Phillies crush Dodgers behind offensive onslaught

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Phillies crush Dodgers behind offensive onslaught

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LOS ANGELES – The Dodgers have been playing in Los Angeles since 1958 and never have they suffered a loss this one-sided.

And to think, it came at the hands of the Phillies, a team that has had trouble scoring runs all season and entered the night averaging just 3.75 runs per game.

What’s that thing Charlie Manuel likes to say? Oh, yeah, baseball’s a funny game.

Riding a 21-hit attack and the strong starting pitching of John Lannan, the Phillies walloped the Dodgers, 16-1, on Friday night (see Instant Replay). It was the Dodgers’ worst home loss since leaving Brooklyn.

“We had a real good night,” Manuel said. “That tells you we can score and get hits. We needed a game like this. Hopefully it carries over.”

This marked the first time all season the Phils reached double-digit runs. Last year, the Phils scored double-digit runs six times. They did it 12 times in 2011.

The Phils arrived at the mathematical halfway point of the season with a 39-42 record. They are 3-2 on this important 10-game road trip, and here’s the galling part of that: They coulda, woulda, shoulda won the two games they lost. They blew a lead in the ninth inning in one of those losses and in the seventh inning in the other.

“That’s the consistency we always talk about,” Manuel said.

Friday night’s offensive charge was led by Michael Young, who had four hits, including a homer, in the ballpark of his boyhood dreams.

“I love this place,” Young, a Los Angeles-area native, said of Dodger Stadium. “My earliest memories of loving baseball started in this ballpark.

“We were overdue for a game like this. We’ve all been on the other side of these things. It’s just one of those odd games where we found some holes and got some breaks.”

Another Los Angeles-area guy had a big night with the stick. Delmon Young had three hits, including an RBI single in the first inning and a two-run double in the second. He finished the night with a career-high six RBIs.

Delmon Young’s second-inning double was his seventh straight hit in a three-game span. He is 9 for 14 in those three games, a spree that coincided with Manuel’s saying that it was time for Delmon Young to kick it in gear.

Three games ago, Delmon Young was hitting .222. Now he’s at .259.

“Maybe he heard me,” Manuel said of Delmon Young.

Delmon Young missed the first month recovering from ankle surgery. He has continually said he was a slow starter and would be a different hitter when he got to about 150 at-bats. He is at 158.

“Usually when I get to about 150 at-bats, it starts clicking,” Delmon Young said. “It was a matter of time.”

Delmon Young contributed to the Phils’ all-around solid play by gunning down a man at the plate from right field.

“It was a good game, top to bottom,” he said. “Lannan kept putting up zeroes and we kept having good at-bats.

“We could have won every game on this trip. We need to keep doing that the next couple of weeks and we’ll make up some ground.”

With a half season to go, the Phillies trail Atlanta by 7½ games in the NL East. They play the Braves three times on the next homestand.

Lannan joined the hit parade with three of them. On the mound, he benefited from his teammates building a six-run lead against lefty Chris Capuano after two innings.

“It’s good to get that run support,” said Lannan, who is 1-2 in six starts with the Phils. “It forced me to pound the zone.”

The Phils’ biggest offensive night of the season came with their highest-paid hitter, Ryan Howard, sitting on the bench (see story). He must have felt like the guy who called in sick the day the folks at the office chipped in and bought the winning Power Ball ticket.

Howard will sit again Saturday as he tries to clear his head and stay away from one of those left-handed starters that have given him fits. Howard will return to the lineup Sunday. By then we’ll have an idea whether Friday night’s one-sided win was a streak-builder for the Phils or an aberration.

Best of MLB: Josh Reddick's big day helps Astros sweep A's

Best of MLB: Josh Reddick's big day helps Astros sweep A's

OAKLAND, Calif. -- Josh Reddick homered and scored four runs, Jake Marisnick and Marwin Gonzalez each went deep and the Houston Astros beat the Oakland Athletics 12-9 on Thursday.

The major league-leading Astros completed a four-game sweep with their 10th straight victory in Oakland and their 15th win in 16 games against the A's overall. They've won 12 of their last 14 road games. Their 27-8 record away from home is the best in the majors.

Reddick also doubled, tripled and drew a walk, and Marisnick and Gonzalez each drove in three runs.

David Paulino (2-0) struck out six and gave up three runs, seven hits and two walks. The 23-year-old rookie right-hander struck out five of his first six batters in his sixth career start.

Astros center fielder George Springer left with a left hand contusion after being struck by a fastball from Jesse Hahn (3-5) leading off the game. The ball also grazed Springer's left shoulder. Springer is tied for second in the AL with 21 home runs. His status is day-to-day (see full recap).

Goldschmidt, Diamondbacks blast Rockies
DENVER -- Paul Goldschmidt and Chris Owings hit three-run homers, Zack Godley threw well into the eighth inning, and the Arizona Diamondbacks beat the Colorado Rockies 10-3 on Thursday.

Goldschmidt finished with three hits and four RBIs to increase his season total to 64, tops in the majors.

