Phillies 8, Tigers 5: Saunders, Hoskins, Rupp go deep; Blanco shines

Phillies 8, Tigers 5: Saunders, Hoskins, Rupp go deep; Blanco shines

CLEARWATER, Fla. -- The Phillies split their squad and played two games Sunday.

The team that stayed back in Clearwater rallied to beat the Detroit Tigers, 8-5, while the team that bused an hour south to Sarasota lost, 4-3, to the Baltimore Orioles.

The Phils hit three home runs in the two games. Michael Saunders and Rhys Hoskins went deep in Clearwater while Cameron Rupp hit his first homer of the spring in Sarasota.

In Clearwater, the Phils rallied for three runs in the seventh to break a 5-5 tie. Nick Williams' single scored Scott Kingery for the tie-breaking run and Hector Gomez followed with a two-run double on his 29th birthday.

Spring standout Kingery had reached base on a walk and stole second.

Gomez has appeared in the majors with the Rockies and Twins. He played in Korea last year. The Phillies signed him to play third base at Triple A Lehigh Valley this season, and he's making a nice showing so far in Grapefruit League play. He has six hits in 10 at-bats and half of them are doubles.

Gomez took over at third base for Andres Blanco. He, too, had a solid game with a double, a single and an eye-popping defensive play.

Blanco has been a standout utility infielder for the Phillies for three seasons. He was a free agent in the offseason and the team re-signed him to a one-year, $3 million deal.

"He's one of those guys you don't appreciate until the end of the year when you look at how many positions he played and how many big hits and big defensive plays he made," said bench coach Larry Bowa, who skippered the team in Clearwater.

The Phillies had just four hits in Sarasota. In addition to Rupp's homer, the Phils got a double from J.P. Crawford.

On the mound
Clay Buchholz pitched three innings and gave up four runs, all on a pair of homers, in Clearwater.

Nick Pivetta pitched three scoreless innings in Sarasota. He will depart camp this week to pitch for Team Canada in the WBC.

Pullin sidelined
Phillies officials were eager to watch prospect Andrew Pullin swing the bat in this camp, but the 23-year-old corner outfielder missed his sixth straight game Sunday with what was called a mild oblique strain. These injuries can take anywhere from a couple of weeks to a month to clear up.

Pullin hit .322 with a .885 OPS in 82 games at Clearwater and Reading last season.

Up next
The Phillies have an off day Monday. They play again Tuesday against the Tigers in Lakeland. Aaron Nola will start for the Phillies and is scheduled to work three innings. Nola, who missed the final two months of last season with an elbow injury, had a strong spring debut last week against Toronto.

Justin Verlander will pitch for the Tigers on Tuesday.

Today's lineup: Odubel Herrera returns vs. King Felix

Today's lineup: Odubel Herrera returns vs. King Felix

With Mark Leiter, Jr. going for his second straight win as a starter (see today's game notes), Pete Mackanin has kept his batting order pretty much the same from Tuesday's night's win.

But there is one change that will stand out. Odubel Herrera will return to the lineup today for the Phils after getting a breather last night. Prior to the game, Herrera talked about how he needs to play a smarter brand of baseball. But he'll get back in today against Seattle star Felix Hernandez.

Daniel Nava will lead off again and play left field with Freddy Galvis right behind him. The Phils' shortstop went 3 for 5 last night and is hitting over .300 for the month of June.

Howie Kendrick sits this afternoon for the Phillies as Tommy Joseph gets the start as designated hitter. That means that Brock Stassi will play first base instead.

Perhaps Maikel Franco can continue to stay hot from the sixth spot. He's hitting .303 as the team's No. 6 batter and will be there again Wednesday.

Here are both teams' full lineups for today's matinee in the Pacific Northwest:

Phillies
1. Daniel Nava, LF
2. Freddy Galvis, SS
3. Aaron Altherr, RF
4. Tommy Joseph, DH
5. Odubel Herrera, CF
6. Maikel Franco, 3B
7. Brock Stassi, 1B
8. Andrew Knapp, C
9. Ty Kelly, 2B

Mariners
1. Jean Segura SS
2. Ben Gamel, LF
3. Robinson Cano, 2B
4. Nelson Cruz, DH
5. Kyle Seager, 3B
6. Mitch Haniger, RF
7. Danny Valencia, 1B
8. Jarrod Dyson, CF
9. Mike Zunino, C

Phillies-Mariners 5 Things: Can Mark Leiter, Jr. make it two straight?

