Instant Replay: Dodgers 6, Phillies 0

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Instant Replay: Dodgers 6, Phillies 0

BOX SCORE

LOS ANGELES – The Phillies fell to a season-worst 30 games under .500 and were shut out for the second game in a row -- on two hits -- in a 6-0 loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers on Thursday night.

Zack Greinke pitched eight scoreless innings and gave up just one hit. He lowered his majors-best ERA to 1.39. He has pitched 35 2/3 scoreless innings over his last five starts.

The Phillies were shut out by Clayton Kershaw on Wednesday night. It gets no easier in San Francisco on Friday night as the Phils face Giants ace Madison Bumgarner.

The Phils (29-59) have been shut out 10 times this season.

Starting pitching report
Rookie right-hander Severino Gonzalez gave up a pair of big hits that resulted in four runs in his 5 2/3 innings.

Gonzalez did not allow a run for the first three innings and got the first two outs in the fourth. He then hurt himself with a four-pitch walk to Yasmani Grandal and a hit batsman on an 0-2 pitch. That set up Yasiel Puig for a two-run double.

Gonzalez allowed a leadoff single in the bottom of the sixth and a two-run homer to Adrian Gonzalez.

Gonzalez is now 3-3 with a 7.92 ERA.

Greinke (8-2) threw just 94 pitches, but did not finish the game. He did not walk a batter and struck out eight.

Kershaw walked none and struck out 13 on Wednesday night.

Bullpen report
Hector Neris allowed a two-run homer to Puig in the eighth.

Joel Peralta pitched the ninth for the Dodgers, finishing off the shutout. He allowed a single.

At the plate
Ryan Howard had the Phillies’ first hit, a single to left in the second inning. Ben Revere had the second hit with two outs in the ninth.

Puig took extra batting practice with Dodgers hitting coach Mark McGwire long before the game and it paid off with a two-run double in the fourth and a two-run homer in the eighth.

Adrian Gonzalez has 17 home runs and 53 RBIs.

Up next
The Phillies open a three-game series in San Francisco against the Giants on Friday night. Here are the pitching matchups:

Friday night – LHP Cole Hamels (5-6, 3.02) vs. LHP Madison Bumgarner (8-5, 3.34)

Saturday night – RHP David Buchanan (0-5, 8.76) vs. RHP Ryan Vogelsong (6-6, 4.10)

Sunday afternoon – RHP Chad Billingsley (1-2, 6.67) vs. RHP Chris Heston (8-5, 3.51).

Phillies want 2 bats for Velasquez, deal unlikely at this point; Tigers check on Hellickson

Phillies want 2 bats for Velasquez, deal unlikely at this point; Tigers check on Hellickson

ATLANTA – Two days before the non-waiver trade deadline, the Phillies have several pitchers who could be on the move.

The market for Jeremy Hellickson, Saturday night’s starter against the Braves, remains alive. The Phillies have received several offers, but nothing yet to their liking. A strong start against Atlanta on Saturday would certainly help the right-hander's value.

The Phillies had talks with Miami about Hellickson, but the Marlins filled their need for starting pitching by acquiring Andrew Cashner and Colin Rea from San Diego earlier in the week.

Pittsburgh, Texas, Toronto, Baltimore, the Dodgers and others remain in the market for starting pitching. The Detroit Tigers could be a team to watch on Hellickson. They had a scout come in to watch Hellickson pitch in Atlanta on Saturday night.

The headline-grabbing name on the Phillies’ trade front remains Vince Velasquez. Major league sources continue to tell CSNPhilly.com that the Phillies have had meaningful trade discussions with the Texas Rangers involving the power-armed right-hander.

Sources say a deal is unlikely at this time because the Phillies are seeking a high price and the Rangers could use their prospect resources in their quest to add a more established pitcher like Chris Sale or Chris Archer or a catcher like Milwaukee’s Jonathan Lucroy. But it remains noteworthy that the Phillies have made Velasquez available for the right price.

What is that price?

Sources say the Phillies would like to get two hitters from Texas’ bounty. One of those hitters must be ready to play in the majors now and the other must be close. The Rangers have a number of hitters who fit this description. Outfielder Nomar Mazara is almost certainly untouchable. (He was last year in the Cole Hamels talks). Power-hitting outfielder Joey Gallo, infielder Jurickson Profar and outfielder Lewis Brinson would probably fit the Phils’ wish list.

