Instant Replay: Phillies 4, Diamondbacks 3

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Instant Replay: Phillies 4, Diamondbacks 3

BOX SCORE

For the third night in a row, the Phillies saved the drama for the end.

Chase Utley got a rare walk-off walk to drive home the winning run as the Phillies rallied past the Arizona Diamondbacks, 4-3, on Friday night at Citizens Bank Park. For the Phillies (58-70), it was the fourth win in the last five games with all of them coming with a walk-off in the ninth.

The Phillies’ last walk-off walk was April 3, 2008 when Jayson Werth drew one to beat the Nationals, 8-7.

Meanwhile, the Phillies have won three games in a row for just the sixth time this season and for the first time since beating the Mets on July 19 in the first game after the All-Star break.

Under interim manager Ryne Sandberg the Phillies are 5-3.

Starting pitching report
Lefty Cole Hamels pitched better than his line indicated. Charged with three runs on six hits and a walk in seven innings, Hamels might have escaped trouble in the fourth inning with some better defense.

Hamels plunked Adam Eaton on an 0-2 pitch to start the inning and then gave up a double to Paul Goldschmidt on a routine fly ball that leftfielder Dom Brown lost in the lights. A few pitches later, Martin Prado hit a double on a ball that rolled past Brown and centerfielder John Mayberry Jr.

D’backs’ lefty Wade Miley allowed three runs on five hits and two walks in six innings. Miley had allowed just two hits until the sixth inning when the Phillies loaded the bases twice with three hits, a walk and a hit batsman.

Hamels has pitched at least seven innings in his last six starts and in nine of his last 10.

Bullpen report
Righty B.J. Rosenberg pitched a perfect eighth inning, picking up a strikeout. Closer Jonathan Papelbon faced four batters in a scoreless ninth to pick up his fourth win.

At the plate
Darin Ruf hit his major league-leading eighth homer of August in the second inning to get the Phillies on the board. The shot was Ruf’s 10th of the season and second in as many games.

Carlos Ruiz also continued his hot streak with a two-run, bases-loaded double in the sixth that tied the game.

Ruf, Ruiz and Brown each had two hits.

Up next
The series continues on Saturday night when rookie Ethan Martin (2-2, 5.23) faces right-hander Randall Delgado (4-4, 3.82).

Martin will be making his fifth big-league start. Delgado faced the Phillies twice when he played for the Braves, going 0-1 with a 2.77 ERA with five strikeouts and one walk.

Phillies getting good reports on catching prospect Jorge Alfaro

Phillies getting good reports on catching prospect Jorge Alfaro

Jorge Alfaro, one of the Phillies' most highly regarded prospects, is off to a big start at Triple A Lehigh Valley.
 
He entered Wednesday night's game hitting .377 (23 for 61) with a 1.003 OPS in his first 15 games. He had a double, two triples, three homers and 10 RBIs. Team officials would surely like to see the strikeouts (17) come down and the walks (1) go up, but no one is complaining about the production.
 
"I just looked at his numbers," manager Pete Mackanin said. "He's doing very well — knocking the cover off the ball."
 
Alfaro, 23, is widely considered the Phillies' catcher of the future. He's an athletic talent with huge upside. Many scouts believe he could be an All-Star if he puts it all together.
 
Defense is the area where Alfaro needs the most work. Yes, he's got a "howitzer" for an arm, as Mackanin called it, so that doesn't need much work. But there's a lot more to catching than throwing. There's game-calling, receiving and blocking.
 
Alfaro made a cameo with the big club last September and did not impress club officials with his receiving or blocking. Instructors focused on improving those areas in spring training, and Mackanin reports that Alfaro has shown progress in the early season.
 
"We get a complete game report on what everyone does offensively and defensively," Mackanin said. "Apparently he looks very good defensively.
 
"He had some issues defensively. He wasn't getting down enough and he worked on that all spring. He's a big guy and it's a little more difficult for a big guy to get low.
 
"And we wanted him to just be a little more quiet behind the plate, less movement. He had a tendency to be moving while the pitcher was getting ready to pitch. We just want a guy sitting back there nice and quiet with a good target. That might seem pretty elementary, but if you're not concentrating on doing that you might not realize the importance of it.
 
"He's doing well blocking balls. He's doing everything well right now and hitting on top of it, so that's a nice sign."

Clay Buchholz optimistic he can still pitch in 2017 after surgery

Clay Buchholz optimistic he can still pitch in 2017 after surgery

Pitcher Clay Buchholz made his first appearance in the Phillies' clubhouse Wednesday since having surgery to repair a torn flexor tendon in his right forearm last week.  

Many initially believed Buchholz would be out for the remainder of the season -- and he still might be -- but he expressed optimism and believes he can return to the mound in September.

"My goal right now is to let this heal," Buchholz said. "Get it well and if this team keeps playing like they're playing right now, we'll be playing in September, October, so that's my goal."

Buchholz said he wasn't feeling 100 percent leading up to the April 11 game against the New York Mets when manager Pete Mackanin pulled him in the third inning. 

"I told [general manager Matt Klentak] that I was sorry, and the guys in here," Buchholz said. "I was brought here for a reason. I wanted to pitch, I wanted to be good. I guess it's a good thing we have a good farm system here because they've been able to step up and fill in."

Buchholz had a similar issue with the Boston Red Sox in July 2015 and missed the rest of the season. 

In his two starts with the Phillies, Buchholz allowed 10 runs and 19 baserunners over just 7 1/3 innings. 
 
Buchholz, 32, will become a free agent at the end of the season. Given his age and the possibility that he won't return this season, the injury could significantly affect his value heading into the offseason. He's the second-highest paid player on the Phillies' roster at $13.5 million

But Buchholz wants to build the strength in his forearm and continue to pitch in MLB following this season.

"There's a lot of guys that come back," Buchholz said. "I have a lot of buddies that played this game that have come back from major surgeries and played for eight or nine more years. It's all about once I do get healthy, being prepared and building a strong foundation around my muscles."