Nick Pivetta unravels in 2nd inning of Phillies' loss to Brewers

Nick Pivetta unravels in 2nd inning of Phillies' loss to Brewers


MILWAUKEE — It's important to remember that as a rookie, Phillies right-hander Nick Pivetta is still getting the hang of being a starting pitcher in the big leagues. 

So while seeing Pivetta give up eight runs in the second inning Friday night in the Phillies' 9-6 loss at Milwaukee was most certainly frustrating (see Instant Replay), you have to give him credit for the way he recovered.

"We've seen that with him before," Phillies manager Pete Mackanin said. "He's pitched well, lost it for awhile and got it back. Part of pitching up here is to realize what you need to do next. Take a deep breath, step off and regroup. It took a few too many hitters to do that."

Pivetta was coming off his two best outings of the season. He allowed just four earned runs over 14 innings and went seven full in each of those last two efforts.

Armed with a 2-0 lead before he threw his first pitch, Pivetta appeared to be in control early against the NL Central-leading Brewers, striking out his first four batters before the wheels fell off. 

Domingo Santana got it started with a double, Manny Pina followed with a single and Keon Broxton made it a 2-1 game when his base hit drove in Santana. Orlando Arcia put Pivetta in the hole when a 1-2 fastball caught just enough of the plate for the shorstop to drive it to left for his ninth home run of the season and Pivetta followed that by walking Milwaukee's starting pitcher Zach Davies.

Then came a single by slumping second baseman Jonathan Villar and another walk, this time to Eric Thames, to load the bases for Ryan Braun.

Pivetta threw a first pitch slider to Braun that hung just above the zone, right down the middle, and Braun crushed it to dead-center for a grand slam. That triggered a visit from pitching coach Bob McClure, who had a simple message.

“[It was about] making adjustments," Pivetta, who fell to 2-5 with a 5.63 ERA in 12 big-league starts, said of the chat. "What are you going to do now? Are you going to go out there and give up, or are you going to go out there and shut it down? So it got me back on track and I was able to shut it down.

"My concern was after giving up eight runs, going out there and trying to minimize the damage as much as I can so we don't have to wear out the bullpen or use too many position players.”

Pivetta did get back on track and retired nine straight batters before Travis Shaw drew a one-out walk in the fifth and later scored on Pina's sac fly.

"It was like two different pitchers out there today," Mackanin said. "He struck out four in a row, then he just didn't locate any of his pitches. He hung every breaking ball he threw up there in that one span of eight or nine hitters, then he was a different pitcher after that. The home run and the grand slam did him in."

Friday marked just the second time that the rookie had a meltdown-type of start. Unlike his last, when he was tagged for six runs on seven hits and five walks over 2 2/3 innings at Arizona June 26, Pivetta managed to turn things around.

"You could tell the difference between my start in Arizona when stuff sped up on me there," Pivetta said. "It was two pitches that got me in trouble."

Mackanin was impressed by the way Pivetta recovered.

"That was good to see," he said. "He's a rookie and this is his first go-round in the big leagues. He's shown us a lot of promise and I like what he's been doing. Today wasn't his best."

It certainly wasn't his best, but he finished strong and that's reason for optimism. 

MLB Notes: Twins-Braves, Royals-Padres make trades

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MLB Notes: Twins-Braves, Royals-Padres make trades

MINNEAPOLIS -- Hoping to bolster their rotation for a playoff run, the Minnesota Twins have acquired veteran left-handed pitcher Jaime García, catcher Anthony Recker and cash considerations from the Atlanta Braves for minor league right-hander Huascar Ynoa.

The 31-year-old García is 66-52 with a 3.65 ERA and 808 strikeouts in 176 appearances, mostly with St. Louis (2008, 2010-16). He missed the 2009 MLB season following Tommy John surgery.

Garcia is 4-7 with a 4.30 ERA, 41 walks and 85 strikeouts in 18 starts for the Braves this year.

While Garcia's numbers don't jump off the page, the Twins were in need of a veteran arm to put into a rotation that has been largely disappointing behind the top two starters, Ervin Santana and Jose Berrios (see full story).