Arizona took two of three in the NL West matchup and is now tied with Colorado for second place in the division behind the Dodgers. The Diamondbacks have won 12 of 14 and are a season-high 19 games above .500.

Godley gave up a home run to Charlie Blackmon to lead off the first inning, but shut down the Rockies from there.

Blackmon drew a walk in the third, then Godley erased him with a double-play ball to end the inning. He didn't allow a hit after Nolan Arenado's one-out single in the first and retired 19 of the next 20 batters before Raimel Tapia and Pat Valaika singled and doubled to lead off the eighth.

Godley (3-1) allowed three runs on four hits and struck out eight in seven-plus innings. He also helped himself with an RBI single in the eighth.

The Diamondbacks hit a Colorado rookie pitcher hard for the second straight night. Wednesday they scored 10 runs in the fourth off Jeff Hoffman, and Thursday they battered right-hander Antonio Senzatela (9-3) for nine runs in five innings.

Owings' homer in the third, his ninth, made it 5-1, and Goldschmidt hit his 18th to cap a four-run fourth to make it 9-1 (see full recap).

Knebel sets strikeout mark as Brewers top Pirates
MILWAUKEE -- Corey Knebel broke Arodlis Chapman's modern-era record for most consecutive games by a reliever with a strikeout at a season's start, fanning a batter for the 38th straight game and closing out the Milwaukee Brewers' 4-2 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates on Thursday.

Knebel struck out Josh Bell on a foul tip leading off the ninth. The 25-year-old right-hander retired Elias Diaz and Andrew McCutchen on popouts, finishing a four-hitter for his 12th save in 15 chances.

Chapman had set the mark since 1900 as part of a streak of 49 games for Cincinnati that began in August 2013 and ended the following August.

Travis Shaw drove in three runs with a homer and two doubles, and he came within inches of a second home run.

Chase Anderson (6-2) allowed two runs and two hits in six innings (see full recap).

Pete Mackanin 'not pleased' with Odubel Herrera's base-running blunders

Pete Mackanin 'not pleased' with Odubel Herrera's base-running blunders

Odubel Herrera’s return to the dugout was so slow that home plate umpire Nic Lentz had to clap to speed him along. Herrera obliged, accelerating to an effortless jog until he left Lentz’s sight. Then he went back to a hung head and a crawling pace as he reached the steps. Boos met his ears through it all. 

Herrera was picked off third base by Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina for the second out of the fourth inning on Thursday. It didn’t matter much as the Phillies beat the Cardinals, 5-1 (see Instant Replay), guided by Aaron Nola’s the best outing in a long time (see story)

However, Herrera made a base-running blunder at the same spot Wednesday night, when he blew through a Juan Samuel stop sign and was out by a mile at home plate to make the final out in the ninth inning of a tie game. And later on Thursday, while on second during a running count and Maikel Franco behind him at first, Herrera didn’t run on the pitch.

These are mistakes any big-leaguer should avoid. And when he’s the only player a team has signed to a long-term deal, which is supposed to last into a new era that involves winning games, the mistakes sting a bit more. 

“I’m not pleased about it,” Phillies manager Pete Mackanin said. 

Had Wednesday night’s gaffe been avoided, maybe the Phillies could have gone on to win. Thursday’s was more embarrassing than damaging. While displeased, Mackanin, who said he thought about giving Herrera Thursday off, understood what happened this time around.

“He was running contact. And when you’re running contact, you’re susceptible to getting picked off by a catcher, especially with a left-handed hitter up,” Mackanin said. “You have to be aware of that. They’re taught to be aware of that. He just didn’t take that first hard step back. And that deters the catcher from throwing to third base. It happened.” 

The Phillies have been picked off eight times this season. Entering Thursday, only four teams had been picked off more. 

The Phillies own a run scoring percentage (percentage of base runners that eventually score) of 28.0, which puts them in the bottom third of the league. While much of that can be attributed to bad bats, mistakes like Herrera’s are not helping the cause. 

At 25, Herrera is still figuring this whole thing out. But he was the Phillies’ only All-Star last year and is supposed to be a consistent presence in the lineup. 

Andres Blanco, on the opposite end of the spectrum, first saw major-league action in 2004, and should be providing a consistent presence in the Phillies’ clubhouse. Yet on Thursday, starting at second base instead of Howie Kendrick, Blanco made a veteran play on the base paths, which felt like the remedy to Herrera’s mental lapses.

In the bottom of the fifth, with two outs and Blanco on second base, Freddy Galvis grounded a ball up the middle. Cardinals shortstop Aledmys Diaz sent an errant flip to second to get the final out, and Blanco was smart enough to round third and score after the ball got loose in the infield. Mackanin called it a heads-up play. 

“That’s the kind of players you’re looking for, the guys that are going to look for those kinds of things to happen,” Mackanin said, “and they don't assume a play is going to be made and assume they might be able to take an extra base.

“He’s a veteran. I’m glad he paid attention.”