Instant Replay: Phillies 2, Giants 1

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Instant Replay: Phillies 2, Giants 1

BOX SCORE

The Phillies avoided a sweep as they held off the San Francisco Giants, 2-1, behind Cole Hamels on Thursday afternoon at Citizens Bank Park.

Hamels spun a gem in his second straight win -– both by a score of 2-1.

The Phillies lost the first three games of the series. They avoided being swept in two four-game series at home in the same season for the first time since 1972. They were swept at home by Atlanta earlier this season.

The Phils are 44-58.

Starting pitching report
Hamels went eight innings and allowed six hits and a run. He walked one and struck out 10. He has 19 strikeouts in his last two starts and just one walk.

Hamels (5-5) had a terrific fastball, reaching 95 mph.

San Francisco’s Tim Hudson (8-7) was not supported by good defense. Both of the runs he allowed in six innings were unearned. He allowed two hits, walked two and struck out eight.

Bullpen report
Jonathan Papelbon, who had blown a save and gotten a loss the previous two nights, pitched a 1-2-3 ninth for his 24th save. Papelbon answered the bell after throwing 55 pitches the previous two nights.

Papelbon tied Goose Gossage for 21st on the all-time saves list with his 310th save.

At the plate
Jimmy Rollins doubled in the first inning, moved up on a passed ball and scored on a base hit by Marlon Byrd.

Chase Utley drove in the Phillies’ second run with a single two batters after Ben Revere reached on a two-base error by Giants leftfielder Michael Morse.

After torching the Phils for seven hits and six RBIs in the first three games, Hunter Pence struck out three times against Hamels. It was the first time Pence had struck out three times against the same pitcher in a game this season. The last time he did that he was a Phillie in 2012.

Second baseman Ehire Adrianza knocked in the Giants’ run with a fifth inning single.

Howard benched
Ryan Howard sat out for the second day in a row and manager Ryne Sandberg said a platoon could be coming. Details here

Up next
The Phillies host the similarly bad Arizona Diamondbacks for three games beginning Friday night. Here are the pitching matchups:

Friday night –- RH Kyle Kendrick (4-10, 4.87) vs. LH Wade Miley (6-6, 4.16)

Saturday night –- LH Cliff Lee (4-5, 3.67) vs. RH Josh Collmenter (8-5, 3.64)

Sunday afternoon –- RH Roberto Hernandez (4-8, 4.25) vs. LH Vidal Nuno (0-1, 3.78)

As Aaron Altherr's audition begins, Pete Mackanin says Cody Asche 'needs to step it up'

As Aaron Altherr's audition begins, Pete Mackanin says Cody Asche 'needs to step it up'

ATLANTA — Nearly four months late, Aaron Altherr is finally getting his shot to show the Phillies he deserves to be part of their future outfield plans.

Altherr, 25, was activated from the disabled list before Thursday night’s game against the Braves and was in the lineup, batting fifth (see story). Altherr will see a lot of playing time over the final two-plus months of the season. He’s essentially auditioning.

“We want to see him play as much as possible,” manager Pete Mackanin said before the game. “So if he stays healthy, I’m going to keep running him out there. That’s what this year is all about. We’re finding out about the guys that are here. He is a potentially important part so we want to see what he does. I’m anxious to see what he does.”

Altherr, a ninth-round draft pick in 2009, played in 39 games for the Phillies last season. He hit just .241, but 20 of his 33 hits were for extra bases and he had a .827 OPS. He was slated to be the team’s everyday rightfielder before suffering a wrist injury that required surgery early in spring training.

Altherr is healthy now and eager for his chance.

“I’m good to go mentally and physically,” he said Thursday afternoon. “I’m definitely excited to be back up.”

Altherr took Peter Bourjos' spot on the roster. Bourjos was placed on the disabled list with a sprained right shoulder two days after running into the outfield wall in Miami.

With Mackanin committed to giving Altherr playing time, it will be interesting to see how the skipper divides up playing time with the remaining outfielders, especially when Bourjos recovers. Bourjos was a trade candidate before his injury. He could still be moved in a waiver deal once he’s healthy in August. Tyler Goeddel, Cody Asche and Jimmy Paredes also play corner outfield spots and much heralded prospect Nick Williams is expected to be here at some point (see Future Phillies Report).

Asche is walking a tightrope. He entered Thursday night’s game mired in a 4-for-51 skid and Mackanin seems to be losing patience.

“As I said earlier in the season, this is a very big year for Cody to prove that he can be part of the future and he needs to step it up,” Mackanin said.

Tonight's lineup: Aaron Altherr bats 5th for Phillies in season debut

Tonight's lineup: Aaron Altherr bats 5th for Phillies in season debut

Aaron Altherr, activated by the Phillies Thursday afternoon, bats fifth and plays right field in his season debut in Atlanta. 

Sometimes one hitter can make a lineup look much different. Altherr's presence in the middle of the Phillies order provides them with three power hitters, something they've seldom had this season. He provides some protection out of the five-hole for Tommy Joseph and Maikel Franco, who precede him.

Cesar Hernandez remains in the leadoff spot for the Phillies after going 3 for 4 with a walk Wednesday to raise his batting average to .290. 

Cody Asche may soon lose playing time as the Phils' outfield picture gets more crowded, but for now his lineup spot appears safe. With Peter Bourjos on the DL, Asche gets the start in left field and bats eighth.

1. Cesar Hernandez, 2B
2. Odubel Herrera, CF
3. Maikel Franco, 3B
4. Tommy Joseph, 1B
5. Aaron Altherr, RF
6. Carlos Ruiz, C
7. Freddy Galvis, SS
8. Cody Asche, LF
9. Aaron Nola, P

Phillies reinstate Aaron Altherr, place Peter Bourjos on 15-day DL

Phillies reinstate Aaron Altherr, place Peter Bourjos on 15-day DL

The player who was projected to be the Phillies' opening day rightfielder and No. 5 hitter is finally ready to play. The Phils on Thursday reinstated outfielder Aaron Altherr from the disabled list after he missed the season's first 103 games with a wrist injury.

Altherr takes the 25-man roster spot of Peter Bourjos, who was placed on the 15-day DL with a right shoulder sprain.

Altherr, 25, impressed with power late last season, hitting .241/.338/.489 for the Phillies with 11 doubles, four triples, five home runs and 22 RBIs in 161 plate appearances. 

He tore a tendon sheath in his wrist on a diving catch attempt early in spring training, had surgery and missed about four months in total. The Phils were patient with Altherr during his rehab assignment, giving him the full 20 days before making the decision to add him to the active roster. In 13 games at four different levels during the rehab stint, Altherr went 14 for 41 (.341) with two doubles, a homer and seven walks.

Bourjos injured his shoulder running into the wall at Marlins Park earlier this week. The injury will keep him from being traded ahead of the Aug. 1 non-waiver deadline, but Bourjos could be moved in August. He hit .410 in June but was slumping before the injury, hitting .148 over his last 14 games.