Phillies show fight but drop series finale to Giants in extras

050813-philslose-slideshow-uspw.jpg

Phillies show fight but drop series finale to Giants in extras

BOX SCORE

SAN FRANCISCO – All things considered, the Phillies’ trip to San Francisco was a good one. They won the first two games and showed a little heart in the series finale. Yeah, they made a good showing.

But it could have been better.

Desperate for a lengthy winning streak that might finally vault them above .500, the Phils had a chance to sweep the Giants but came up short in a 4-3 loss at AT&T Park in 10 innings on Wednesday (see instant replay).

“We'll take it,” Jimmy Rollins said of the series win. “But we had a chance to put them away.”

Indeed the Phillies did.

They were stymied by soft-serving lefty Barry Zito for seven innings Wednesday and went into the ninth inning down, 3-1. You could almost have put this one in the loss column at that point because the Giants had closer Sergio Romo in the game and he had converted 12 of his first 13 save chances of the season. The Giants were 13-0 when leading after eight.

But Rollins, who earlier in the game had helped run the Phils out of an inning, started the ninth with a double and good at-bats by Kevin Frandsen, Michael Young, Chase Utley and Delmon Young helped the Phils tie the game at 3-3.

Mike Adams, with a lot of help from his defense, particularly catcher Carlos Ruiz who gunned down a would-be base-stealer, pitched a scoreless bottom of the ninth, but Antonio Bastardo could not hold off the Giants in the bottom of the 10th.

Bastardo allowed a leadoff single to pinch-hitter Buster Posey. The Giants used a sacrifice bunt and a wild pitch by Bastardo to get Posey to third before Andres Torres won it with a flare single to right with two outs.

Rollins liked the pluck the Phillies showed in coming back in the ninth against one of the best closers in the National League.

“We can stand tall on that and hopefully take that to Arizona,” he said, looking ahead to the next stop on this seven-game trip.

Manager Charlie Manuel also liked the way the Phils went down swinging Wednesday, the same day they learned that Roy Halladay would be out at least three months (see story).

“I like our fight,” Manuel said. “We’ve got plenty of fight. I don’t know what the big deal is. We’ll be all right. We always have been, haven’t we?”

Actually, the Phillies haven’t always been all right. Witness last year’s 81-81 season and baseball-less October.

And the issue of fight, character, guts, pride -- whatever you want to call it -- has been raised twice in the last week or so by Cliff Lee.

“We have a lot of guys who believe in themselves,” Manuel said. “Keep watching.”

Despite their ninth-inning rally, the Phils hardly played a clean game Wednesday. Centerfielder Ben Revere appeared to get a bad jump on a soft fly ball by Marco Scutaro with two outs in the fifth. It dropped in for a hit that broke a 1-1 tie.

Revere said he got a good read on the ball, but it dropped quickly.

“You never know what the ball is going to do here,” he said.

In the sixth inning, the Phils were down a run when Rollins smacked a double against Zito. It might have been the start of something hadn’t Rollins been nailed trying to steal third on an 0-2 pitch to Kevin Frandsen.

Good play?

Bad play?

“It’s a good play if he makes it,” Manuel said.

Rollins went on his own. He has a green light.

“Obviously with one out, that's when you're going to try to take chances right there,” Rollins said. “Zito's a breaking-ball pitcher. It was a breaking-ball count. Put those things together and it's a situation where we can tie the ballgame. He threw a fastball. They got me.”

Later in the game, in the top of the 10th, catcher Guillermo Quiroz nailed another Phillie, Revere, as he tried two swipe second with one out. Revere insisted he beat the throw, but umpire Alfonso Marquez disagreed.

“I was safe,” Revere said. “That was a downer. I was very upset. That momentum shift hurt us.”

The rookie Jonathan Pettibone allowed three runs in 5 2/3 innings. The one he wanted back: A two-out, first-pitch fastball to Zito in the sixth inning. Pettibone, who had intentionally walked the previous batter, grooved it andZito clubbed it to right for a run.

“That will haunt me for some time,” Pettibone said.

Andrew Knapp to make Phillies' roster -- remaining roster decisions are close

Andrew Knapp to make Phillies' roster -- remaining roster decisions are close

CLEARWATER, Fla. -- The pathway for Andrew Knapp to make the Phillies' opening day roster as the backup catcher was cleared way back in November when he was added to the 40-man roster.

The job all but became Knapp's on Monday when the team released two veteran catchers who were not on the 40-man roster. When Ryan Hanigan and Bryan Holaday were let go, Knapp became one of just two catchers in camp, the other being starter Cameron Rupp (see story).

So it's pretty obvious that the 25-year-old Knapp will open the season with the big club -- even though nothing will become official until rosters are filed with the commissioner's office this weekend.

"Obviously there are four or five days left," Knapp said. "I'm just going to keep trying to make good impressions and try to win a job. I'm keeping my head down, trying not to think about it too much."

