Instant Replay: Marlins 4, Phillies 3

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Instant Replay: Marlins 4, Phillies 3

BOX SCORE

The Miami Marlins beat the Phillies, 4-3, on the strength of two home runs Wednesday night at Citizens Bank Park.

Giancarlo Stanton tied the game with a mammoth two-run homer in the sixth inning. Ed Lucas broke the tie with a solo homer in the top of 10th.

The Phillies threatened in the bottom of the 10th. They had runners on second and third with no outs and the bases loaded with one out but could not push home a run against Steve Cishek.

The Phillies are 18-14 under interim manager Ryne Sandberg, who turned 54 on Wednesday.

Starting pitching report
Zach Miner filled in for scheduled starter Kyle Kendrick, who was scratched with shoulder inflammation. Miner pitched three scoreless innings in his first big-league start since Aug. 2009.

Marlins starter Nathan Eovaldi allowed three runs over five innings. Two of his four walks turned into runs.

Bullpen report
The Phillies used all relievers -- seven total -- in the game.

Ethan Martin gave up the homer to Stanton. Cesar Jimenez allowed the go-ahead homer to Lucas in the 10th.

Brad Hand got the win in relief for Miami. Cishek pitched out of a big jam in the 10th for the save.

At the plate
Chase Utley had a two-run single in the fifth inning, giving him 10 RBIs in his last three games.

Utley left the potential go-ahead run on third base when he grounded out to end the ninth.

Stanton’s 23rd homer of the season was a bomb that landed on Ashburn Alley beyond the centerfield wall and bounced in front of the Planet Hoagie concession stand.

In the field
Marlins shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria was a game-saver. He prevented the Phillies from scoring the go-ahead run when he made a diving stop on Roger Bernadina’s scorcher to end the eighth with a man on third base.

Two innings earlier, Hechavarria leaped high in the air -- we’re talking Michael Jordan hops -- to snare a liner by Cody Asche for the second out in the sixth.

Health check
An MRI revealed inflammation but no serious damage inside Kendrick’s right shoulder. He will receive a precautionary second opinion on Thursday and hopes to resume throwing on Friday (see story).

Substitution
Triple A manager Dave Brundage coached third base in place of Juan Samuel, who tended to a personal matter. Samuel is expected back over the weekend.

Up next
The Phillies are off Thursday as the world stops for Chiefs-Eagles across the street.

The Phils begin their final home series of the season Friday night against the Mets. Here are the pitching matchups:

Friday night -- LH Cole Hamels (8-13, 3.48) vs. RH Daisuke Matsuzaka (1-3, 6.12)

Saturday night -- RH Tyler Cloyd (2-5, 5.06) vs. RH Dillon Gee (11-10, 3.47)

Sunday afternoon -- LH Cliff Lee (14-6, 2.95) vs. RH Carlos Torres (3-5, 3.48).

Phillies' Darin Ruf could be facing quiet goodbye

Phillies' Darin Ruf could be facing quiet goodbye

The final eight games remaining on the Phillies’ 2016 schedule will undoubtedly serve as a farewell to Ryan Howard.

Lost in the background may be the fact this week could quite possibly be the end for the man who was supposed to platoon alongside him this year, as well: Darin Ruf.

Both men have been supplanted by Tommy Joseph, who's hit 21 home runs in just 100 games this year while positioning himself as the Phillies first baseman of the near future.

Ruf will start Saturday night against Mets’ lefthander Sean Gilmartin. The Phillies are not scheduled to face a lefty starter for the rest of the season, so Saturday could be one of the final chances to see Ruf in a Phillies uniform, especially considering manager Pete Mackanin’s stated intent to give Howard more playing time down the stretch.

“It seemed like we never faced a lefty for the first month of the season. So that didn’t help Ruf at the time,” Mackanin said.  “Joseph entered the picture and made an immediate impression.”

Ruf’s departure from the majors set the stage for Joseph’s immediate emergence. At the time of his May 13 demotion to AAA Lehigh Valley – and Joseph’s promotion -- Ruf was had a .158/.206/.193 slash line.
  
Since his Sept. 1 return to the majors after rosters expanded, Ruf has done what he can to make sure his possible final season in a Phillies uniform ends on a high note. On Friday night, he drilled a home run to left center off Mets reliever Josh Smoker in pinch-hit duty, the first time Ruf had gone yard since Oct. 1, 2015.

“It felt good,” Ruf said about ending his home run drought. “You just try to simply things and last night it worked out for me.”

Where Ruf will be next year is a more complicated matter, as the 30-year-old is out of minor league options. Japanese scouts were spotted at the games he played for AAA Lehigh Valley.

With Lehigh Valley, Ruf received an opportunity he’s never truly been able to get with the Phillies due to the longstanding presence of Howard: a chance to play every day and consistently accumulate plate appearances. He hit .294/.356/.529 in 390 trips to the plate for the IronPigs. 

Ruf has never made more than 300 plate appearances in a major league season and would struggle to crack that number if he remains in Philadelphia as a backup to Joseph, who will still be 25 on opening day next year.

“I learned [this year] that you can’t take anything for granted in this game,” Ruf said. “You’ve just got to keep working to get better every day, got to put up numbers no matter where you’re at in order to get to where you want. 

“Hopefully, wherever I’m at next year, I can do that.”

Tonight's Lineup: Jorge Alfaro catches, bats 8th vs. Mets

Tonight's Lineup: Jorge Alfaro catches, bats 8th vs. Mets

Jorge Alfaro is behind the plate for the Phillies tonight and bats eighth. Alfaro has appeared in just four games since being called up earlier this month, and has just one hit in 10 at-bats. 

Tommy Joseph is back in the lineup and batting fifth. Pete Mackanin has said that Ryan Howard would get a lot of playing time during the last few games, but it is Joseph who gets the start tonight. Joseph is batting just .154 against the Mets this season. 

Odubel Herrera, who has been hitting well in September, will remain in the three spot. He has two homers and is batting .391 over the past week. Herrera has two hits in six at-bats against Mets' starter Sean Gilmartin. 

Phillies

1. Cesar Hernandez, 2B
2. Roman Quinn, RF
3. Odubel Herrera, CF 
4. Maikel Franco, 3B 
5. Tommy Joseph, 1B
6. Darin Ruf, LF
7. Freddy Galvis, SS
8. Jorge Alfaro, C
9. Alec Asher, P