Instant Replay: Phillies 6, Astros 5

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Instant Replay: Phillies 6, Astros 5

BOX SCORE

Ryan Howard’s grand slam with two outs in the bottom of the eighth inning lifted the Phillies to a 6-5 win over the Houston Astros at Citizens Bank Park on Thursday night.

The Phillies entered the frame trailing, 5-1. Carlos Ruiz doubled and scored on a hit by Cody Asche to make it a three-run game. Howard brought the Phillies all the way back with his 18th homer and 13th career grand slam, a Phillies’ record.

Howard circled the bases to a standing ovation and was lured from the dugout for a curtain call. Howard's four RBIs gave him 71 on the season, third-most in the NL.

The Phillies swept the three-game interleague series from Houston.

Starting pitching report
Emergency starter Sean O’Sullivan gave up five runs (all on home runs) over six innings. Two of the home runs came in the first inning, the other in the third. He did not allow a run in his final three innings.

O’Sullivan was summoned to Philadelphia from Triple A Lehigh Valley after scheduled starter Roberto Hernandez was traded to the Dodgers earlier in the day.

O’Sullivan has made two starts for the Phillies this season and given up nine runs in 11 2/3 innings.

Houston right-hander Collin McHugh pitched seven innings of one-run ball. He walked none and struck out eight. He left with a 5-1 lead.

Bullpen report
Mario Hollands pitched two scoreless innings to keep the Phillies close and Jonathan Papelbon notched his 27th save.

Houston reliever Josh Fields was charged with three runs in the eighth. Lefty Tony Sipp, who allowed Howard’s slam, was charged with two.

At the plate
Howard had a good at-bat against the lefty Sipp. He fouled off three pitches and hit a full-count fastball over the wall just to the left of center field.

Howard was 5 for 14 with two home runs in the three-game series.

Chris Carter hit a pair of two-run homers off O’Sullivan. Marc Krauss hit the Astros’ other homer.

Trade talk
The Phillies will get two low-level minor leaguers for Hernandez (see story).

Health check
Cliff Lee will not have surgery on his injured left elbow (see story).

Up next
The Phillies host the New York Mets in the first game of a four-game series on Friday night. Pitching matchups:

Friday night -- RH A.J. Burnett (6-11, 4.16) vs. RH Bartolo Colon (10-9, 4.12)

Saturday night -- LH Cole Hamels (6-6, 2.42) vs. RH Dillon Gee (4-4, 3.73)

Sunday afternoon -- RH Kyle Kendrick (5-11, 4.74) vs. RH Zack Wheeler (7-8, 3.48)

Monday afternoon -- RH David Buchanan (6-5, 4.39) vs. LH Jonathon Niese (5-8, 3.51)

Cuban ballplayers mourn loss of Jose Fernandez

Cuban ballplayers mourn loss of Jose Fernandez

CHICAGO — Chicago Cubs outfielder Jorge Soler played with Miami Marlins pitcher Jose Fernandez when the two were growing up in Cuba. They traveled together to Venezuela for a youth tournament.

Soler said Fernandez's ability was obvious, right from the start.

"Since he was a child, since we were kids, I knew he had something," Soler said through a translator. "He had a talent. It was very impressive."

Fernandez's death in a boating accident at the age of 24 cast a dark shadow over the major leagues on Sunday. Miami's home game against Atlanta was canceled, and several ballparks observed moments of silence. Wrigley Field's iconic hand-operated scoreboard displayed Fernandez's No. 16 in its pitching column next to Miami.

But the loss of Fernandez was felt most acutely in baseball's growing Cuban community.

"He was one of those guys that everybody loved," St. Louis Cardinals catcher Brayan Pena said. "He was one of those guys that everybody knew exactly what he meant to our community. For us, it's a big, big loss. It's one of those things where our thoughts and prayers are obviously with his family, the Marlins' organization and the fans. But it gets a little bit closer because he was part of our Cuban family."

There were 23 Cubans on opening-day major league rosters this year, an increase of five over last season and the most since the commissioner's office began releasing data in 1995. Many of the players share similar stories when it comes to their perilous journey from the communist country to the majors, and the difficulty of adjusting to life in the United States.

A native of Santa Clara, Cuba, Fernandez was unsuccessful in his first three attempts to defect, and spent several months in prison. At 15, Fernandez and his mother finally made it to Mexico, and were reunited in Florida with his father, who had escaped from Cuba two years earlier.

He was drafted by the Marlins in 2011, and quickly turned into one of the majors' top pitchers.

"How he was on the mound was a reflection of him," Oakland first baseman Yonder Alonso said. "A guy who had a lot of fun, was himself. A very talkative guy, he would come into the room and you'd know he was in the room. Never big-leagued anyone, very professional. No matter what, he would talk to you about hitting, because he thought he was the best hitter, and he (would) talk to you about pitching, because he thought he was the best pitcher."

Alonso said Fernandez's death was "a big-time shock." Yasiel Puig used torn pieces of white athletic tape to display Fernandez's jersey on the wall in the home dugout at Dodger Stadium. Cardinals rookie Aledmys Diaz, who had known Fernandez since they were little kids, declined an interview request through a team spokeswoman.

"We Cuban players know each other well and all of us have a great relationship," Pena said. "For us, it's devastating news when we woke up. We were sending text messages to each other and we were showing support. It's something that obviously nobody expects."

Fernandez, who became a U.S. citizen last year, also was beloved for his stature in the Cuban community in Miami.

"He was a great humanitarian," Cubs closer Aroldis Chapman said through a translator. "He gave a lot to the community and I think that's why he got a lot of respect from the community in terms of what a great person he was and always giving, in terms of always willing to help out in whatever way he can to try to better and progress within the community someone that perhaps wasn't as fortunate as he was."

The 28-year-old Chapman lives in the Miami-area in the offseason. He said he spent some time with Fernandez while he was home.

"He would come by my house. I would go by his," Chapman said. "We would have long conversations. We would talk a lot. We spent a lot of good amount of time together. It was very special for me."

Phillies' clubhouse reflects on life of Marlins' Jose Fernandez

Phillies' clubhouse reflects on life of Marlins' Jose Fernandez

NEW YORK — The clubhouse mood following the Phillies17-0 loss to the Mets Sunday was somber, in part because of the disastrous game that had just wrapped up, but also because of the tragic news of Marlins star pitcher Jose Fernandez’s death in a boating accident early Sunday morning.

“It was rough. People are devastated. I didn’t even know him and I was crushed,” Phillies starter Jake Thompson said. “I can only imagine how that clubhouse feels. That’s something that I wouldn’t wish upon my worst enemy, to deal with something of that magnitude.”

Both teams paused for a moment of silence before Sunday’s game and the Mets taped a jersey bearing Fernandez’s name and number onto their dugout wall.

“This morning, that was quite a surprise,” manager Pete Mackanin said of the atmosphere of the day. “I don’t think it affected the players once the game started. It was such bad news this morning that everybody was kind of melancholy.”

Fernandez had built a strong track record against the Phillies in his young career, amassing a 2.88 ERA in six starts.

“It’s kind of cliché to say but you look at the start of his career and he could have been a Hall of Famer,” Thompson said.

Asked how he would remember facing Fernandez, Mackanin was succinct.

“He was a helluva pitcher,” he said.

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