Pirates 13, Phillies 8: Jeremy Hellickson roughed up; Jeanmar Gomez stretches it out

Pirates 13, Phillies 8: Jeremy Hellickson roughed up; Jeanmar Gomez stretches it out

CLEARWATER, Fla. -- It was one of those days for Jeremy Hellickson.

"He didn't have anything go right," manager Pete Mackanin said.

Hellickson, the Phillies' projected opening day starter, gave up nine hits and eight runs in five innings of work in a 13-8 loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates on Saturday afternoon. Three of the runs were unearned after third baseman Maikel Franco committed a couple of errors (see full story).

"Things like that are going to happen," Hellickson said. "I have to figure out a way to limit the damage.

"Everything felt good. I was just leaving too many balls up."

Hellickson was able to stay on the mound and run his pitch count to 87. He should approach 100 in his next start as he zeroes in on opening day. Mackanin has not announced his opening day starter yet, but Hellickson lines up to get the nod for the second straight season.

"I'm ready to get out of here," he said.

The regular season begins two weeks from Monday in Cincinnati.

Gomez gets extra work
Mackanin began spring training by announcing that Jeanmar Gomez deserved the chance to be the closer after saving 37 games last season. But Mackanin did leave himself a little wiggle room to change his mind.

So, it was notable that Gomez pitched two innings Saturday. Was that a sign that Mackanin was leaning toward changing his mind and using Gomez in a multi-inning relief role?

The manager said no.

Pitching coach Bob "McClure wanted to get him stretched out, not for any particular reason, but just down here -- last year he did the same thing with all the relief pitchers. It's not going to hurt him," Mackanin said.

So Gomez is still the ninth-inning guy?

"Yeah, right now," Mackanin said.

Gomez struggled as closer last September and actually lost the job.

But this spring, he's been very good. He pitched scoreless ball for his two innings Saturday. He gave up a hit and struck out two. For the spring, he's allowed just a run in 7 2/3 innings. He has given up four hits, walked one and struck out four.

Hustling Hanigan
Veteran Ryan Hanigan, who is trying to stick with the team as a backup catcher, had a hit and is batting .429 (6 for 14). He has drawn six walks, tying him for the team high.

Hanigan also made a nice, hustling catch in foul territory. He had to negotiate a protective screen near the dugout and then juggled the ball while falling. But he hung on.

Hanigan is battling another veteran, Bryan Holaday, and rookie Andrew Knapp for the backup catcher's job.

Joseph mending
Tommy Joseph's sore left hand is getting better. He took batting practice and reported no problems. However, he will not play Sunday and Monday is an off day. If he returns to action Tuesday, he will have had a full week off after being hit by a pitch on the hand.

Up next
The Phils play the Rays in Port Charlotte on Sunday. Jerad Eickhoff starts for the Phils against lefty Blake Snell.

MLB Notes: Twins-Braves, Royals-Padres make trades

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MLB Notes: Twins-Braves, Royals-Padres make trades

MINNEAPOLIS -- Hoping to bolster their rotation for a playoff run, the Minnesota Twins have acquired veteran left-handed pitcher Jaime García, catcher Anthony Recker and cash considerations from the Atlanta Braves for minor league right-hander Huascar Ynoa.

The 31-year-old García is 66-52 with a 3.65 ERA and 808 strikeouts in 176 appearances, mostly with St. Louis (2008, 2010-16). He missed the 2009 MLB season following Tommy John surgery.

Garcia is 4-7 with a 4.30 ERA, 41 walks and 85 strikeouts in 18 starts for the Braves this year.

While Garcia's numbers don't jump off the page, the Twins were in need of a veteran arm to put into a rotation that has been largely disappointing behind the top two starters, Ervin Santana and Jose Berrios (see full story).

Royals: Cahill, Maurer, Buchter acquired from Padres
DETROIT -- The contending Kansas City Royals have acquired three pitchers from the San Diego Padres, getting starter Trevor Cahill, closer Brandon Maurer and reliever Ryan Buchter.