Knapp was the Phillies' second-round draft pick out of Cal-Berkeley in 2013. He has never played in the majors.

"It would be a dream come true," he said. "Everyone hopes to get called up at some point but to make a team on opening day would be pretty special and it would be the best moment in my career so far."

Phillies manager Pete Mackanin acknowledged that Knapp would probably make the club.

Mackanin would like to have the rest of his roster in order over the next day or two.

"As soon as possible," he said. "Because the last four or five games I'd like to play almost as if it were a season -- using the bullpen that way, using the bench in a certain way, seeing what it looks like, our bench guys, all our hitters. We just don't want to make a bad decision so we're just going to string it out as long as we can."

Roster questions that still must be answered:

How many spots remain on the bench? Andres Blanco, Aaron Altherr and Knapp are set. Will the Phillies go with a five-man bench, meaning there are two openings? Or will they go with a four-man bench, which opens the possibility for carrying eight relievers instead of the customary seven?

If the Phils go with a five-man bench, they will pick two from a group of four players that includes Chris Coghlan, Daniel Nava, Brock Stassi and Jesmuel Valentin. The hunch is Coghlan will make the club, leaving the final spot down to Nava or Stassi. All three of those players are non-roster so the team would have to open a spot on the 40-man roster to accommodate them. Valentin has impressed -- and is already on the 40 -- but he might benefit from playing every day at Triple A.

Mackanin praised the work of Coghlan and Stassi.

"Stassi has obviously made a great impression, mainly because, not necessarily because of his results, but the fact that he had a lot of quality at-bats," Mackanin said. "It looks like he can handle making adjustments to the different pitchers and different situations. He seemed to handle left-handers well. He made a good impression, as has Coghlan. Nava has also been consistent throughout the spring."

If the Phils go with a four-man bench, Coghlan might be the only one to make the club. He is due a $100,000 retention bonus on Wednesday. If he wasn't going to make the team, he might be gone by now.

Going with a four-man bench would minimize the subtractions that the team would have to make from the 40-man roster. In that case, only one spot would have to be cleared.

A four-man bench means the Phillies could choose three relievers from a group of candidates that includes Adam Morgan, Joely Rodriguez, Luis Garcia, Alec Asher and Cesar Ramos. All but Ramos is on the 40-man roster.

How will this all shake out?

More answers could be coming on Tuesday.

Phillies release Hanigan, Holaday; Andrew Knapp likely backup catcher

Phillies release Hanigan, Holaday; Andrew Knapp likely backup catcher

A week before the season opener, it appears Andrew Knapp has won the Phillies' backup catcher competition.

The Phils on Monday released Ryan Hanigan and Bryan Holaday, two veterans battling with Knapp for the backup spot to Cameron Rupp.

Knapp, 25, hasn't had an impressive spring, going 7 for 38 (.184) with 16 strikeouts, but the move makes sense because he's young and has at least a chance to contribute to the Phillies in the future, unlike Hanigan and Holaday. Plus, catcher Jorge Alfaro and first baseman Rhys Hoskins will likely open the season at Triple A, meaning Knapp would not have had an everyday spot with the IronPigs.

Knapp had his best game of the spring at the right time Sunday, hitting a two-run homer and throwing out two runners on the bases (see story).

"It's pretty obvious he seems to be the guy," manager Pete Mackanin said of Knapp. "Nothing's written in stone but if you read between the lines, it pretty much tells you something about it. No secret plans or anything like that. It is what it is right now."

At 25, Knapp isn't really a prospect anymore but rather a player the Phillies want to see sink or swim at the big-league level.

"He's not going to get 500 at-bats, but one of the things you can look at is any exposure to the big-league scene is valuable toward anyone's development," Mackanin said. "Let's say Knapp gets 200 at-bats, it's worth his while and our while to judge him, to give him a sense of confidence or knowing what he's up against.

"In that regard playing in the big leagues, even in a part-time role, is important."

Knapp was the Phillies' second-round pick in 2013 out of the University of California. He broke out in 2015 by hitting .360 with a 1.050 OPS and more than an RBI per game in 241 plate appearances with Double A Reading.

Last season, the switch-hitting Knapp was an International League All-Star with Triple A Lehigh Valley, though he didn't have as impressive an offensive season, batting .266/.330/.390 with eight home runs and 46 RBIs.

"He's got a chance to be a pretty good hitter," Mackanin said. "And he's come along quite a ways defensively behind the plate to where I'm comfortable with him catching.

"Little by little he's shown improvement in the spring, even though he hasn't had the greatest spring offensively. He's had a lot of good at-bats and he's caught well."

Andres Blanco, Aaron Altherr and Knapp look like locks for the Phillies' bench. The final two bench spots are open with Brock Stassi, Chris Coghlan, Daniel Nava and Jesmuel Valentin in the running (see story).

CSN Philly's Jim Salisbury contributed to this report.