Instant Replay: Phillies 4, Nationals 2

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Instant Replay: Phillies 4, Nationals 2

BOX SCORE

Michael Young went 3 for 4 with three doubles and an RBI, and Cliff Lee continued his season of brilliant pitching by scattering five hits in eight innings as the Phillies rolled to a 4-2 victory over Washington Tuesday night at Citizens Bank Park.

After completing a wretched 3-7 road trip, the Phillies have returned home to win two straight over the Nationals and have moved into a tie for second place in the NL East.

At 35-37, the Phillies are seven games behind the first-place Braves in the division.

Starting pitching report
Lee struck out nine hitters without allowing a walk. He threw 19 first-pitch strikes to the 29 hitters he faced and had one three-ball count in the game.

Meanwhile, Lee pitched at least eight innings for the sixth time this season and he has made it through at least eight innings and allowed two or fewer runs in 60 starts since 2008.

With the win, Lee improves to 9-2 with a 2.53 ERA. He also pitched at least seven innings for the 13th time in his 15 starts this season.

Nats starter Ross Detwiler allowed all four runs on seven hits and two hit batsmen over six innings. Detwiler struck out four.

Bullpen report
A night after blowing his first save chance of the season, Jonathan Papelbon faced four hitters in the ninth for his 14th save.

At the plate
Young had three doubles in a game for the second time in his career. He is the first Phillie to get three doubles in a game this season and is the first to do it since John Mayberry on July 10, 2011.

Additionally, Ryan Howard added an RBI in the fourth inning and led off the eighth inning with a stand-up triple. Since the calendar flipped to June, Howard has a .448 on-base percentage.

Kevin Frandsen helped the Phillies extend their lead during the three-run sixth inning with a two-out, two-run, bases-loaded single.

The Nats got both of their runs on solo homers. Jayson Werth hit a pitch into the left-field seats with two outs in the fourth, while Jeff Kobernus hit a pinch homer with one out in the eighth.

Transactions
Before the game, catcher Carlos Ruiz was activated from the disabled list (see story). To make room for Ruiz on the 25-man roster, catcher Steven Lerud was optioned to Triple A Lehigh Valley.

On the farm
Continuing his comeback bid in the Phillies’ farm system, three-time All-Star Carlos Zambrano pitched seven scoreless innings for Triple A Lehigh Valley at Toledo on Tuesday night (see story). He allowed five hits, walked one and had six strikeouts.

The Phillies have until July 1 to call up Zambrano to the big leagues. If they don’t, Zambrano can ask for his release.

Up next
The Phillies and Nationals finish the three-game series on Wednesday night when Kyle Kendrick (6-4, 3.76) takes on former Phillies minor-leaguer Gio Gonzalez (3-3, 3.40).

Kendrick lost to the Nationals on May 24, allowing five runs on eight hits and four walks in five innings. In 20 career appearances against Washington, Kendrick is 4-6 with a 4.90 ERA.

Gonzalez hasn’t faced the Phillies this season but is 3-1 with a 2.52 ERA and 29 strikeouts in 25 innings against the Phils in his career.

Best of MLB: Josh Reddick's big day helps Astros sweep A's

Best of MLB: Josh Reddick's big day helps Astros sweep A's

OAKLAND, Calif. -- Josh Reddick homered and scored four runs, Jake Marisnick and Marwin Gonzalez each went deep and the Houston Astros beat the Oakland Athletics 12-9 on Thursday.

The major league-leading Astros completed a four-game sweep with their 10th straight victory in Oakland and their 15th win in 16 games against the A's overall. They've won 12 of their last 14 road games. Their 27-8 record away from home is the best in the majors.

Reddick also doubled, tripled and drew a walk, and Marisnick and Gonzalez each drove in three runs.

David Paulino (2-0) struck out six and gave up three runs, seven hits and two walks. The 23-year-old rookie right-hander struck out five of his first six batters in his sixth career start.

Astros center fielder George Springer left with a left hand contusion after being struck by a fastball from Jesse Hahn (3-5) leading off the game. The ball also grazed Springer's left shoulder. Springer is tied for second in the AL with 21 home runs. His status is day-to-day (see full recap).

Goldschmidt, Diamondbacks blast Rockies
DENVER -- Paul Goldschmidt and Chris Owings hit three-run homers, Zack Godley threw well into the eighth inning, and the Arizona Diamondbacks beat the Colorado Rockies 10-3 on Thursday.

Goldschmidt finished with three hits and four RBIs to increase his season total to 64, tops in the majors.

Arizona took two of three in the NL West matchup and is now tied with Colorado for second place in the division behind the Dodgers. The Diamondbacks have won 12 of 14 and are a season-high 19 games above .500.