The Royals sent pitchers Matt Strahm and Travis Wood, minor league infielder Esteury Ruiz and cash to San Diego on Monday. The deal came one week before the nonwaiver trade deadline.

Kansas City began the day tied with Tampa Bay for the second AL wild-card spot and 1 1/2 games behind AL Central-leading Cleveland. The Royals had been looking to bolster their rotation and bullpen, and did it with one swap.

Cahill was 4-3 with a 3.69 ERA in 11 starts for the Padres. The 29-year-old right-hander was an All-Star with Oakland in 2010.

Maurer is 20-for-23 on save tries, and 1-4 with a 5.72 ERA. The 27-year-old righty began his big league career with Seattle in 2013 as a starter.

Buchter is 3-3 with one save and a 3.05 ERA in 42 games. The 30-year-old lefty pitched 67 times for the Padres last year.

Dodgers: Kershaw lost to DL with back injury
LOS ANGELES -- Clayton Kershaw is headed to the disabled list for the second straight summer because of a back injury.

A year after missing 2 1/2 months with a herniated disk in his lower back, Kershaw was pulled from a start Sunday against Atlanta because of lower back tightness. The Los Angeles Dodgers ace exited after two innings in a 5-4, 10-inning victory.

It leaves baseball's top team without its best pitcher. The Dodgers lead the majors with a 68-31 record and are atop the NL West standings by 10 games.

Kershaw was set to meet with a back specialist Sunday evening for tests, although manager Dave Roberts was already sure that Kershaw would be placed on the 10-day DL (see full story).

Mets: Wheeler put on DL because of arm trouble
NEW YORK -- The New York Mets have put pitcher Zack Wheeler on the 10-day disabled list because of a stress reaction in his right arm.

The Mets didn't provide a timetable for Wheeler's return. He was on the DL last month with biceps tendinitis and has struggled in four starts since his return.

The team recalled righty Tyler Pill from Triple-A Las Vegas before Monday night's game at San Diego.

Wheeler joins Mets starting pitchers Noah Syndergaard, Matt Harvey and Robert Gsellman on the disabled list. Steven Matz and Seth Lugo recently came off the DL and returned to the rotation.

The 27-year-old Wheeler didn't pitch in the majors the past two years after having Tommy John surgery in 2015. He is 3-7 with a 5.21 ERA in 17 starts.

Tonight's lineup: Nick Williams moves up to 3rd for hot-hitting Phillies

Tonight's lineup: Nick Williams moves up to 3rd for hot-hitting Phillies

The hot-hitting Phillies made some minor tweaks to their lineup for Monday's series opener against the American League-beset Houston Astros at Citizens Bank Park.

Nick Williams, Odubel Herrera and Tommy Joseph all move up in the lineup with Howie Kendrick getting the day off. Williams will hit third, Herrera moves up to fifth and Joseph will hit sixth. Andrew Knapp is catching and batting seventh. Cameron Perkins is playing left field and batting eighth.

Williams is hitting .309 with four home runs, four doubles, two triples and 15 RBIs in 19 games since being called up from Triple A Lehigh Valley on June 30. He had a two-run homer and another RBI in the Phillies' 6-3 win over the Milwaukee Brewers on Sunday afternoon.

After his 1 for 3 day with an RBI on Sunday, Herrera moves up spot. The centerfielder is hitting .331 with a major-league leading 19 doubles since June 3.

Joseph was 0 for 4 on Sunday with two strikeouts. He hit seventh against the Brewers but will hit sixth tonight.

Vince Velasquez (2-5, 5.14)  is on the mound for the Phillies. He'll be opposed by Brad Peacock (8-1, 2.49).

Here is the Phillies' full lineup:

Phillies
1. Cesar Hernandez, 2B
2. Freddy Galvis, SS
3. Nick Williams, RF
4. Maikel Franco, 3B
5. Odubel Herrera, CF
6. Tommy Joseph, 1B
7. Andrew Knapp, C
8. Cameron Perkins, LF
9. Vince Velasquez, SP

For more on tonight's game, read Corey Seidman's game notes.