MLB Wrap: Dan Haren leads Nats past Braves

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MLB Wrap: Dan Haren leads Nats past Braves

The Phillies picked up a much-needed 7-2 win over the Marlins Thursday night in their return home (see story).

Solid Haren leads Nats top Braves
ATLANTA -- Dan Haren pitched eight sharp innings, Denard Span hit a two-run double and the Washington Nationals beat the Atlanta Braves 3-1 Thursday night.

The Nationals, who snapped a nine-game losing streak to Atlanta on Wednesday, allowed their NL East rivals to get only three runners in scoring position over two nights.

Haren (3-3) won his second consecutive start, giving up four hits and one run with one walk and four strikeouts.

Rafael Soriano earned his ninth save in 10 chances by pitching the ninth. He retired Justin Upton and Freddie Freeman on groundouts before Evan Gattis singled and Dan Uggla popped up (see full recap).

-The Associated Press

Dempster, Red Sox down Blue Jays
TORONTO -- Ryan Dempster won his second straight start and the Boston Red Sox took advantage of a season-high 10 walks to beat the Toronto Blue Jays 3-1 on Thursday night.

Dempster (2-2) allowed one run and four hits in six innings. The right-hander, who walked three and struck out four, retired 10 of the final 11 batters he faced.

Winless in his first four starts this season, Dempster posted his first victory by beating Houston a week ago.

Andrew Miller got two outs in seventh and Junichi Tazawa got the third. Koji Uehara pitched the eighth and Joel Hanrahan finished for his fourth save in five chances (see full recap).

-The Associated Press

Westbrook gets 100th win as Cards edge Brewers
MILWAUKEE -- Jake Westbrook allowed one run over six innings for his 100th career win and the St. Louis Cardinals held off the Milwaukee Brewers 6-5 on Thursday night.

Westbrook (2-1), came in with a 0.98 ERA, best in the majors - it increased to 1.10. In his 12th season, he walked three and struck out four. The Brewers were 1 for 8 with runners in scoring position against him.

Westbrook allowed Norichika Aoki's double to open the game and then nothing more until one out in the fourth when the Brewers pushed across a run on three consecutive singles. He struck out Alex Gonzalez and then fanned Wily Peralta (2-2), his third strikeout of the inning (see full recap).

-The Associated Press

Tigers outlast Astros in 14 innings
HOUSTON -- Don Kelly had an RBI single to start a four-run 14th inning and the Detroit Tigers beat the Houston Astros 7-3 Thursday night.

Austin Jackson led off the 14th with a ground-rule double. Jackson advanced to third on a groundout by Torii Hunter before Houston intentionally walked Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder to load the bases.

Kelly's dribbling grounder to right field scored Jackson and chased Dallas Keuchel (0-1), who came in to start the 10th.

Matt Tuiasosopo's two-run double made it 6-3 before Detroit added a run on a sacrifice fly by Jhonny Peralta.

Luke Putkonen (1-0), who was called up from Triple-A on Thursday, allowed no hits in the last 2 1-3 innings for the win in a game that took 4 hours, 50 minutes (see full recap).

-The Associated Press

Pete Mackanin: 'I still don't know if I'll be here next year'

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USA Today Images

Pete Mackanin: 'I still don't know if I'll be here next year'

Pete Mackanin may have received a contract extension in May, but the Phillies' manager has yet to receive assurances from general manager Matt Klentak that he’ll return in 2018. 

“I still don’t know if I’ll be here next year,” Mackanin said before Monday’s game against the Washington Nationals.

Mackanin took over midway through the 2015 season and has presided over the Phillies’ rebuilding project. He went 37-51 to finish 2015, 71-91 last year and was 62-94 heading into the final week of the season. 

Does Mackanin hope Klentak tells him his fate soon? 

“Of course,” Mackanin said. “I’m signed through next year and I assume I’ll be here. But you never know what they’re going to do.”

Mackanin said he’s set to meet with Klentak on Saturday to evaluate players. The season ends the next day, with the Phillies needing one victory over their final six games to avoid their first 100-loss season since 1961. 

