Lannan injury adds to insult of Phils' recent play

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Lannan injury adds to insult of Phils' recent play

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ATLANTA -- John Lannan threw 45 pitches for the Phillies on Wednesday night. They may have been the last 45 pitches he ever throws for the ballclub.

Adding injury to the insult that has become this Phillies’ season, Lannan walked slowly off the mound in the second inning of his team’s 6-3 loss to the Atlanta Braves (see Instant Replay).

The loss gave the sad-sack Phillies a 5-19 record since the All-Star break and moved them a step closer to last place in the NL East. Only 6½ games separate them from last-place Miami. Don’t be surprised if the Phillies get there.

The Phils finished the road trip at 1-5. They went 1-8 on their previous road trip. The team returns home Friday night and the players might want to wear earplugs. The visitor that night will be the rampaging Los Angeles Dodgers. They entered Wednesday night with 39 wins in their previous 47 games. This might not be a fair fight.

Atlanta is just as hot as the Dodgers. Owners of the majors’ best record, the Braves are 19-4 over their last 22 games. Five of those wins have come against the Phillies.

The Braves took it to Lannan early Wednesday night. Jason Heyward hit the third pitch Lannan threw over the center-field wall and the Braves were off and running. In all, Lannan allowed five runs in 1 1/3 inning.

A left knee injury that has bothered Lannan for some time bounced him from the game in the second inning. The left-hander now looks at an uncertain future. He is under team control for next season, but it’s possible the team will pass on offering him salary arbitration and let him become a free agent.

“There are a lot of decisions to be made,” GM Ruben Amaro Jr. said. “He is certainly somebody, like a lot of guys, that we’ll have to discuss. He’s pitched well at times. At times he’s struggled.”

Lannan, who missed time with a strained quadriceps tendon in the area of his left knee earlier this season, will be checked by doctors on Thursday. He could be facing season-ending surgery.

“I had the quad problem and some structural damage that happened over the years,” Lannan said. “The other thing, not the quad tendon, flared up before my last start. I tried to fight through it, but it was obviously affecting the way I was throwing.

“I want to get it fixed. That’s what it comes down to. Short-term that could create a lot of questions, but long-term, if I get it fixed, I feel I can have a decent career.”

Lannan signed a one-year deal worth $2.5 million with the Phillies in the offseason. He is 3-6 with a 5.33 ERA in 14 starts.

“It’s tough because I want to help the team,” he said. “I know what I can do when I’m healthy. I feel like I’m letting everyone down.”

Lannan has plenty of company in that area. Since the All-Star break, Phillies starting pitchers not named Cole Hamels have a combined ERA of 8.04.

Lannan goes down just as the Phillies are getting closer to getting two pitchers off the disabled list. Roy Halladay and Jonathan Pettibone will both make minor-league rehab starts on Thursday.

Halladay will probably make at least one other rehab start and could return to the rotation during the final week of August.

Down 5-0 after two innings, the Phillies got little going against Atlanta’s Brandon Beachy, who allowed just two runs over six innings.

Some of the Phillies' youngsters looked good. Domonic Brown singled, doubled and smacked his 27th homer. Darin Ruf homered and got a couple good breaks on fly balls to right field. Cody Asche made a couple of nice plays at third base.

Other than that, there’s not much to feel good about with this team.

“It’s tough,” Michael Young said. “There’s no way around that. As a player, there’s two directions you can go: You can pack it in or you can keep fighting. At that point, it comes down to pride as a player. You keep fighting -- scratch and claw and do anything you can to help the team win.”

Young said the mood of the team is down.

“But it should be down,” he said. “You’re not supposed to lose in the big leagues, especially with this organization. We’re not supposed to lose. At the same time, you should feel bad after a loss. But when you get to the ballpark the next day, it’s a new opportunity to show what you’re made of.”

Hurts so good: Phillies win third straight with a wacky walkoff

Hurts so good: Phillies win third straight with a wacky walkoff

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Brock Stassi's toe hurt.
 
Maikel Franco's ribs and head hurt.
 
Pain never felt so good.
 
The Phillies pulled off their most dramatic win of the young season when they rallied for two runs in the bottom of the 10th inning to beat the Atlanta Braves, 4-3, at chilly Citizens Bank Park on Saturday night (see Instant Replay).
 
Franco completed a three-RBI night when he smacked a two-out, two-run, bases-loaded single to right to give the Phillies the walk-off win. It was the Phillies' third straight win and fifth in the last seven games as they improved to 8-9 with a chance to sweep a series and even their record at .500 on Sunday afternoon.
 
Franco will be in the lineup.
 
But he might need a couple of Advil to get going.
 
After his game-winning hit, Franco was hilariously chased into right field by his euphoric teammates. The Phillies third baseman absorbed a beat down with Andres Blanco delivering a blow to the top of Franco's head.
 
"You see that -- boom!" Blanco said in the happy clubhouse after that game.  
 
Franco did more than see it.

He felt it.
 
"Whitey got me," he said, laughing and pointing to his head and ribs. "My body is screaming right now."
 
Across the clubhouse, Stassi was feeling Franco's pain. His foot got stepped on during the happy scrum.
 