Royals: Cahill, Maurer, Buchter acquired from Padres
DETROIT -- The contending Kansas City Royals have acquired three pitchers from the San Diego Padres, getting starter Trevor Cahill, closer Brandon Maurer and reliever Ryan Buchter.

The Royals sent pitchers Matt Strahm and Travis Wood, minor league infielder Esteury Ruiz and cash to San Diego on Monday. The deal came one week before the nonwaiver trade deadline.

Kansas City began the day tied with Tampa Bay for the second AL wild-card spot and 1 1/2 games behind AL Central-leading Cleveland. The Royals had been looking to bolster their rotation and bullpen, and did it with one swap.

Cahill was 4-3 with a 3.69 ERA in 11 starts for the Padres. The 29-year-old right-hander was an All-Star with Oakland in 2010.

Maurer is 20-for-23 on save tries, and 1-4 with a 5.72 ERA. The 27-year-old righty began his big league career with Seattle in 2013 as a starter.

Buchter is 3-3 with one save and a 3.05 ERA in 42 games. The 30-year-old lefty pitched 67 times for the Padres last year.

Dodgers: Kershaw lost to DL with back injury
LOS ANGELES -- Clayton Kershaw is headed to the disabled list for the second straight summer because of a back injury.

A year after missing 2 1/2 months with a herniated disk in his lower back, Kershaw was pulled from a start Sunday against Atlanta because of lower back tightness. The Los Angeles Dodgers ace exited after two innings in a 5-4, 10-inning victory.

It leaves baseball's top team without its best pitcher. The Dodgers lead the majors with a 68-31 record and are atop the NL West standings by 10 games.

Kershaw was set to meet with a back specialist Sunday evening for tests, although manager Dave Roberts was already sure that Kershaw would be placed on the 10-day DL (see full story).

Mets: Wheeler put on DL because of arm trouble
NEW YORK -- The New York Mets have put pitcher Zack Wheeler on the 10-day disabled list because of a stress reaction in his right arm.

The Mets didn't provide a timetable for Wheeler's return. He was on the DL last month with biceps tendinitis and has struggled in four starts since his return.

The team recalled righty Tyler Pill from Triple-A Las Vegas before Monday night's game at San Diego.

Wheeler joins Mets starting pitchers Noah Syndergaard, Matt Harvey and Robert Gsellman on the disabled list. Steven Matz and Seth Lugo recently came off the DL and returned to the rotation.

The 27-year-old Wheeler didn't pitch in the majors the past two years after having Tommy John surgery in 2015. He is 3-7 with a 5.21 ERA in 17 starts.

Tonight's lineup: Nick Williams moves up to 3rd for hot-hitting Phillies

Tonight's lineup: Nick Williams moves up to 3rd for hot-hitting Phillies

The hot-hitting Phillies made some minor tweaks to their lineup for Monday's series opener against the American League-beset Houston Astros at Citizens Bank Park.

Nick Williams, Odubel Herrera and Tommy Joseph all move up in the lineup with Howie Kendrick getting the day off. Williams will hit third, Herrera moves up to fifth and Joseph will hit sixth. Andrew Knapp is catching and batting seventh. Cameron Perkins is playing left field and batting eighth.

Williams is hitting .309 with four home runs, four doubles, two triples and 15 RBIs in 19 games since being called up from Triple A Lehigh Valley on June 30. He had a two-run homer and another RBI in the Phillies' 6-3 win over the Milwaukee Brewers on Sunday afternoon.

After his 1 for 3 day with an RBI on Sunday, Herrera moves up spot. The centerfielder is hitting .331 with a major-league leading 19 doubles since June 3.

Joseph was 0 for 4 on Sunday with two strikeouts. He hit seventh against the Brewers but will hit sixth tonight.

Vince Velasquez (2-5, 5.14)  is on the mound for the Phillies. He'll be opposed by Brad Peacock (8-1, 2.49).

Here is the Phillies' full lineup:

1. Cesar Hernandez, 2B
2. Freddy Galvis, SS
3. Nick Williams, RF
4. Maikel Franco, 3B
5. Odubel Herrera, CF
6. Tommy Joseph, 1B
7. Andrew Knapp, C
8. Cameron Perkins, LF
9. Vince Velasquez, SP

For more on tonight's game, read Corey Seidman's game notes.