franco’s RBI double in the third, there wasn’t much offense.

Certainly the Phillies had some chances. Twice the Phillies reached on a fielding error and followed it with a walk, but couldn’t cash in, going 0 for 3 with runners in scoring position.

The return of Rollins
Rollins led off again for the Dodgers and was again greeted with a standing ovation from the crowd at Citizens Bank Park. In five plate appearances, Rollins popped out twice, grounded out, walked twice and scored a run.

Milestone
Francoeur’s homer was the 150th of his career.

Up next
The Phillies and Dodgers close the three-game series on Thursday afternoon when David Buchanan (2-5, 6.44) takes on ace Zack Greinke (10-2, 1.41). Buchanan faced the Dodgers once last season, allowing two runs on five hits in five innings for a win.

Greinke has been pretty good against the Phillies during his career with the Royals, Brewers and Dodgers. In seven appearances (six starts), Greinke is 5-1 with a 2.03 ERA against the Phils, while holding the team to a .189 batting average. He last faced the Phillies on July 9 when he allowed a hit — and that’s it — over eight innings for a win.

Phillies prospect Nick Pivetta has long-awaited meeting with Roy Halladay

Phillies prospect Nick Pivetta has long-awaited meeting with Roy Halladay

CLEARWATER, Fla. – Phillies pitching prospect Nick Pivetta had one of those pinch-me moments Saturday.

He met his boyhood idol, Roy Halladay, at a charity event.

Someone had filled in Halladay that Pivetta had grown up in Canada and had regularly watched Toronto Blue Jays games on television. Pivetta loved watching Halladay pitch, as he talked about a few weeks ago here.

“I got to briefly shake his hand,” Pivetta said Sunday morning. “He knew I was like a stalker. He said, ‘Oh, right, you’re the guy from British Columbia.’ “

Halladay, who pitched for the Phils from 2010 to 2013, lives in the Clearwater area. Pivetta said he expected to speak more with Halladay in the coming days.

Halladay was honored at the 44th annual Clearwater For Youth banquet and Pivetta attended with a number of his teammates and Phillies officials. Phillies chairman David Montgomery and his wife Lyn were also honored for their charitable works.

Pivetta will pitch for Team Canada in the World Baseball Classic in March.

Phillies manager Pete Mackanin: Adam Morgan is a definite bullpen candidate

Phillies manager Pete Mackanin: Adam Morgan is a definite bullpen candidate

CLEARWATER, Fla. -- Just pitch.
 
Don’t worry about the role.
 
Just pitch.
 
That’s Adam Morgan’s mindset this spring.
 
“I’m just trying to show whoever needs to see it that I can be an asset to this team,” the left-hander said after his spring debut against the New York Yankees on Saturday (see story). “I’m just keeping it simple that way. I’m not trying to go out for that fifth (starting) spot. If the fifth spot opens up, I’d be more than willing to do that. If they want to put me in the bullpen, I’d be more than willing to do that. If they want me to be the backup catcher, I’ll be the backup catcher.”
 
The Phillies have plenty of candidates for backup catcher.
 
And the top five spots in their starting rotation, barring an unforeseen development, are accounted for.
 
But there is a way for Morgan to make this team.
 
“He’s definitely a bullpen candidate,” manager Pete Mackanin said.
 
Mackanin is on record as saying he’d like to have two lefties in what likely will be a seven-man bullpen. It might not work out that way, but that would be Mackanin’s preference.
 
Morgan is one of what appears to be four candidates along with Joely Rodriguez, Cesar Ramos and Sean Burnett. Ramos and Burnett are experienced major-league veterans in camp on minor-league contracts. Rodriguez is the only pure lefty reliever on the 40-man roster. Morgan, of course, is on the 40-man roster, but he’s mainly been a starter in his career.

There’s a long way to go in spring training and it would not be surprising to see general manager Matt Klentak add to the list of lefty relief candidates with some type of pickup before the end of camp.
 
But for now, it’s just these four.
 
Morgan, who turns 27 on Monday, started and pitched two scoreless innings against the Yankees on Saturday and will likely continue to have his innings stretched out throughout the Grapefruit League season, just in case he’s needed as a starter.

Ramos and Rodriguez both pitched an inning Saturday. Ramos allowed a hit and a run. Rodriguez had a clean inning. Burnett was tagged for two hits and two runs on Friday.
 
Morgan made 21 starts for the Phillies last season. He also made two relief appearances and finished the season with a 6.04 ERA. He was sent to Triple A in July and returned in mid-August. He made nine starts after returning and pitched at least six innings and gave up two or fewer earned runs in four of them.
 
During his time in Triple A, Morgan started throwing a two-seam fastball or sinker. He’s continued to throw it this spring and believes it will help him.
 
“I learned to trust the two-seamer last year and that’s what I hope to keep moving forward with,” he said.
 
Will it take him to the Phillies’ bullpen?
 
He hopes so. He got a taste of relieving last season and liked it.
 
“Oh, yeah, I loved it,” he said. “Every time the phone rang down there, I was on high alert. It was awesome. It’s a rush.
 
“But wherever I land, I land. I’d be willing to play anywhere on this team.”