Instant Replay: Phillies 1, Braves 0

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Instant Replay: Phillies 1, Braves 0

BOX SCORE

One day after losing 1-0, the Phillies ended their nine-game homestand on a high note, avoided their third sweep in their last four home series, and exacted revenge on the Braves Thursday afternoon with a 1-0 win of their own.

Ben Revere's RBI single with two outs in the eighth inning provided the game's lone run. It came two pitches after Ryan Howard worked a full-count, pinch-hit walk against a left-handed pitcher.

By salvaging the final game of the Braves series, the Phillies improve to 7-8 ahead of an impending 10-game West Coast road trip. The Braves are 10-5.

Starting pitching report
A.J. Burnett, in his first outing since being diagnosed with an inguinal hernia, made his best start as a Phillie.

Burnett allowed just five baserunners over seven shutout innings and induced a season-high 13 groundouts, giving the Phillies a glimpse of what they paid $16 million for.

Even after a pair of shaky, six-walk outings, Burnett's ERA is down to 2.74. He didn't factor into the decision, however, and is still chasing his first victory as a Phillie.

Burnett worked around early control issues -- he walked the pitcher in the third inning and ran eight three-ball counts -- to throw 101 pitches.

Braves left-hander Alex Wood was also sharp through seven innings, but surrendered the game-winning run in the eighth.

The lefty Wood (2-2, 1.67) allowed eight hits and a run over eight innings, with one walk and seven strikeouts.

Bullpen report
Antonio Bastardo allowed a leadoff double to Braves backup catcher Gerald Laird to start the eighth, but struck out Wood, got Jason Heyward to line out, and popped up B.J. Upton on a 3-2 pitch that Upton narrowly mistimed to end the inning.

Jonathan Papelbon came on for a 1-2-3 save, his fourth of the season. Since allowing three runs in Texas to blow his first save opportunity of the year, Papelbon has pitched five scoreless innings and allowed just one hit.

The win went to Bastardo.

At the plate
Revere went 3 for 4 with the game-winning hit and a bunt single. He was also caught stealing for the first time this season on a pickoff.

Chase Utley, who had his 11-game hitting streak snapped Wednesday night, rebounded to go 2 for 3. Utley, who hit .219 against lefties from 2011-13, is 10 for 20 this season against left-handed pitchers. Those 10 hits vs. left-handed pitchers lead the majors. Mike Trout has nine.

Jayson Nix, starting at third base in place of Cody Asche, went 0 for 3 with three strikeouts. Nix is hitting .150 this season with no walks, no extra-base hits, and 10 strikeouts in 20 at-bats.

Successful challenge
With two outs in the fifth inning, Braves shortstop Andrelton Simmons appeared to have second base stolen, but he overslid the bag. Second base umpire Bill Welke initially called Simmons safe as he raced to stretch his hand back to the base.

Bench coach Larry Bowa made a "Who knows?" gesture to Ryne Sandberg from the dugout, but Sandberg challenged anyway and was rewarded, as further replays showed Simmons' fingertips were just off the bag as Jimmy Rollins applied the tag.

Boo birds
Burnett grounded out in the sixth inning on a ball Dan Uggla bobbled twice. Loud boos came down on Citizens Bank Park toward Burnett after the play, presumably based on a perceived lack of hustle.

This after Burnett had already shut the Braves out for six innings ... with a hernia.

Attendance
A nice, round number -- 25,750 paying customers at Citizens Bank Park on a chilly Thursday afternoon.

Next up
The Phillies will fly to Denver tonight and begin a three-game series at Coors Field against the Colorado Rockies at 8:40 p.m. Friday.

Here are the pitching matchups ...

Friday: Jonathan Pettibone (0-0, 1.80) vs. Tyler Chatwood (0-0, 6.00)
Saturday: Kyle Kendrick (0-1, 3.50) vs. Jordan Lyles (2-0, 4.32)
Sunday: Roberto Hernandez (1-0, 3.86) vs. Juan Nicasio (2-0, 3.50)

Chatwood, Lyles and Nicasio are all right-handed pitchers.

Andrew Knapp to make Phillies' roster -- remaining roster decisions are close

Andrew Knapp to make Phillies' roster -- remaining roster decisions are close

CLEARWATER, Fla. -- The pathway for Andrew Knapp to make the Phillies' opening day roster as the backup catcher was cleared way back in November when he was added to the 40-man roster.

The job all but became Knapp's on Monday when the team released two veteran catchers who were not on the 40-man roster. When Ryan Hanigan and Bryan Holaday were let go, Knapp became one of just two catchers in camp, the other being starter Cameron Rupp (see story).