Phillies-Mariners 5 Things: Can Mark Leiter, Jr. make it two straight?

Phillies (25-51) at Mariners (39-40)
3:40 p.m. on CSN; streaming live on CSNPhilly.com and the NBC Sports App. Pregame Live begins at 3 p.m.

After a brutal weekend in Arizona, Tuesday night's late rally was something for Phillies fans to smile about — even if it all happened past midnight Eastern time. It was a second straight strong start for Aaron Nola and his third in the month of June, plus the Phils' bats doubled their entire output from the final games against the D-backs.

Now, the question is: can the Phillies win their first interleague series of the season and their first series overall since the first weekend of June?

1. Fool me once...
Through 12 appearances and 19.0 innings of relief work, Mark Leiter, Jr. showed very little. The 2013 22nd-round pick had tallied just a 4.74 ERA, with 14 walks versus only 12 strikeouts.

So last Friday's starting debut in Phoenix came as somewhat of a surprise — Leiter earned a quality start, tossing six shutout innings of three-hit ball with 5 Ks and only one walk against one of the best teams in all of baseball.

Wednesday afternoon, the nephew of two-time All-Star Al Leiter will have a chance to follow up on that performance against another top-10 offense. When Leiter faced Seattle last month in relief duty in Philadelphia, he went 1.1 innings and surrendered just one hit but put a pair of runners on base that eventually came around to score.

Although Leiter's fastball has sat around only about 91mph this season, he's got a pretty decent repertoire of pitches including a plus curveball — a similar style to Nola, who gave the Mariners trouble last night. If Leiter can have another good outing, he might be able to hang around in the rotation longer than initially expected.

2. Bowing down — or not
Félix Hernández has been one of baseball's better hurlers in the last few seasons. He's racked up double-digit wins every season since 2009, had a career-best 2.14 ERA in 2014 en route to Cy Young honors and is still probably Seattle's best starter stuff-wise.

But this season, King Felix has not entirely been himself, going to the DL in late April before returning just last week. And after a sluggish start to the year, he bounced back with one of his better outings — the Astros mustered only three runs on eight hits against Hernández in six innings of work.

What can we expect against the Phils? Well, the only other time he's faced the Phillies was in 2011, when he also gave up three runs in seven frames. 

But want to guess how many players in that lineup are on this team? Right, exactly zero.

3. Franco's big night
Tuesday was only the second time in his last 13 games that Maikel Franco chipped in a multi-hit performance. His .242 batting average this month is well above those of April and May, but obviously it's nowhere near where the Phillies probably hoped he'd be at this point in the season. Last year at this juncture, he was still only hitting .246.

Still, his HR and RBI numbers aren't that far off, and his solo shot sparked the Phils' crucial surge. He's also cutting down on his strikeouts — although he did last night, it was his first since June 17 and only his 12th this month.

Franco has had better success at the plate since moving down in the lineup. Pete Mackanin had the third baseman hitting sixth last night, where he's gone 20 for 66 with a .303 batting average and .803 OPS.

4. Multi-hit madman
You want to know who is the hottest hitter in the Phillies lineup? Yep, it's Freddy Galvis.

He has 15 hits in his last 40 at-bats and is currently batting .301 for the month. This comes after a month of May when the shortstop hit .188 with 17 strikeouts in 96 at-bats.

Tuesday night, Galvis went 3 for 5 with 2 RBI and a run out of the two-hole, and there's no reason to think he's coming down in the order anytime soon.

5. This and that
• Other than Jean Segura's two-run bomb in the third inning, it was an extremely quiet offensive night Tuesday for a Seattle lineup that brings a ton of pop in the heart of its order. The Mariners' top six batters went a combined 2 for 22 with nine strikeouts against Nola, Joaquin Benoit and Hector Neris.

• Speaking of Neris, last night's perfect ninth inning was part of what's actually been a pretty solid six-week stretch. Sure, he hasn't been lights out but since May 14, Neris has only given up five earned runs on 13 hits in a total of 15.2 innings of work.

• If you're looking for a glimmer of hope, look no further than Allentown. Scott Kingery's second game with IronPigs might've been better than his first as the second base prospect slugged two home runs for the Triple A club.