Instant Replay: Phillies 7, Marlins 4

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Instant Replay: Phillies 7, Marlins 4

Updated: Wednesday, 2:03 a.m.

BOX SCORE

Marlon Byrd’s two-run homer capped a three-run first inning, and the Phillies coasted to a 7-4 win over the Marlins Tuesday night at Citizens Bank Park, snapping their losing streak at three games.

Rookie right-hander David Buchanan worked in and out of trouble but improved to 4-3, allowing two runs in five innings. Five Phillies relievers finished out the final four innings.

With the win, the Phils improved to 35-41, but remained six games out of first following the Nationals’ 16-inning win in Milwaukee.

Starting pitching report
Buchanan, making his seventh career start, needed 94 pitches to get through five innings. He allowed six hits and walked four but made big pitches when he needed to, stranding runners in scoring position in the first, second, third and fifth innings.

Buchanan has won his last three starts, allowing six runs in 17 2/3 innings, a 3.06 ERA during that span. He’s the seventh Phillie since 1914 to go at least five innings in each of his first seven career starts.

Marlins starter Andrew Heaney, making his second career start, pitched into the sixth inning, leaving the game after Ryan Howard’s double to lead off the sixth. He allowed five runs, all earned, on four hits in five-plus.

Bullpen report
Mario Hollands pitched a 1-2-3 sixth and rookie Ken Giles a 1-2-3 seventh with two strikeouts.

B.J. Rosenberg started the eighth but gave up three hits, including a long two-run homer to Garrett Jones, his 10th, and was replaced by Jake Diekman, who ended the inning.

Jonathan Papelbon pitched a scoreless ninth for his 18th save in 20 opportunities.

At the plate

Jimmy Rollins opened the Phils’ three-run first when he was hit by a pitch. Chase Utley walked and during a successful double steal, Rollins scored on Marlins catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia’s throwing error. Byrd followed with his 13th home run.

Rollins reached three times, with two walks and a single.

The Phils added a run in the fourth when Ben Revere tripled and scored on Heaney’s wild pitch.

Cody Asche’s two-run double in the sixth made it 6-2. Asche is hitting .368 with three doubles and five RBIs in five games since returning from a month layoff with a hamstring injury. Asche came around to score the Phils’ seventh run on a wild pitch.

Byrd is on pace for 27 home runs. His high in a 13-year career is 24 last year (21 with the Mets, three with the Pirates).

Giancarlo Stanton had two doubles for the Marlins, and Saltalamacchia reached four times with two singles and two walks.

In the field
Utley dropped a pop-up in the second inning, allowing a run to score. Even though the infield-fly rule was called, Saltalamacchia was able to score when Utley booted it. It was Utley’s second error in two games.

Utley dropped another pop-up in the eighth but got a force play at second and wasn’t charged with an error.

Touching moment
Tony Gwynn Jr., in his first game back with the club after losing his father, Hall of Famer Tony Gwynn, pinch-hit in the eighth and received a prolonged ovation from the crowd of 24,860 (see story)

Up next

The Phillies finish the series with 7:05 p.m. games against the Marlins Wednesday and Thursday. Henderson Alvarez (4-3, 2.39) faces A.J. Burnett (5-6, 3.89) on Wednesday, and Tom Koehler (5-6, 3.74) and Cole Hamels (2-4, 2.76) pitch on Thursday.

The Phils open a four-game series with the Braves on Friday and then head out on a 10-game road trip to Miami, Pittsburgh and Milwaukee.

Today's lineup: Jorge Alfaro returns as Phillies go for sweep of Dodgers

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CSN

Today's lineup: Jorge Alfaro returns as Phillies go for sweep of Dodgers

After getting hit by a pitch on the hand on Tuesday night, catcher Jorge Alfaro is back in the lineup for the Phillies, who are aiming for a four-game sweep of the Dodgers.

On Wednesday, Alfaro was replaced by Andrew Knapp, who had one hit in three at-bats in a rare start.

Freddy Galvis, hitless in his last two games, is 4 for 7 with a homer and three RBIs against Dodgers starter Kenta Maeda.

For the first time in the last several weeks, cleanup hitter Rhys Hoskins is not in the spotlight for the Phillies. Instead, the attention has been on Aaron Altherr, who will try to finish an impressive series in style. Altherr, who hits fifth again on Thursday, is 5 for 11 with three homers and nine RBIs in the first three games against Los Angeles.

Odubel Herrera, who batted third last night and went 0 for 4 with three strikeouts, hits sixth. His season batting average from that spot in the order is .340. 