"My toe is killing me," he said with a laugh.
 
Stassi, too, might need an Advil before Sunday's game. He has a good chance to be in the lineup at first base because Tommy Joseph seems like a candidate for a day off after a tough night. Joseph made a costly throwing error in the top of the 10th inning that helped the Braves take a 3-2 lead.
 
Stassi helped rescue the Phillies from that deficit. His 10th inning single was the first of three one-out hits that the Phils collected against Braves' closer Jim Johnson. With the bases loaded, Johnson made Odubel Herrera look bad with a swinging strikeout for the second out. That brought up Franco. New hitting coach Matt Stairs is constantly encouraging Franco to use the whole field and that's just what the cleanup man did in lacing a liner to the warning track in right.

"To right field! How 'bout that," manager Pete Mackanin said.
 
It was Franco's second single of the night. He would have been awarded a game-winning double if he had reached second base. But, alas, he was chased into right field.
 
In the clubhouse after the game, Franco was told by a club official that he could have had a double had he touched second.
 
Franco's eyes widened in disbelief.
 
"Ah, Mikey!" he said, scolding himself.
 
Then he laughed.
 
Across the clubhouse, Joseph could laugh about the miscue that saw him throw to an empty third base after a sacrifice bunt in the 10th. With everything moving fast, he mistook shortstop Freddy Galvis for a baserunner as Galvis streaked to cover third.
 
Joseph's error put a man on third and the Braves scored the go-ahead run on an infield hit.
 
The ironic part about Joseph's error was the Phillies played excellent defense -- Herrera and Aaron Altherr made great catches in the outfield and Galvis was Galvis at short -- until the 10th.
 
They pitched well, too, from starter Jerad Eickhoff's five innings of one-run ball to the stingy relief work of Joely Rodriguez, Luis Garcia and Pat Neshek. They teamed on three shutout innings.
 
With his top late-game tandem of Joaquin Benoit and Hector Neris in need of a night off, Mackanin asked Edubray Ramos to close it out. Ramos struck out the first two batters in the ninth and was one out away from his first big-league save when Brandon Phillips unloaded on a hanging slider to tie the game at 2-2.
 
Ramos rebounded and got the final out of the inning. As he walked off the field, he covered his mouth with his glove and shouted. Best guess: He said a naughty word. But ultimately his teammates got him off the hook. Parts of it were pretty. Parts of it were ugly. But when the night was over, the Phillies had a win.
 
"It was really a wacky game," manager Pete Mackanin said. "We played well overall, then there was a flurry of activity at the end."
 
Mackanin reached for a bottle of water.
 
"I'm going to drink more of this Smart Water," he said. "It's a happy day."

Best of MLB: Gonzalez, Nationals beat Mets 3-1 for 6th straight win

Best of MLB: Gonzalez, Nationals beat Mets 3-1 for 6th straight win

NEW YORK -- Gio Gonzalez mentioned the tasty Latin food served in the visitors' clubhouse. And the airplanes that fly overhead. And the pretty features of the ballpark.

But if there's a real reason why the Washington lefty is so successful at Citi Field, he isn't saying.

"Any secrets?" he offered. "No."

Gonzalez pitched no-hit ball into the sixth inning to win again at the Mets' stadium, and the Nationals beat New York 3-1 on a drizzly Saturday for their sixth straight victory (see full recap).

Contreras' slam powers Arrieta, Cubs to 12-8 win over Reds
CINCINNATI -- After a sputtering start, the Cubs' offense is finally rolling. And it's no surprise that they're breaking out at Great American Ball Park, a place that's just their style.

Wilson Contreras hit his first career grand slam and Anthony Rizzo and Jason Heyward added three-run shots on Saturday, powering Chicago to a 12-8 victory over the Cincinnati Reds.

Jake Arrieta (3-0) returned to the mound where he threw his second career no-hitter last April 21 and struggled mightily at the outset, giving up two homers in the first inning. Chicago's offense pulled him through with another homer-filled game at Great American Ball Park. Arrieta helped with an RBI triple (see full recap).

Homers by Mancini, Schoop carry Orioles past Red Sox 4-2
BALTIMORE -- Just when it appeared Steven Wright had finally gained command of his fluttering knuckleball, the Baltimore Orioles found their groove.

The result: Another early exit for the 2016 All-Star in Boston's 4-2 loss Saturday night.

Trey Mancini and Jonathan Schoop homered in succession off Wright, Jayson Aquino won his first big league start and the Orioles used one big inning to secure their fourth straight victory (see full recap).

Simmons belts grand slam to lead Angels past Blue Jays 5-4
ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Andrelton Simmons hit a tiebreaking grand slam, Tyler Skaggs pitched into the eighth inning and the Los Angeles Angels held off the slumping Toronto Blue Jays 5-4 Saturday night.

Simmons cleared the bases in the third inning off Casey Lawrence (0-2) for his second career grand slam, helping the Angels snap a three-game losing streak and win for the second time in 11 games.

Skaggs (1-1) gave up a run in the first but settled down to hold the Blue Jays to five hits over the next six innings, getting the Blue Jays to hit into three double plays along the way. He was lifted after Ryan Goins doubled to lead off the eighth (see full recap).