Yankees 5, Phillies 0: Situational hitting still a problem; Garcia shows off splitter

Yankees 5, Phillies 0: Situational hitting still a problem; Garcia shows off splitter

CLEARWATER, Fla. – The Phillies had eight walks, nine base hits and put runners on base every inning against the Yankees on Friday afternoon.

They just failed to score.

Rhys Hoskins and Tommy Joseph both went 2 for 2, but situational hitting remains a problem in the first half of spring.

"Hoskins swung the bat well, he looks like a heck of a hitter," manager Pete Mackanin said, "and Joseph is starting to get going, good to see that as well.

"Other than that, not much to talk about."

The Phillies left 16 runners on base and allowed a three-run homer to Chase Headley in the first inning off starter Clay Buchholz as the Yankees won, 5-0, to drop the Phillies to 6-7-2 in the Grapefruit League.

"We had bases loaded three times and couldn't capitalize, it was one of those days," Mackanin said. "We might have used up all our runs in Lakeland [against the Tigers] the other day. Little by little, we're getting there."

Mackanin isn't ready to panic, nor should he, as many of the regulars are just beginning to get their at-bats and every player has a different approach to what they want to do during the spring. 

"When guys have 20, 25 at-bats it's hard to tell," Mackanin said. "Some guys are hot, some guys aren't. It takes time for some guys. It's a matter of putting something together. We swung the bats extremely well in Lakeland the other day and we've had other games where we swung the bat well. We're taking walks but we're also striking out too much."

The Phillies struck out eight times.

Garcia shows his splitter
Luis Garcia had his third consecutive scoreless outing of the spring and pitched a perfect 1 2/3 innings of relief. 

Mackanin said he was encouraged by Garcia going nearly two innings and the primary pitch that he used -- a split-finger fastball.

"He's started fiddling around with a split fastball, and I don't know if (Joaquin) Benoit has been talking to him about that, but he threw some really good splitters today, and if he can command that pitch pretty well he could be very effective," Mackanin said. "He might have reinvented himself. Last year, we forced (Hector) Neris to throw a lot of splits, and it seemed to light a fire under him and helped him take off and pitch so well. I'm hoping the same thing for Luis."

Mackanin said Garcia is one of the guys that is on the bubble, but he's eager to see what he can do for the rest of the spring and if he can provide multiple innings out of the bullpen.

Garcia has given up no runs and just one hit in his last three spring appearances.

"Our bullpen is pretty established, but the one thing we need to make sure we have to have is some length, so it was good to see Luis throw two innings," Mackanin said. "Length is going to be important, especially early in the season."

Up next
Right-hander Vince Velasquez will start against Blue Jays right-hander Marco Estrada in Dunedin at 1:07 p.m. on Saturday.

"The big thing with Vince is I want to see him throw strikes and have control of his pitches," Mackanin said. "It's important to get him throwing strikes and being in command of what he's doing on the mound."

Hurts so good: Phillies win third straight with a wacky walkoff

Hurts so good: Phillies win third straight with a wacky walkoff

BOX SCORE

Brock Stassi's toe hurt.
 
Maikel Franco's ribs and head hurt.
 
Pain never felt so good.
 
The Phillies pulled off their most dramatic win of the young season when they rallied for two runs in the bottom of the 10th inning to beat the Atlanta Braves, 4-3, at chilly Citizens Bank Park on Saturday night (see Instant Replay).
 
Franco completed a three-RBI night when he smacked a two-out, two-run, bases-loaded single to right to give the Phillies the walk-off win. It was the Phillies' third straight win and fifth in the last seven games as they improved to 8-9 with a chance to sweep a series and even their record at .500 on Sunday afternoon.
 
Franco will be in the lineup.
 
But he might need a couple of Advil to get going.
 
After his game-winning hit, Franco was hilariously chased into right field by his euphoric teammates. The Phillies third baseman absorbed a beat down with Andres Blanco delivering a blow to the top of Franco's head.
 
"You see that -- boom!" Blanco said in the happy clubhouse after that game.  
 
Franco did more than see it.

He felt it.
 
"Whitey got me," he said, laughing and pointing to his head and ribs. "My body is screaming right now."
 
Across the clubhouse, Stassi was feeling Franco's pain. His foot got stepped on during the happy scrum.
 
"My toe is killing me," he said with a laugh.
 
Stassi, too, might need an Advil before Sunday's game. He has a good chance to be in the lineup at first base because Tommy Joseph seems like a candidate for a day off after a tough night. Joseph made a costly throwing error in the top of the 10th inning that helped the Braves take a 3-2 lead.
 