Here is today's lineup:

1. Cesar Hernandez, 2B
2. Freddy Galvis, SS
3. Nick Williams, RF
4. Rhys Hoskins, 1B
5. Aaron Altherr, LF
6. Odubel Herrera, CF
7. Jorge Alfaro, C
8. JP Crawford, 3B
9. Mark Leiter, P

Here is the Dodgers lineup: 

1. Chris Taylor, CF
2. Justin Turner, 3B
3. Cody Bellinger, 1B
4. Yasiel Puig, RF
5. Curtis Granderson, LF
6. Chase Utley, 2B
7. Yasmani Grandal, C
8. Logan Forsythe, SS
9. Kenta Maeda, P

Aaron Altherr's clutch hits lead Phillies to another comeback win over MLB-best Dodgers

Aaron Altherr's clutch hits lead Phillies to another comeback win over MLB-best Dodgers

BOX SCORE

Somewhere in the basement of Citizens Bank Park sits a stash of champagne, chilled and ready to go for a celebration in the visiting clubhouse. It's only a matter of time before the Los Angeles Dodgers clinch their fifth straight National League West crown, but the Phillies would prefer it did not happen in their house.

The Phillies aren't saying that verbally.

They're saying it with their actions.

They've played some of their best and most exciting baseball of the season the last three nights in taking the first three games of a four-game series against the Dodgers. All three of the wins have been come-from-behind efforts. The Phillies set themselves up for a series sweep with a 7-5 win Wednesday night (see observations). The victory included two more big hits from Aaron Altherr and a game-ending catch by centerfielder Odubel Herrera that left you wondering how to say 'Wow!' in Spanish (see video).

Herrera burst into laughter when he was asked that question after the game.

His answer: "Wow!"

Altherr has delivered several Wow! moments in this series. There was his decisive grand slam against Clayton Kershaw in the opener, another home run in Tuesday night's win and four more RBIs on Wednesday night.

Altherr hit a game-tying, two-run home run in the seventh inning on a hanging breaking ball from Dodgers reliever Ross Stripling. Two batters later, Tommy Joseph went deep on another hanger from Stripling as the Phillies took a 5-4 lead.

The Phillies' bullpen has been excellent lately, but it struggled in this game and let leads of 2-1 and 5-4 get away.

But these Phillies aren't just playing out the string. They have young players trying to show they belong and that's creating problems for the 96-win Dodgers. After giving up the lead in the top of the eighth, the Phillies rallied for two runs in the bottom of the frame to take the lead for good. The rally featured a leadoff walk by Cesar Hernandez, a sacrifice bunt by Freddy Galvis, a Dodgers' error, an intentional walk to Rhys Hoskins to load the bases and a two-run line drive hit to right by Altherr to put the Phils ahead.

Altherr, activated less than two weeks ago after a month-long stay on the disabled list, has nine RBIs in the first three games of the series. For the season, he is hitting .281 with 19 homers and 60 RBIs in 97 games. His OPS is .890.

"I'm just seeing the ball really well now. I got my timing back," Altherr said. "It's good when those two things come together. I'm just a lot more relaxed at the plate. I'm driving the ball better.

"I think when I first came back I was probably trying to do too much. You know, just trying to make up for lost time. It wasn't working. I went back to relaxing at the plate and letting the ball come to me and putting a good swing on it."

Altherr's decisive two-run single with one out in the eighth came against right-hander Brandon Morrow. Lefty Luis Avilan started the inning and loaded the bases on an intentional walk to Hoskins one batter before Altherr came up.

"That's part of the game," Altherr said of the intentional walk. "But, obviously, you still want to prove them wrong in thinking I'm an easier out. I just wanted to do the best I could to hit the ball hard somewhere."

Jake Thompson pitched five innings, ran a high pitch count, but exited the game with a lead.

He enjoyed watching from the dugout as his teammates rallied for five runs in their final two at-bats to make it three straight against the Dodgers.

"I think it gives us a huge boost knowing who we're doing it against," Thompson said. "They didn't get that record by a fluke. That team is really, really good. I think it shows how far this team has come this year."

The Phillies are moving in the right direction. At least their record is. They were 29 games under .500 before the All-Star break. Wednesday night's win left them at 32-33 after the break and that means something to a rebuilding team that has put a premium on improvement.

"To win these three games is huge for our confidence," Altherr said. "We know we're a good team. We have a lot of talent on this team. Wins like these help us believe in ourselves even more and help us to believe we can do this in the years to come. We're definitely excited about the future."

The Phillies' three wins in this series have come with Kershaw, Yu Darvish and All-Star lefty Alex Wood on the mound for the Dodgers. Those are three pretty good pitchers. The Phils will face righty Kenta Maeda in the series finale Thursday afternoon. A sweep would be a nice accomplishment. It would ensure that the Dodgers would not pop champagne corks in Philadelphia. And it would also give the Phillies a .500 record after the All-Star break, a little sign of progress as the team's fifth straight losing season winds down.