Phillies use team effort to down Diamondbacks

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Phillies use team effort to down Diamondbacks

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On the final night of being the only game in town for a good long while, the Phillies got a solid start from Kyle Kendrick, clutch relief work from Justin De Fratus and a whole bunch of offense from a whole bunch of guys.

The result was a 9-5 win over the Arizona Diamondbacks at Citizens Bank Park Friday night (see Instant Replay).

On Saturday, the Eagles open training camp across the street and that’s where the region’s sporting attention will turn, save for a few glances at the Ryan Howard soap opera and what will happen at next week’s trade deadline.

Speaking of Howard, it looks like his three-game benching will come to an end Saturday night against Arizona right-hander Josh Collmenter.

“We have a right-handed pitcher throwing,” manager Ryne Sandberg said. “I’ll make the lineup up. We’ll go forward. But I want him -- with a little bit of rest and some tweaking of his mechanics like he’s done the last couple of days -- to have a big game for us.”

Several Phillies hitters had big games Friday night.

Jimmy Rollins went 0 for 5, but still had a big (money) night. His second plate appearance of the game was his 1,100th since the start of 2013 and that guaranteed his 2015 contract for $11 million.

Darin Ruf, getting his third straight look at first base in place of the struggling/platooning Howard, had a double, a sacrifice fly, a walk and scored a run.

Domonic Brown swung the bat well. He drove in three runs with a groundout and a two-run homer in the seventh. The longball into the right-field seats made it a four-run game after the Diamondbacks had pulled to within two runs in the sixth inning.

Grady Sizemore batted leadoff for the Phillies and played center field. He had a single, two doubles, scored two runs and stole third base.

Sizemore is making the most of his tryout in Philadelphia -- and that’s exactly what it is as team decision makers try to determine if he can be a fit on this team next year after missing the previous two seasons with a myriad of injuries. In 11 games with the Phils, Sizemore is 14 for 41 (.341) with four doubles.

“Everybody here has been very welcoming,” Sizemore said. “The more I play, the stronger I get. I just want to be in the lineup.”

Sizemore’s first-inning single was the 1,000th hit of his career and the Philadelphia fans gave him a nice ovation when it was announced on the video board.

“It’s exciting,” Sizemore said. “Hopefully there’s a lot more.”

Kendrick opened the game with five shutout innings, but allowed a double, a walk and a two-out single in the sixth. All three of those runners scored when reliever Antonio Bastardo gave up a grand slam to pinch-hitter Alfredo Marte.

Bastardo continued to struggle in the seventh when he allowed a pair of singles to open the inning. The left-hander’s tough outing (he retired just one of the four batters he faced) came with scouts from Toronto and Detroit behind the backstop. Both teams are looking for relief help and have been gathering intelligence on Bastardo.

Bastardo left with two men on base and the Phillies up by two runs. In came De Fratus. He struck out Aaron Hill for the first out then walked dangerous Paul Goldschmidt (.312/18/66) in a long, 12-pitch showdown to load the bases before striking out Miguel Montero and Mark Trumbo to end the threat.

“I wasn’t going to let Paul Goldschmidt beat us -- or beat me -- tonight,” De Fratus said.

De Fratus struck out Trumbo on the eighth pitch, a 93 mph fastball. He left the mound pumping his fist.

“That was a game-saving moment right there,” Sandberg said. “He had three strikeouts in the inning, but the big one was with the bases loaded. He showed the emotion and it was right for the moment. It was a big out.”

De Fratus earned the right to be fired up.

“Giving the team a chance to win and keeping the lead,” he said. “That’s really what I was excited about.”

The Phillies had 12 hits in the game and were 6 for 15 with runners in scoring position.

“A good win all the way around,” Sandberg said.

Pete Mackanin: Marlins pitcher Jose Fernandez was 'a helluva pitcher'

Pete Mackanin: Marlins pitcher Jose Fernandez was 'a helluva pitcher'

NEW YORK — The clubhouse mood following the Phillies17-0 loss to the Mets Sunday was somber, in part because of the disastrous game that had just wrapped up, but also because of the tragic news of Marlins star pitcher Jose Fernandez’s death in a boating accident early Sunday morning.

