Hits by Schneider, Pierre lift Phils over Padres

Hits by Schneider, Pierre lift Phils over Padres
April 21, 2012, 6:34 am
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SAN DIEGO What Brian Schneider did Friday night was not easy.After spending most of the first two weeks of the season on the bench, he stepped into the starting lineup and had the at-bat of the game in helping the Phillies beat the San Diego Padres, 4-1 (see Salisbury's Instant Replay).Schneider laced a game-tying single to right field in the top of the seventh inning on a 99-mph fastball from Padres right-hander Andrew Cashner.Turning around Cashners fastball would be difficult for a hitter who has been seeing pitches every day. What made Schneiders hit his first of the season impressive was that hed had just six at-bats in the Phillies first 13 games and none since Saturday.Two batters after Schneiders game-tying hit, Juan Pierre drove a two-run single to right and the Phils late-arriving offense was off and running as the club won for the 13th straight time in San Diego.The late offensive surge made a winner out of Cole Hamels (2-1) and some strong defense and bullpen work by Jose Contreras, Chad Qualls and Jonathan Papelbon sewed it all up.Schneiders hit brought it all together. The seldom-used catcher, getting a start in place of Carlos Ruiz (see story), was the first batter that Cashner faced in relief of starter Edinson Volquez. Schneider knew Cashner threw hard. But just in case he needed reminding, teammates Hunter Pence and Jimmy Rollins offered scouting reports as Cashner warmed up.Oh, yeah, in addition to a fastball that reaches triple digits on the radar gun, Cashner has an excellent curveball.Schneider hit the first pitch he saw a fastball.I knew he had a good breaking ball so I tried to hit the heat right away, Schneider said. Luckily I got one on the first pitch.Schneiders hit was the fourth straight single by the Phils in the seventh inning. Shane Victorino and Ty Wigginton opened the frame with no-out singles and Freddy Galvis followed with a bunt hit to load the bases. Galvis was bunting to the move the runners, but he placed the bunt perfectly between the pitcher and third baseman. The rookie second baseman continues to do everything well especially the little things.Galvis also made an excellent defensive play in the game. In fact, the Phillies played tremendous defense all night, a must in a close game. Pences running catch on a drive by Jesus Guzman saved extra bases and Schneider made a nice pounce and throw to nail a runner at third in the second.Starting pitcher Cole Hamels was the beneficiary of all that defense and the lefty contributed with a difference-making play of his own when he sprang from the mound and made a glove-hand flip to Schneider to cut down Yonder Alonso at the plate on a squeeze bunt attempt in a scoreless game in the fourth.We work on that in spring training, Hamels said. I knew I had to get off the mound quick and I knew I couldnt bare-hand it.Hamels needed the defensive support because he was not at his sharpest. He allowed six hits, several hard-hit, over six innings. But he got big outs when he needed to, particularly with his changeup, in holding the Padres to one run.I wasnt able to locate well, Hamels said. Fortunately this is a big ballpark and I was able to get away with some pitches down the middle.Hamels has won his last four starts against San Diego and he has allowed just two earned runs in 30 innings over that span.The Phillies havent lost in San Diego since 2008. Their pitching staff has allowed just seven runs in the last 86 innings in San Diego. On Saturday, the Phils go for a third straight win over the majors worst team. Roy Halladay starts against lefty Cory Luebke. It is likely that Schneider will be behind the plate again. He had his first hit of the season Friday night and it was a big one.E-mail Jim Salisbury at jsalisbury@comcastsportsnet.com.

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