Stassi helped rescue the Phillies from that deficit. His 10th inning single was the first of three one-out hits that the Phils collected against Braves' closer Jim Johnson. With the bases loaded, Johnson made Odubel Herrera look bad with a swinging strikeout for the second out. That brought up Franco. New hitting coach Matt Stairs is constantly encouraging Franco to use the whole field and that's just what the cleanup man did in lacing a liner to the warning track in right.

"To right field! How 'bout that," manager Pete Mackanin said.
 
It was Franco's second single of the night. He would have been awarded a game-winning double if he had reached second base. But, alas, he was chased into right field.
 
In the clubhouse after the game, Franco was told by a club official that he could have had a double had he touched second.
 
Franco's eyes widened in disbelief.
 
"Ah, Mikey!" he said, scolding himself.
 
Then he laughed.
 
Across the clubhouse, Joseph could laugh about the miscue that saw him throw to an empty third base after a sacrifice bunt in the 10th. With everything moving fast, he mistook shortstop Freddy Galvis for a baserunner as Galvis streaked to cover third.
 
Joseph's error put a man on third and the Braves scored the go-ahead run on an infield hit.
 
The ironic part about Joseph's error was the Phillies played excellent defense -- Herrera and Aaron Altherr made great catches in the outfield and Galvis was Galvis at short -- until the 10th.
 
They pitched well, too, from starter Jerad Eickhoff's five innings of one-run ball to the stingy relief work of Joely Rodriguez, Luis Garcia and Pat Neshek. They teamed on three shutout innings.
 
With his top late-game tandem of Joaquin Benoit and Hector Neris in need of a night off, Mackanin asked Edubray Ramos to close it out. Ramos struck out the first two batters in the ninth and was one out away from his first big-league save when Brandon Phillips unloaded on a hanging slider to tie the game at 2-2.
 
Ramos rebounded and got the final out of the inning. As he walked off the field, he covered his mouth with his glove and shouted. Best guess: He said a naughty word. But ultimately his teammates got him off the hook. Parts of it were pretty. Parts of it were ugly. But when the night was over, the Phillies had a win.
 
"It was really a wacky game," manager Pete Mackanin said. "We played well overall, then there was a flurry of activity at the end."
 
Mackanin reached for a bottle of water.
 
"I'm going to drink more of this Smart Water," he said. "It's a happy day."

Best of MLB: Gonzalez, Nationals beat Mets 3-1 for 6th straight win

Best of MLB: Gonzalez, Nationals beat Mets 3-1 for 6th straight win

NEW YORK -- Gio Gonzalez mentioned the tasty Latin food served in the visitors' clubhouse. And the airplanes that fly overhead. And the pretty features of the ballpark.

But if there's a real reason why the Washington lefty is so successful at Citi Field, he isn't saying.

"Any secrets?" he offered. "No."

Gonzalez pitched no-hit ball into the sixth inning to win again at the Mets' stadium, and the Nationals beat New York 3-1 on a drizzly Saturday for their sixth straight victory (see full recap).

Contreras' slam powers Arrieta, Cubs to 12-8 win over Reds
CINCINNATI -- After a sputtering start, the Cubs' offense is finally rolling. And it's no surprise that they're breaking out at Great American Ball Park, a place that's just their style.

Wilson Contreras hit his first career grand slam and Anthony Rizzo and Jason Heyward added three-run shots on Saturday, powering Chicago to a 12-8 victory over the Cincinnati Reds.

Jake Arrieta (3-0) returned to the mound where he threw his second career no-hitter last April 21 and struggled mightily at the outset, giving up two homers in the first inning. Chicago's offense pulled him through with another homer-filled game at Great American Ball Park. Arrieta helped with an RBI triple (see full recap).

Homers by Mancini, Schoop carry Orioles past Red Sox 4-2
BALTIMORE -- Just when it appeared Steven Wright had finally gained command of his fluttering knuckleball, the Baltimore Orioles found their groove.

The result: Another early exit for the 2016 All-Star in Boston's 4-2 loss Saturday night.

Trey Mancini and Jonathan Schoop homered in succession off Wright, Jayson Aquino won his first big league start and the Orioles used one big inning to secure their fourth straight victory (see full recap).

Simmons belts grand slam to lead Angels past Blue Jays 5-4
ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Andrelton Simmons hit a tiebreaking grand slam, Tyler Skaggs pitched into the eighth inning and the Los Angeles Angels held off the slumping Toronto Blue Jays 5-4 Saturday night.

Simmons cleared the bases in the third inning off Casey Lawrence (0-2) for his second career grand slam, helping the Angels snap a three-game losing streak and win for the second time in 11 games.

Skaggs (1-1) gave up a run in the first but settled down to hold the Blue Jays to five hits over the next six innings, getting the Blue Jays to hit into three double plays along the way. He was lifted after Ryan Goins doubled to lead off the eighth (see full recap).