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

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.

Phillies want 2 bats for Velasquez, deal unlikely at this point; Tigers check on Hellickson

Phillies want 2 bats for Velasquez, deal unlikely at this point; Tigers check on Hellickson

ATLANTA – Two days before the non-waiver trade deadline, the Phillies have several pitchers who could be on the move.

The market for Jeremy Hellickson, Saturday night’s starter against the Braves, remains alive. The Phillies have received several offers, but nothing yet to their liking. A strong start against Atlanta on Saturday would certainly help the right-hander's value.

The Phillies had talks with Miami about Hellickson, but the Marlins filled their need for starting pitching by acquiring Andrew Cashner and Colin Rea from San Diego earlier in the week.

Pittsburgh, Texas, Toronto, Baltimore, the Dodgers and others remain in the market for starting pitching. The Detroit Tigers could be a team to watch on Hellickson. They had a scout come in to watch Hellickson pitch in Atlanta on Saturday night.

The headline-grabbing name on the Phillies’ trade front remains Vince Velasquez. Major league sources continue to tell CSNPhilly.com that the Phillies have had meaningful trade discussions with the Texas Rangers involving the power-armed right-hander.

Sources say a deal is unlikely at this time because the Phillies are seeking a high price and the Rangers could use their prospect resources in their quest to add a more established pitcher like Chris Sale or Chris Archer or a catcher like Milwaukee’s Jonathan Lucroy. But it remains noteworthy that the Phillies have made Velasquez available for the right price.

What is that price?

Sources say the Phillies would like to get two hitters from Texas’ bounty. One of those hitters must be ready to play in the majors now and the other must be close. The Rangers have a number of hitters who fit this description. Outfielder Nomar Mazara is almost certainly untouchable. (He was last year in the Cole Hamels talks). Power-hitting outfielder Joey Gallo, infielder Jurickson Profar and outfielder Lewis Brinson would probably fit the Phils’ wish list.

A source described the Phillies as being “pretty deep” in talks with Texas. The Rangers even dispatched a top scout to watch Velasquez pitch in Atlanta on Friday night. The scout was not in attendance for Saturday night’s game.

Relievers David Hernandez and Jeanmar Gomez are also in play in the last couple of days before the deadline. The Giants, who need bullpen help, have had scouts tailing the Phillies for a couple of weeks.

MLB Notes: Nationals acquire All-Star closer Mark Melancon from Pirates

MLB Notes: Nationals acquire All-Star closer Mark Melancon from Pirates

SAN FRANCISCO -- The Washington Nationals have acquired All-Star closer Mark Melancon from the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Washington sent reliever Felipe Rivero and pitching prospect Taylor Hearn to the Pirates for Melancon, who supplants Jonathan Papelbon as Washington's closer.

Melancon, a 31-year-old right-hander, has 30 saves and a 1.51 ERA this season. He is making $9.65 million and is eligible for free agency after the World Series.

Papelbon is 2-4 with a 4.41 ERA and has allowed eight runs and seven hits in his past three outing. Manager Dusty Baker wouldn't say earlier Saturday whether Papelbon still was his closer. Baker pulled Papelbon from a game Thursday in the ninth inning.

Rivero, a 25-year-old lefty, is 0-3 with a 4.53 ERA this season. Hearn is a 21-year-old lefty who was the Nationals' fifth-round pick in the 2015 amateur draft (see full story).

GIANTS: Pence back after 48-game absence
SAN FRANCISCO -- Giants right fielder Hunter Pence was activated Saturday and in the starting lineup against the Nationals after missing 48 games with a strained right hamstring that required surgery.

San Francisco hopes Pence will bring some much-needed life to a club that had lost 11 of 13 since the All-Star break.

Newly acquired infielder Eduardo Nunez made his first start since joining the team in a trade from Minnesota on Thursday and having his first at-bat Friday. Nunez was playing shortstop Saturday because Brandon Crawford, who lined into a bases-loaded triple play during Friday's 4-1 loss, had a sore left hand from a swing early in the game.

Center fielder Denard Span also was out of the lineup because of a tender quadriceps from a collision at home plate Friday.

The Giants designated for assignment infielder Ramiro Pena to clear roster room for Pence's return.  

MARINERS: Karns to DL, Martin recalled
CHICAGO -- The Seattle Mariners have placed right-hander Nathan Karns on the 15-day disabled list with a lower back strain a day after he was roughed up in a relief appearance.

Right-hander Cody Martin was recalled from Triple-A Tacoma before Saturday's game against the Cubs.

Chicago scored five runs in two innings off Karns in Friday's 12-1 romp. He gave up three hits, walked three and allowed a home run to David Ross.

Karns began the season as a starter, but was moved to the bullpen in June. He has a 5.15 ERA.

Martin has appeared in two games and thrown four innings for Seattle this season, allowing one run and five hits.

Tonight's lineup: Ryan Howard back in the lineup, batting cleanup

Tonight's lineup: Ryan Howard back in the lineup, batting cleanup

After scoring just once on Friday night, the Phillies are sticking with nearly the same lineup on Saturday (7:10/NBC10).

Ryan Howard moves into the cleanup spot, replacing Tommy Joseph at first base. Other than Howard, the lineup stays the same with Cesar Hernandez leading off.

Howard pinch hit in the ninth inning on Friday and hit a double, giving him a little momentum into Saturday. He last started on Tuesday vs. the Marlins. He's looked more like his normal self in July, batting .257 with a .543 slugging percentage in 35 at-bats for the month. The veteran has raised his average from a paltry .151 to start the month to a slightly less worse .167. 

He has three home runs in July and two career home runs off Julio Teheran, the Braves' starter steeped in trade rumors (see Game Notes)

Aaron Altherr makes his third start in as many days since coming off the disabled list. He went 0 for 4 on Friday after a three-hit season debut on Thursday. Odubel Herrera and Maikel Franco take their same spots in the lineup, batting second and third, respectively. 

Here is tonight's lineup:
1. Cesar Hernandez, 2B
2. Odubel Herrera, CF
3. Maikel Franco, 3B
4. Ryan Howard, 1B
5. Aaron Altherr, RF
6. Cameron Rupp, C
7. Cody Asche, LF
8. Freddy Galvis, SS
9. Jeremy Hellickson, P