So it's pretty obvious that the 25-year-old Knapp will open the season with the big club -- even though nothing will become official until rosters are filed with the commissioner's office this weekend.

"Obviously there are four or five days left," Knapp said. "I'm just going to keep trying to make good impressions and try to win a job. I'm keeping my head down, trying not to think about it too much."

Knapp was the Phillies' second-round draft pick of Cal-Berkeley in 2013. He has never played in the majors.

"It would be a dream come true," he said. "Everyone hopes to get called up at some point but to make a team on opening day would be pretty special and it would be the best moment in my career so far."

Phillies manager Pete Mackanin acknowledged that Knapp would probably make the club.

Mackanin would like to have the rest of his roster in order over the next day or two.

"As soon as possible," he said. "Because the last four or five games I'd like to play almost as if it were a season -- using the bullpen that way, using the bench in a certain way, seeing what it looks like, our bench guys, all our hitters. We just don't want to make a bad decision so we're just going to string it out as long as we can."

Roster questions must still be answered on the bench and in the bullpen.

How does the bench shape up? Andres Blanco, Aaron Altherr and Knapp are set. The Phils are expected to go with a five-man bench so that leaves two openings. There are four players vying for those spots: Chris Coghlan, Daniel Nava, Brock Stassi and Jesmuel Valentin. Valentin has impressed, but at 22 years old would benefit from playing every day at Triple A.

Mackanin praised Stassi's work on Monday. If Stassi makes the club, the final spot would come down to Coghlan and Nava.

"Stassi has obviously made a great impression, mainly because, not necessarily because of his results, but the fact that he had a lot of quality at-bats," Mackanin said. "It looks like he can handle making adjustments to the different pitchers and different situations. He seemed to handle left-handers well. He made a good impression, as has Coughlan. Nava has also been consistent throughout the spring."

Stassi, Coghlan and Nava are all non-roster players so the Phils would have to clear 40-man roster space to add any of them.

Two spots remain open in the bullpen. Adam Morgan, Joely Rodriguez, Luis Garcia, Alec Asher and Cesar Ramos are the candidates. All but Ramos is on the 40-man roster.

How will this all shake out?

More answers are probably coming Tuesday.

Phillies release Hanigan, Holaday; Andrew Knapp likely backup catcher

Phillies release Hanigan, Holaday; Andrew Knapp likely backup catcher

A week before the season opener, it appears Andrew Knapp has won the Phillies' backup catcher competition.

The Phils on Monday released Ryan Hanigan and Bryan Holaday, two veterans battling with Knapp for the backup spot to Cameron Rupp.

Knapp, 25, hasn't had an impressive spring, going 7 for 38 (.184) with 16 strikeouts, but the move makes sense because he's young and has at least a chance to contribute to the Phillies in the future, unlike Hanigan and Holaday. Plus, catcher Jorge Alfaro and first baseman Rhys Hoskins will likely open the season at Triple A, meaning Knapp would not have had an everyday spot with the IronPigs.

Knapp had his best game of the spring at the right time Sunday, hitting a two-run homer and throwing out two runners on the bases (see story).

"It's pretty obvious he seems to be the guy," manager Pete Mackanin said of Knapp. "Nothing's written in stone but if you read between the lines, it pretty much tells you something about it. No secret plans or anything like that. It is what it is right now."

At 25, Knapp isn't really a prospect anymore but rather a player the Phillies want to see sink or swim at the big-league level.

"He's not going to get 500 at-bats, but one of the things you can look at is any exposure to the big-league scene is valuable toward anyone's development," Mackanin said. "Let's say Knapp gets 200 at-bats, it's worth his while and our while to judge him, to give him a sense of confidence or knowing what he's up against.

"In that regard playing in the big leagues, even in a part-time role, is important."

Knapp was the Phillies' second-round pick in 2013 out of the University of California. He broke out in 2015 by hitting .360 with a 1.050 OPS and more than an RBI per game in 241 plate appearances with Double A Reading.

Last season, the switch-hitting Knapp was an International League All-Star with Triple A Lehigh Valley, though he didn't have as impressive an offensive season, batting .266/.330/.390 with eight home runs and 46 RBIs.

"He's got a chance to be a pretty good hitter," Mackanin said. "And he's come along quite a ways defensively behind the plate to where I'm comfortable with him catching.

"Little by little he's shown improvement in the spring, even though he hasn't had the greatest spring offensively. He's had a lot of good at-bats and he's caught well."

Andres Blanco, Aaron Altherr and Knapp look like locks for the Phillies' bench. The final two bench spots are open with Brock Stassi, Chris Coghlan, Daniel Nava and Jesmuel Valentin in the running (see story).

CSN Philly's Jim Salisbury contributed to this report.