“Do you need better coaches? Do you need a better manager? The answer to all these questions is you need better players,” Mackanin said as he quizzed about his future. 

Despite the dismal record, the Phillies have made progress in many areas. They may have found their future star power hitter in Rhys Hoskins. Fellow rookie Nick Williams has shown flashes. Cesar Hernandez is hitting .296. Freddy Galvis is a Gold Glove-caliber shortstop. Adam Morgan has pitched like a permanent setup man (see story). Mackanin believes Aaron Nola has established himself as a “solid No. 3 starter.” 

But the rest of the rotation is uncertain. They still need more offense. And while the Phillies have played well down the stretch, it’s come with no pressure in a sea of meaningless games.

Mackanin was asked if the team made a step forward this season. 

“I think individual players have made a step forward. As a team, of course not. We’re down at the bottom,” Mackanin said. “On the other hand, there are teams with similar records with much higher payrolls that we’re expected to do much better and haven’t. And when you look at the makeup of the team with all the pitchers that we’ve used and injuries, we’ve had a lot of unproven players.”

Mackanin revealed the angriest he’s been was back in May, when the Phillies went 6-22. He said while he's trying to keep an “even keel,” he gave his team a tongue-lashing after a home loss during that stretch. 

“I just went down the list of players,” Mackanin said. “Every one of them, I pointed out all the good things they’ve done to get here. And I asked after I got done naming every player how good they’ve been and what they’ve accomplished to get here, I asked, ‘How come we’re so bad?’”

Despite injuries and having to rush players to the majors, the Phillies were 33-36 since the All-Star break before Monday’s game. 

Mackanin acknowledged 2018 will be different, when the record will matter much more. He believes it’s time for the franchise to start winning in order to lure the potential free agents needed to become a contender again. 

“We’ve got a ways to go,” Mackanin said. “We’ve got players who have to prove they’re for real. Next year will tell us an awful lot.”

The 66-year-old Mackanin hopes he’s around to see what happens. 

“Blame the managers and coaches. How about if the players perform better?” Mackanin said. “Now, could we get the players to perform better? Everybody tries hard to do that.” 

Tonight's Lineup: Tommy Joseph out, Rhys Hoskins back to 1B in opener vs. Nationals

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CSN

Tonight's Lineup: Tommy Joseph out, Rhys Hoskins back to 1B in opener vs. Nationals

The Phillies need just one more win to avoid losing 100 games this season. They'll hope to get it Monday night when they open their series against the Nationals.

Pete Mackanin has made several adjustments to the lineup that beat Atlanta on Sunday, 2-0, behind a strong start from Nick Pivetta (see observations).

Tommy Joseph is out, which means that Rhys Hoskins returns to first base. Hoskins is going through a rough stretch over the last few days, as he has only two hits in his last 17 at-bats.

Despite going 2 for 3 Sunday, Jorge Alfaro is replaced by Andrew Knapp, who plays for the first time since last Wednesday. Mackanin seems to be trying to give all three of his catchers chances to play over the final weeks of the season.

Aaron Altherr shifts down from second to fifth in the lineup. Altherr is hitting .289 vs. righties this season, compared to .236 against lefties. The Phillies face a righty tonight in Washington's A.J. Cole. In two appearances against the Phillies this year, Cole has allowed only one run in eight innings.

Aaron Nola kicks off the Phillies' final homestand on the mound. He has been stellar this year at Citizens Bank Park, where he is 9-4 with a 2.98 ERA. Nola has started against the Nationals three times in 2017, sporting a 1-0 record and 3.31 ERA in those outings. 

The Phillies' lineup can be found below: 

Phillies
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. Maikel Franco, 3B
8. Andrew Knapp, C
9. Aaron Nola, SP

And the Nationals' lineup:

Nationals
1. Trea Turner, SS
2. Wilmer Difo, 3B
3. Ryan Zimmerman, 1B
4. Adam Lind, LF
5. Jayson Werth, RF
6. Michael Taylor, CF
7. Matt Wieters, C
8. Adrian Sanchez, 2B
9. A.J. Cole, P