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.

Best of MLB: Indians get walk-off win over Red Sox on error

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Best of MLB: Indians get walk-off win over Red Sox on error

CLEVELAND -- Brandon Guyer scored when first baseman Brock Holt threw away Roberto Perez's bunt in the 10th inning, lifting the Cleveland Indians over the Boston Red Sox 5-4 on Monday night in a matchup of first-place teams.

After Guyer's leadoff double against Brandon Workman (0-1), Holt fielded the bunted ball and tried to throw out Guyer at third. Guyer slid into the bag as the throw skipped past third baseman Rafael Devers, then got to his feet and raced across home plate. Teammates ran onto the field and doused Perez with water and white powder.

Perez also had a three-run homer in the second inning.

Cody Allen (1-6) allowed Christian Vazquez's leadoff single in the 10th, but retired the next three hitters. The inning ended when shortstop Francisco Lindor ran down Mookie Betts' popup in center field with his back to home plate.

Cleveland relief ace Andrew Miller left in the seventh inning after aggravating the patellar tendinitis in his right knee. Miller recently returned after over two weeks on the disabled list with the knee injury (see full recap).  

Albers gives Mariners win over former team
ATLANTA -- Andrew Albers worked into the sixth inning for his second straight win since coming up from the minors, leading the Seattle Mariners to a 6-5 victory over the Atlanta Braves on Monday night.

Albers (2-0) also had the first hit and RBI of his career -- in his first big league at-bat.

The 31-year-old left-hander beat his former organization, having spent most of the season at the Braves' Triple-A club. He went 12-3 but never got a call to the big leagues.

Instead, Albers was dealt to the Mariners for cash on Aug. 11. He was called up by Seattle to make a start four days later, working six strong innings in a 3-1 win over Baltimore.

Now, after going just over four years between major league victories, Albers has two wins in less than a week.

Mike Foltynewicz (10-9) has lost four of his last five starts for Atlanta (see full recap).

Pollock’s 2-run blast lifts D-backs over Mets
NEW YORK -- A.J. Pollock hit a two-run homer in the 10th inning and the Arizona Diamondbacks snapped a three-game skid with a 3-2 victory over the New York Mets on Monday night.

J.D. Martinez had an RBI single and left fielder David Peralta threw out the potential go-ahead run at the plate for the Diamondbacks, who began the day with a 2 1/2-game lead over Milwaukee for the second NL wild card. They are 4-0 against the Mets this season and have won nine of 10 meetings over the last two years.

Pinch-hitter Gregor Blanco walked to start the 10th. One out later, Pollock sent a 94 mph fastball from Eric Goeddel (0-1) over the center-field fence to put the Diamondbacks back in front after they squandered a 1-0 lead in the seventh.

Fernando Rodney gave up a leadoff homer to Michael Conforto before getting three outs for his 28th save in 33 tries.

Jimmie Sherfy (1-0) pitched a perfect ninth for his first major league win (see full recap)

Bruce Bochy on Hector Neris: 'He's an idiot'

Bruce Bochy on Hector Neris: 'He's an idiot'

The Giants don't seem to be too fond of Hector Neris.

The Phillies on Sunday were clinging to a 4-2 lead in the bottom of the eighth inning when Neris entered the game. The reliever inherited runners on first and second with two outs and Giants All-Star catcher Buster Posey at the plate.

On a first-pitch fastball, Neris plunked Posey, who called out the Phillies' closer afterward.

"I'm pretty certain he hit me on purpose and it's just a shame because I wanted to compete in that at-bat," Posey said. "I guess he didn't feel he could get me out.
"It was a big spot. It would have been fun to hit."

In that situation, purposely hitting a batter makes little sense, as it advances the potential game-tying run into scoring position and puts the go-ahead run on base. Phillies manager Pete Mackanin acknowledged just that, while Neris denied any intention behind the hit by pitch. Despite the bases-loaded jam, Neris struck out Pablo Sandoval to escape before closing out the 5-2 win with a scoreless ninth inning.

Things didn't end there, though.

A day later, Giants manager Bruce Bochy had something to say about Neris.

"It wasn't just a little inside. The same guy … I'll say it, he's an idiot," Bochy said Monday before the Giants' series opener against the Brewers. "He showed it in Philadelphia when he was having words with (Eduardo) Nunez. I think that caused the radar to be up a little bit on what happened there."

The incident with Nunez in which Bochy refers to apparently happened during the Phillies' 9-7 win over the Giants on June 4 at Citizens Bank Park. According to's Alex Pavlovic, Neris appeared to blow a kiss at Nunez after a ninth-inning strikeout. Following a game-ending punchout of Brandon Belt, it looks like Neris glances over at the Giants' dugout before catcher Cameron Rupp stops him.

None of the above explains why Neris would feel any intent to hit Posey in such a tight spot more than 2½ months later.

"You never know for sure, but it certainly didn't look good, did it?" Bochy said.

"It wasn't a glancing blow — it was at his ribs, on the backside of the ribs. So, no, I'm not surprised [Posey was upset]. I would have been upset, too.

"Anyway, that's behind us."

For now. 

While the Phillies and Giants don't play again this season, baseball players sure have great memories.