Instant Replay: Phillies 5, Marlins 3 (14 innings)

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Instant Replay: Phillies 5, Marlins 3 (14 innings)

BOX SCORE

Chase Utley drove a two-run home run deep to right with no outs in the bottom of the 14th inning to lift the Phillies to a 5-3 win over Miami Thursday night.

Utley’s home run came with Jimmy Rollins (walk) on base. Chris Hatcher surrendered the homer on an 0-2 pitch.

Justin De Fratus got the win with two scoreless innings of relief. The Phillies’ bullpen was excellent again with seven scoreless innings.

Utley has three walkoff homers in his career. This was his first since 2006. It was the 223rd homer of his career, tying him with Greg Luzinski for sixth on the Phillies’ all-time list.

With the win, the Phils moved to within five games of first place in the NL East.

Moments before Utley’s game-winner, third baseman Cody Asche made a spectacular leaping catch on a liner by Donovan Solano to end the top of the 14th and save a run.

Starting pitching report
Cole Hamels went seven innings for the 10th straight start. He allowed three runs -- all on solo homers. The left-hander did not walk a batter and struck out seven. 

Miami right-hander Tom Koehler held the Phillies to two runs on seven hits over six walk-free innings. He struck out six.

Bullpen report
Jake Diekman survived three baserunners in the top of the ninth. He struck out Marcell Ozuna on a 99-mph fastball with the bases loaded to end the top of the eighth.

Jonathan Papelbon struck out two in a quick top of the ninth inning. Antonio Bastardo pitched a scoreless 10th. Kenny Giles pitched a scoreless 11th and hit 101 mph on the stadium radar gun. Mario Hollands pitched a scoreless 12th. De Fratus pitched scoreless ball in the 13th and 14th innings. 

Miami right-hander Bryan Morris allowed an unearned run as the Phillies tied the game at 3-3 in the bottom of the seventh. Mike Dunn struck out the side in the eighth for Miami.

At the plate
Carlos Ruiz (sacrifice fly in the fourth) and Utley (two-out single in the fifth) drove in the Phillies’ first two runs.

Domonic Brown, who was held out of the starting lineup for the second time in three games, led off the seventh with a pinch-hit single. He moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Tony Gwynn Jr., and to third on a ground out. Brown scored the tying run when Miami first baseman Jeff Baker committed an error on a potential inning-ending ground ball by Jimmy Rollins.

Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Giancarlo Stanton and Ozuna all hit solo homers off Hamels.

Health check
Cliff Lee will make an important step in his recovery from an elbow strain when he throws a simulated game Friday afternoon. 

Minor matters
Pitching prospect Jesse Biddle is taking a mental break (see story).

Up next
The Phillies open a four-game series with the Atlanta Braves on Friday night. Here are the pitching matchups:

Friday night – RH Kyle Kendrick (3-7, 4.20) vs. RH Julio Teheran (6-5, 2.41)

Saturday afternoon (Game 1 of doubleheader) -- RH Roberto Hernandez (3-6, 4.41) vs. RH Ervin Santana (5-5, 4.15)

Saturday night (Game 2) -- RH Sean O’Sullivan (no record) vs. RH David Hale (3-2, 2.72)

Sunday afternoon -- RH David Buchanan (4-3, 4.79) vs. RH Aaron Harang (6-6, 3.78)

Phillies can exhale after bullpen nearly blows 10-0 lead

Phillies can exhale after bullpen nearly blows 10-0 lead

BOX SCORE

The moment when the ball struck first baseman Tommy Joseph’s glove for the final out of the Phillies 10-8 win over the Mets — dealing a major blow to their rival’s wild card hopes in the process — felt more like a collective exhalation than a moment of celebration (see Instant Replay).
 
Two days earlier, the bullpen faltered suddenly. A game-tying two-run homer by Jose Reyes in the ninth was the first body blow. The game-winning three-run homer by Asdrubal Cabrera was the knockout.
 
Saturday, the collapse occurred over the course of five innings as the Phillies let a lead that was once 10-0 slip away, one drawn-out at-bat after another.
 
Missing, of course, was the moment of impact in the proverbial slow-motion car crash, thanks to well-placed sinkers and four-seamers from Michael Mariot.
 
“The bullpen’s been sputtering,” manager Pete Mackanin said in an understatement.
 
Joely Rodriguez entered in the sixth inning with a 10-4 lead to face a string of lefties and it quickly became apparent that he did not have his fastball. A middle-in four-seamer that caught too much of the plate was slapped for a double by Mets shortstop Gavin Cecchini, his first major-league hit and a run. A second run scored when a little dribbler by third baseman T.J. Rivera died on the third base line, leaving Rodriguez with no play.
 
“He just didn’t throw quality strikes,” Mackanin said.
 