“It was rough. People are devastated. I didn’t even know him and I was crushed,” Phillies starter Jake Thompson said. “I can only imagine how that clubhouse feels. That’s something that I wouldn’t wish upon my worst enemy, to deal with something of that magnitude.”

Both teams paused for a moment of silence before Sunday’s game and the Mets taped a jersey bearing Fernandez’s name and number onto their dugout wall.

“This morning, that was quite a surprise,” manager Pete Mackanin said of the atmosphere of the day. “I don’t think it affected the players once the game started. It was such bad news this morning that everybody was kind of melancholy.”

Fernandez had built a strong track record against the Phillies in his young career, amassing a 2.88 ERA in six starts.

“It’s kind of cliché to say but you look at the start of his career and he could have been a Hall of Famer,” Thompson said.

Asked how he would remember facing Fernandez, Mackanin was succinct.

“He was a helluva pitcher,” he said.

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Phillies suffer worst shutout loss in modern era to Mets

Phillies suffer worst shutout loss in modern era to Mets

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NEW YORK -- Jake Thompson faced the issues that a 22-year old starter in his 10th career appearance usually does Sunday against the Mets.
 
Thompson struggled with his command at times, walking the bases loaded in the fourth inning before escaping his self-induced jam with a flyout. He hit a batter and surrendered a home run to Curtis Granderson on a pitch that caught too much of the plate.
 
The righty departed after four innings in what manager Pete Mackanin declared postgame to be Thompson’s last start of the season.
 
But perhaps neither he nor the rest of the Phillies expected the extent to which his struggles would ripple through the bullpen. The Phillies’ relievers surrendered 14 runs, hit three batters and gave up a grand slam in a 17-0 loss, the franchise's worst shutout defeat in the modern era (see Instant Replay).
 
“Obviously the bullpen has scuffled for a while now,” Mackanin said. “That shows you how much the game is about pitching. It keeps you in games, gives you an opportunity to win like it did the first couple of months of the season for us. Now, the last month, it’s not keeping us in games or it’s losing games.”
 
The Phillies’ relievers were charged with 28 runs over the course of their four-game swing in New York. Their collective 4.69 ERA is the fourth-worst in the National League.
 
Sunday, Phil Klein — who hadn’t pitched since he was recalled from Lehigh Valley on Sept. 10 — and little-used Colton Murray and Patrick Schuster — who had combined for three appearances in the past two weeks — took the brunt of the damage.
 
Klein walked two batters, surrendered two singles and hit Mets catcher Rene Rivera in the left hand to force in a run. He left the bases loaded for Murray, who allowed an inherited runner to score on a wild pitch. Murray was pulled in the seventh having gotten into a bases-loaded jam of his own. His replacement, Frank Herrmann, allowed all three runs to score on a walk and a grand slam by Asdrubal Cabrera.
 
Schuster was assigned five runs in the eighth after he was tagged for three hits, walked a batter and hit Gavin Cecchini.
 
Which pitchers — if any — out of the Phillies’ cadre of middle relivers will return next year is an open question and Mackanin made it clear that he will use the remaining six games in the season to evaluate his team’s arms.
 
“It’s another audition.” Mackanin said. “We want to see who might fit in.”
 
Thompson can clearly stake a claim to his role in the Phillies’ rebuilding effort. Despite the hiccup in his final outing, he has come a long way in just two months from being the pitcher that surrendered six runs to the light-hitting Padres in his Aug. 6 debut.

His changeup — a pitch that hitters had connected on for six home runs this year, according to data from Fangraphs — was particularly lively Sunday. Cabrera chased it out of the zone in the first inning for Thompson’s only strikeout.
 
“I think the changeup’s probably been my best pitch up here,” Thompson said. “I’ve given up a lot of homers on it, too. That just shows whenever you don’t execute it, it’s a tough pitch to throw in the zone. As far as the swing-and-misses that I was getting with it, it’s kind of night and day.
 
“At this point last year I pretty much had no changeup, so that’s a big thing for me.”
 
Only 23 on Opening Day next year, Thompson has plenty of room to improve.
 
The Phillies’ bullpen does, too.

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