Phillies show fight but drop series finale to Giants in extras

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Phillies show fight but drop series finale to Giants in extras

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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.

Best of MLB: Royals storm back in 9th inning for win over Blue Jays

Best of MLB: Royals storm back in 9th inning for win over Blue Jays

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Whit Merrifield hit a two-run, two-out double that capped a four-run rally in the ninth inning, and the Kansas City Royals beat the Toronto Blue Jays 5-4 on Friday night to reach .500 for the first time since April.

With their 10th win in 12 games, the Royals improved to 36-36. They were 6-6 before play on April 20, then went on a nine-game losing streak that night and dropped as low as 10-20, seven games out of first place. They trail AL Central-leading Cleveland by three games.

Toronto took a 2-1 lead into the ninth and extended it when Josh Donaldson and Justin Smoak hit RBI singles off Joakim Soria (4-2) (see full recap).

Dodgers cruise past Rockies for 8th straight win
LOS ANGELES -- Yasiel Puig homered and left-hander Alex Wood kept his record perfect as the streaking Los Angeles Dodgers defeated the NL West rival Colorado Rockies 6-1 on Friday night for their eighth consecutive victory.

The Dodgers have won 14 of their last 15 games. They have scored at least six runs in seven consecutive games.

Wood (8-0) allowed one run in six innings. He gave up only three hits and walked two, retiring his last 10 batters.

The Dodgers have homered in 15 consecutive games, tied for fourth-longest streak in club history. The last time they managed it was in 1977. Their record is 24 consecutive games with a home run.

Rookie left-hander Kyle Freeman (8-4) allowed five runs and a career-high 10 hits and three walks in six innings (see full recap).

Torreyes hits walk-off single to lift Yanks over Rangers
NEW YORK -- Ronald Torreyes hit a game-winning single with two outs in the 10th inning after midnight, and the New York Yankees edged the Texas Rangers 2-1 on a rainy Friday night for just their second win in 10 games.

Brett Gardner lined a tying home run with one out in the New York ninth off closer Matt Bush. After Chasen Shreve (2-1) escaped a bases-loaded jam in the top of the 10th, Torreyes kept the Yankees atop the AL East.

Yu Darvish and Masahiro Tanaka kept it scoreless into the late innings in the first major league meeting between the Japanese stars (see full recap).

Mark Leiter Jr. picks up 1st big-league win as Phillies cool off Diamondbacks

Mark Leiter Jr. picks up 1st big-league win as Phillies cool off Diamondbacks

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PHOENIX -- The clubhouse was beginning to clear and still the star of the game had not yet emerged from the shower.

"He's in there cleaning the guacamole and mayo out of his hair," Cameron Rupp said with a laugh.

Eventually Mark Leiter Jr. made it out of the shower and over to his locker where equipment man Phil Sheridan presented him with three game balls, souvenirs from not only his first big-league start but his first big-league win, as well.

"It's something I'll never forget," the 26-year-old right-hander from Toms River, N.J., said pitching six shutout innings to backbone the Phillies' 6-1 win over the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field on Friday night (see Instant Replay).

"I’ll be honest, I was probably more excited for this than I was for my major-league debut. To go out there and contribute to a win is what I was hoping to do."

Leiter, a 22nd-round draft pick by the Phillies in 2013, had never made it onto the 40-man roster until the Phils needed a reliever in mid-April and gave him a shot after he'd gotten off to a good start at Triple A. He spent six weeks in the majors and made 12 relief appearances before being sent back to Triple A the first weekend of June.

Leiter worked as a starter during his time back at Triple A. He pitched six shutout innings against Syracuse in his last start and got the call to come back up when Jerad Eickhoff went on the disabled list with a back strain earlier this week.

Leiter's return assignment was not easy: The Diamondbacks are one of the best hitting clubs in the majors and the best on their home turf. They entered the game scoring 6.48 runs per game at home and with an .886 OPS, both major-league bests.

None of that fazed Leiter.

"In my opinion, this is the big leagues and it doesn’t matter who the lineup is," he said. "They all have the ability to hit and hit well. They’re all big-leaguers and they've earned their right to be big-leaguers. I was just trying to pitch to the team you're facing that day."

Leiter trusted his low-90s fastball and commanded it well. He mixed in his secondary stuff and kept the D-backs off-balance with his splitter. He scattered three hits, walked one and struck out five. He showed no fear.

"Great performance," manager Pete Mackanin said. "He made it look easy. He made a lot of good hitters look bad with his split. For him to come up and do that to a real good hitting team was outstanding."

Leiter's dad, Mark Sr., pitched for the Phillies in 1997 and 1998. He made the trip in from New Jersey to watch his son's first big-league start.

"I guess they found him on TV," Leiter said. "That's what they were telling me. I'm sure he wasn't too pleased they found him because he was probably stressed out. But I think it was probably worth him coming out here. He's probably happy."

How could he not be?

Leiter's teammates were definitely happy.

They treated Leiter to a raucous postgame dousing that included as many different condiments as could be found in the clubhouse dining room. One laughing player had a bottle of ketchup in his hands. Another had a squeeze bottle of honey.

And then there was the guacamole and mayo that Rupp mentioned.

"In his first major-league start, to come up here and do that in what is known as a good hitters’ park - that proves Mark is pretty strong between the ears," Tommy Joseph said. "He's been one of those under-the-radar guys that people have doubted, but his mentality and ability to prepare are second to none."

Joseph played a big role in the win, smacking a two-run homer in the ninth inning to give the Phillies some breathing room. Maikel Franco also had a big home run and Freddy Galvis contributed an important triple that led to a Phillies' run in the first inning.

The Phils still have the worst record in the majors at 24-48, but they've won two in a row, both on the back of good starting pitching performances. Aaron Nola pitched 7 1/3 innings of one-run ball on Thursday.

And Leiter delivered on Friday.

"It's good to see those back-to-back," Mackanin said.