Even the normally-reliable Hector Neris struggled on Saturday. In his 77th outing of the season, Neris walked two straight batters and then surrendered an RBI double to Cecchini of his own which narrowed the lead to 10-7 and thrust the uncertainty of a save situation onto Mackanin.
 
Mariot was given first crack at the ninth inning one day after Mackanin said he would give Jeanmar Gomez a break from closing duties.
 
Mariot’s audition got off to a rough start. He gave up a pinch-hit solo home run to Jay Bruce — who had been mired in an 0-15 slump — with one out in the ninth and then walked Eric Campbell and Michael Conforto after a pair of grueling at-bats that lasted a combined 18 pitches.
 
The two hitters fouled off eight of Mariot’s pitches and took several four-seamers that just missed the plate.
 
“I was pretty upset about that,” Mariot said of the four-seamers that missed. “I was hoping to get at least a swing or maybe a call on those. Talking to [catcher] A.J. [Ellis], I think he said that they missed but I was hoping at least one of them to get called a strike.”
 
Gomez was up in the Phillies’ bullpen but Mariot ensured that Mackanin wouldn’t need to throw the recently-struggling closer back into the fire in a high-stress situation.
 
Mariot was able to locate his fastball when he needed to most. He fooled Lucas Duda with a two-seamer that the slugger popped out to Freddy Galvis and got Travis D’Arnaud to ground a four-seamer outside right back to him.
 
“I just told myself: ‘keep throwing strikes and good things will happen,’” Mariot said.
 
He threw just enough strikes to ensure that the Phillies didn’t end up on the wrong end of what would have been the Mets’ biggest comeback in team history.

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Best of MLB: Nationals clinch NL East with win over Pirates

Best of MLB: Nationals clinch NL East with win over Pirates

PITTSBURGH -- The Washington Nationals clinched their third National League East title in five years, beating the Pittsburgh Pirates 6-1 Saturday night behind 5 1/3 scoreless innings from rookie reliever Reynaldo Lopez.

Stephen Drew's two-run single capped a three-run first inning for the Nationals, who return to the postseason after a one-year absence. Their win ensured a playoff berth, and they won the division about 20 minutes later when the second-place New York Mets lost to Philadelphia.

Lopez (4-3) came on to the start the bottom of the fourth inning with a 6-1 lead and allowed three hits while striking out five and walking one. He was removed a runner on first and one out in the ninth inning.

Marc Rzepczynski and Blake Treinen got one out each to end the game, and a pocket of Nationals' fans behind the visiting dugout cheered (see full recap).

Cardinals solve Wrigley again, crush Hammel, Cubs 10-4
CHICAGO -- The St. Louis Cardinals have a lot to accomplish if they want to return to Chicago in two weeks for a rematch of last year's NL Division Series. They would have to qualify for one of the wild-card spots, then win the single-elimination playoff game.

If they do, the Cardinals may be the one club that won't be fazed by Wrigley Field and the Cubs.

Yadier Molina drove in four runs, Stephen Piscotty homered and the Cardinals boosted their playoff hopes by getting to Jason Hammel early in a 10-4 rout of Chicago on Saturday.

Randal Grichuk added three RBIs and Jhonny Peralta had three hits and scored three runs for the Cardinals, who stopped a two-game skid and moved into a tie with San Francisco for the final NL wild-card spot pending the Giants' game at San Diego (see full recap).

Yanks shut out for 3rd straight game in 3-0 loss to Jays
TORONTO -- The New York Yankees' offense has disappeared, and their playoffs chances have pretty much vanished, too.

Jose Bautista hit a three-run homer off Tyler Clippard in the eighth inning, and the Toronto Blue Jays beat the Yankees 3-0 Saturday.

New York has been shut out in three straight games for the first time July 27-28, 1975.

"Whatever we're doing right now, it's not working," first baseman Mark Teixeira said. "We just seem to have lost it the last few days."

The Yankees have lost 10 of 13 following a seven-game winning streak and dropped 4 1/2 games back for the AL's second wild card with eight games left. They likely will miss the playoffs for the third time in four years (see full recap).

Dietrich homers, Marlins end Braves' streak at 7 win
MIAMI -- Derek Dietrich hit a two-run homer to help the Miami Marlins end the Atlanta Braves' winning streak at seven games, winning 6-4 on Saturday night.

Dee Gordon had two hits, two walks and three stolen bases - one shy of tying the Marlins' single-game franchise high, which he has done on two separate occasions.

Atlanta's Freddie Freeman extended his hitting streak to 28 games in the first inning and has reached base in 44 straight. He also hit a solo home run in the sixth, his 32nd.

Brian Ellington (4-2) earned the win in relief and A.J. Ramos recorded his 39th save in 42 chances.

The Braves pulled within 5-4 on a wild pitch by Fernando Rodney in the seventh inning (see full recap).