Instant Replay: Phillies 8, Cardinals 2 (6½ innings)

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Instant Replay: Phillies 8, Cardinals 2 (6½ innings)

BOX SCORE

Roy Halladay had another strong outing and the Phillies' bats finally came alive in an 8-2 win over the St. Louis Cardinals on Friday night.

The game was called after 6½ innings because of rain.

The Phils out-hit the Cards, 10-2, in snapping a four-game losing streak.

The Phillies are now 7-10. St. Louis is 9-7.

The attendance at Citizens Bank Park was 34,092.

Starting pitching report
Halladay followed up eight innings of one-run ball against lowly Miami with seven innings of two-run ball against a much more formidable Cardinals lineup. Halladay allowed just two hits, both solo homers. He walked two and struck out six. Halladay’s fastball reached 92 mph, a good sign, but his ball-to-strike ratio was not good. He threw 50 balls and 59 strikes for 109 pitches. He threw a first-pitch strike to just 11 of 25 hitters.

The Phillies had struggled against left-handed pitching, hitting just .131 (11 for 84) with four extra-base hits, coming into the game. But they had no trouble with St. Louis lefty Jaime Garcia, who allowed nine hits and eight runs in three innings. Four of the runs that Garcia allowed were unearned after a first-inning error. The Phils had four extra-base hits against Garcia.

At the plate
The Phils avoided the ignominy of becoming the first team since 1920 to go without a walk for five straight games when Chase Utley drew a base on balls in the first inning. The Phils had two walks for the game.

Jimmy Rollins, John Mayberry Jr., Ben Revere and Humberto Quintero all had two hits apiece. Quintero drove in two runs. Michael Young ran his hitting streak to 10 straight games.

The Phils were 6 for 11 with runners in scoring position.

In the field
Lifelong infielder Freddy Galvis started his second game in left field and made two big catches, one on a long run and a slide, in the fourth inning. Centerfielder Revere made a diving catch in the sixth.

Former Phillie Ty Wigginton made a two-out error at third base for the Cardinals. It opened the door for four unearned runs in the first inning. Wigginton made eight errors in 22 games at third base for the Phils last season.

Health check
Ryan Howard had some soreness in his groin and did not start against the lefty Garcia, which was convenient because Howard is 0 for 15 with eight strikeouts against lefties this season. Howard is day-to-day.

Domonic Brown missed his second straight start with a sore back. Manager Charlie Manuel said Brown could return on Saturday night.

Carlos Ruiz was hit by a pitch on the left wrist while playing in an extended spring training game in Florida on Friday. An X-ray was negative. Ruiz's suspension will end a week from Sunday when the Phillies are in New York.

Up next
Cliff Lee (2-0, 1.52) and Lance Lynn (2-0, 5.40) are the pitchers Saturday night at 7:05 p.m.

The Phils have not named a starter to replace John Lannan on Monday. That is Jonathan Pettibone’s day to pitch at Triple A. Pettibone has struggled in his first two starts, but he is on the 40-man roster, which could make him a candidate for the spot start. B.J. Rosenberg and Tyler Cloyd are also on the 40-man roster and could be possibilities. Adam Morgan is considered the Phils’ most advanced minor-league pitching prospect, but he would have to work on short rest Monday. It’s possible Morgan could be in the picture when he’s on regular rest. This is all speculation as Phillies officials have not tipped their hand on how they will fill Monday’s start.

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).