Godley gave up a home run to Charlie Blackmon to lead off the first inning, but shut down the Rockies from there.

Blackmon drew a walk in the third, then Godley erased him with a double-play ball to end the inning. He didn't allow a hit after Nolan Arenado's one-out single in the first and retired 19 of the next 20 batters before Raimel Tapia and Pat Valaika singled and doubled to lead off the eighth.

Godley (3-1) allowed three runs on four hits and struck out eight in seven-plus innings. He also helped himself with an RBI single in the eighth.

The Diamondbacks hit a Colorado rookie pitcher hard for the second straight night. Wednesday they scored 10 runs in the fourth off Jeff Hoffman, and Thursday they battered right-hander Antonio Senzatela (9-3) for nine runs in five innings.

Owings' homer in the third, his ninth, made it 5-1, and Goldschmidt hit his 18th to cap a four-run fourth to make it 9-1 (see full recap).

Knebel sets strikeout mark as Brewers top Pirates
MILWAUKEE -- Corey Knebel broke Arodlis Chapman's modern-era record for most consecutive games by a reliever with a strikeout at a season's start, fanning a batter for the 38th straight game and closing out the Milwaukee Brewers' 4-2 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates on Thursday.

Knebel struck out Josh Bell on a foul tip leading off the ninth. The 25-year-old right-hander retired Elias Diaz and Andrew McCutchen on popouts, finishing a four-hitter for his 12th save in 15 chances.

Chapman had set the mark since 1900 as part of a streak of 49 games for Cincinnati that began in August 2013 and ended the following August.

Travis Shaw drove in three runs with a homer and two doubles, and he came within inches of a second home run.

Chase Anderson (6-2) allowed two runs and two hits in six innings (see full recap).

Pete Mackanin 'not pleased' with Odubel Herrera's base-running blunders

Pete Mackanin 'not pleased' with Odubel Herrera's base-running blunders

Odubel Herrera’s return to the dugout was so slow that home plate umpire Nic Lentz had to clap to speed him along. Herrera obliged, accelerating to an effortless jog until he left Lentz’s sight. Then he went back to a hung head and a crawling pace as he reached the steps. Boos met his ears through it all. 

Herrera was picked off third base by Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina for the second out of the fourth inning on Thursday. It didn’t matter much as the Phillies beat the Cardinals, 5-1 (see Instant Replay), guided by Aaron Nola’s the best outing in a long time (see story)

However, Herrera made a base-running blunder at the same spot Wednesday night, when he blew through a Juan Samuel stop sign and was out by a mile at home plate to make the final out in the ninth inning of a tie game. And later on Thursday, while on second during a running count and Maikel Franco behind him at first, Herrera didn’t run on the pitch.

These are mistakes any big-leaguer should avoid. And when he’s the only player a team has signed to a long-term deal, which is supposed to last into a new era that involves winning games, the mistakes sting a bit more. 

“I’m not pleased about it,” Phillies manager Pete Mackanin said. 

Had Wednesday night’s gaffe been avoided, maybe the Phillies could have gone on to win. Thursday’s was more embarrassing than damaging. While displeased, Mackanin, who said he thought about giving Herrera Thursday off, understood what happened this time around.

“He was running contact. And when you’re running contact, you’re susceptible to getting picked off by a catcher, especially with a left-handed hitter up,” Mackanin said. “You have to be aware of that. They’re taught to be aware of that. He just didn’t take that first hard step back. And that deters the catcher from throwing to third base. It happened.” 

The Phillies have been picked off eight times this season. Entering Thursday, only four teams had been picked off more. 

The Phillies own a run scoring percentage (percentage of base runners that eventually score) of 28.0, which puts them in the bottom third of the league. While much of that can be attributed to bad bats, mistakes like Herrera’s are not helping the cause. 

At 25, Herrera is still figuring this whole thing out. But he was the Phillies’ only All-Star last year and is supposed to be a consistent presence in the lineup. 

Andres Blanco, on the opposite end of the spectrum, first saw major-league action in 2004, and should be providing a consistent presence in the Phillies’ clubhouse. Yet on Thursday, starting at second base instead of Howie Kendrick, Blanco made a veteran play on the base paths, which felt like the remedy to Herrera’s mental lapses.

In the bottom of the fifth, with two outs and Blanco on second base, Freddy Galvis grounded a ball up the middle. Cardinals shortstop Aledmys Diaz sent an errant flip to second to get the final out, and Blanco was smart enough to round third and score after the ball got loose in the infield. Mackanin called it a heads-up play. 

“That’s the kind of players you’re looking for, the guys that are going to look for those kinds of things to happen,” Mackanin said, “and they don't assume a play is going to be made and assume they might be able to take an extra base.

“He’s a veteran. I’m glad he paid attention.”