A source described the Phillies as being “pretty deep” in talks with Texas. The Rangers even dispatched a top scout to watch Velasquez pitch in Atlanta on Friday night. The scout was not in attendance for Saturday night’s game.

Relievers David Hernandez and Jeanmar Gomez are also in play in the last couple of days before the deadline. The Giants, who need bullpen help, have had scouts tailing the Phillies for a couple of weeks.

MLB Notes: Nationals acquire All-Star closer Mark Melancon from Pirates

MLB Notes: Nationals acquire All-Star closer Mark Melancon from Pirates

SAN FRANCISCO -- The Washington Nationals have acquired All-Star closer Mark Melancon from the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Washington sent reliever Felipe Rivero and pitching prospect Taylor Hearn to the Pirates for Melancon, who supplants Jonathan Papelbon as Washington's closer.

Melancon, a 31-year-old right-hander, has 30 saves and a 1.51 ERA this season. He is making $9.65 million and is eligible for free agency after the World Series.

Papelbon is 2-4 with a 4.41 ERA and has allowed eight runs and seven hits in his past three outing. Manager Dusty Baker wouldn't say earlier Saturday whether Papelbon still was his closer. Baker pulled Papelbon from a game Thursday in the ninth inning.

Rivero, a 25-year-old lefty, is 0-3 with a 4.53 ERA this season. Hearn is a 21-year-old lefty who was the Nationals' fifth-round pick in the 2015 amateur draft (see full story).

GIANTS: Pence back after 48-game absence
SAN FRANCISCO -- Giants right fielder Hunter Pence was activated Saturday and in the starting lineup against the Nationals after missing 48 games with a strained right hamstring that required surgery.

San Francisco hopes Pence will bring some much-needed life to a club that had lost 11 of 13 since the All-Star break.

Newly acquired infielder Eduardo Nunez made his first start since joining the team in a trade from Minnesota on Thursday and having his first at-bat Friday. Nunez was playing shortstop Saturday because Brandon Crawford, who lined into a bases-loaded triple play during Friday's 4-1 loss, had a sore left hand from a swing early in the game.

Center fielder Denard Span also was out of the lineup because of a tender quadriceps from a collision at home plate Friday.

The Giants designated for assignment infielder Ramiro Pena to clear roster room for Pence's return.  

MARINERS: Karns to DL, Martin recalled
CHICAGO -- The Seattle Mariners have placed right-hander Nathan Karns on the 15-day disabled list with a lower back strain a day after he was roughed up in a relief appearance.

Right-hander Cody Martin was recalled from Triple-A Tacoma before Saturday's game against the Cubs.

Chicago scored five runs in two innings off Karns in Friday's 12-1 romp. He gave up three hits, walked three and allowed a home run to David Ross.

Karns began the season as a starter, but was moved to the bullpen in June. He has a 5.15 ERA.

Martin has appeared in two games and thrown four innings for Seattle this season, allowing one run and five hits.

Tonight's lineup: Ryan Howard back in the lineup, batting cleanup

Tonight's lineup: Ryan Howard back in the lineup, batting cleanup

After scoring just once on Friday night, the Phillies are sticking with nearly the same lineup on Saturday (7:10/NBC10).

Ryan Howard moves into the cleanup spot, replacing Tommy Joseph at first base. Other than Howard, the lineup stays the same with Cesar Hernandez leading off.

Howard pinch hit in the ninth inning on Friday and hit a double, giving him a little momentum into Saturday. He last started on Tuesday vs. the Marlins. He's looked more like his normal self in July, batting .257 with a .543 slugging percentage in 35 at-bats for the month. The veteran has raised his average from a paltry .151 to start the month to a slightly less worse .167. 

He has three home runs in July and two career home runs off Julio Teheran, the Braves' starter steeped in trade rumors (see Game Notes)

Aaron Altherr makes his third start in as many days since coming off the disabled list. He went 0 for 4 on Friday after a three-hit season debut on Thursday. Odubel Herrera and Maikel Franco take their same spots in the lineup, batting second and third, respectively. 

Here is tonight's lineup:
1. Cesar Hernandez, 2B
2. Odubel Herrera, CF
3. Maikel Franco, 3B
4. Ryan Howard, 1B
5. Aaron Altherr, RF
6. Cameron Rupp, C
7. Cody Asche, LF
8. Freddy Galvis, SS
9. Jeremy Hellickson, P