SAN FRANCISCO Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. offered some mildly encouraging news on Ryan Howards condition Monday, but the slugging first baseman still has not been cleared to ramp up baseball activities.Howard, who on Feb. 27 had a procedure to clean out an infection around the area of his surgically repaired left Achilles tendon, was examined by a wound specialist in Philadelphia on Monday. Amaro declined to name the specialist.In short, Amaro said, Howard still has a wound on the back of his ankle. It is getting smaller, but it has not healed to the point where doctors are comfortable letting him run or swing a bat.Its still healing, Amaro said. Hes doing well. Well continue on the same deal.Amaro shed some light on the procedure that was performed on Howard in February. Apparently, doctors dug deeply around Howards Achilles tendon to make sure all the infection was removed.The biggest challenge is getting the wound to the skin, Amaro said. For how deep it was, its getting pretty close. The wound cant skin over until it gets to the skin. Thats the last thing to happen.When that happens, Howard will increase his baseball activities. He has been taking ground balls and playing catch, but thats about it.There is no timetable for Howards returning to the lineup.In other injury matters, Chase Utley continues to rehab his sore knees with a physical therapist in Arizona. He likely will visit with the team in Phoenix next week, but there is no timetable for his return.E-mail Jim Salisbury at firstname.lastname@example.org.
SAN FRANCISCO -- Brandon Crawford singled in Matt Duffy with two outs in the 10th inning, and the surging San Francisco Giants beat the San Diego Padres 4-3 Wednesday for their 13th win in 14 games.
Duffy singled off Brad Hand (1-2) with one out, pinch-hitter Hunter Pence popped out, Duffy advanced on a wild pitch and Crawford hit a 1-2 offering over center fielder Jon Jay as Duffy scored standing up.
Crawford also singled and scored after some alert baserunning in the second inning. Duffy and Denard Span drove in runs for the NL West-leading Giants.
San Francisco completed a three-game sweep, extended its winning streak to five and improved to 9-0 against the Padres this season. The Giants' two walkoff wins in the series were against Hand (see full recap).
Arrieta moves to 9-0 in Cubs' win over Cards
ST. LOUIS -- Jake Arrieta remained unbeaten on the season despite allowing as many as four runs for the first time in nearly a year and the Chicago Cubs beat the St. Louis Cardinals 9-8 on Wednesday.
Arrieta (9-0) joined the White Sox's Chris Sale as the only nine-game winners in the majors.
Arrieta allowed four runs in a regular-season game for the first time since June 16, 2015.
Arrieta became the first Cub to win his first nine decisions since Kenny Holtzman in 1967 and it is the best start to a season for the franchise since Jim McCormick went 16-0 in 1886.
Kris Bryant hit a three-run homer and Jason Heyward and Ben Zobrist each drove in two for the Cubs (see full recap).
Bradley extends hit streak to 29 in BoSox victory
BOSTON -- Jackie Bradley Jr. extended his major league-best hitting streak to 29 games, Xander Bogaerts homered to extend his hitting streak to 18 games and the Boston Red Sox beat the Colorado Rockies 10-3 on Wednesday night for their fourth straight win.
Travis Shaw had three RBIs and Boston moved to a season-best 12 games over .500. The Red Sox have scored eight or more runs 10 times in their last 14 home games.
Steven Wright (4-4) had another solid outing, giving up three runs, two earned. He has now given up three runs or fewer in eight of his nine starts.
Chad Bettis (4-3) held the Red Sox scoreless through three innings but was responsible for seven runs over the next two innings before getting pulled.
The Rockies have lost six of their last seven -- all on the road (see full recap).
DETROIT — At least Odubel Herrera was honest about it.
“I didn’t expect to hit it that far,” he said with a big grin on his face late Wednesday afternoon.
Herrera unloaded on the hanging slider and finished with his bat high.
As the bat reached its apex, Herrera didn’t just let it go. He flipped it in the air as if to say, ‘Uh-huh, I crushed that one.’ In the annals of bat flips, it wasn’t quite Jose Bautista quality, but it wasn’t far off. The flip was so dramatic that Herrera admitted after the game that he would not have been surprised if a Tigers pitcher had retaliated and stuck a pitch in his ribs later in the game.
Retribution never came. And Herrera left Detroit with a smile on his face and yet another big day for the Phillies. He is leading the club with a .327 batting average and his .440 on-base percentage is second-best in baseball.
Herrera's big home run helped make a winner out of Aaron Nola and the Phillies on a day when they really needed a win. After all, they had lost four of their previous five and are headed into the den of baseball’s best team, the Chicago Cubs, on Friday.
“For me, it was a must-win,” said manager Pete Mackanin, whose club is 26-21. “We’d lost four of five and I felt like we needed to come out of here with a win.
“The guys battled the whole game. To me it looked like they played like they had to win this game, which was nice to see. It looked like they played knowing we had to win. They were grinding and coming up with hits. Call it what you want, it was just the feeling I got.
“I’m not going to say I’m anxious to see the Cubs; they’re a hell of a team. But I’m hopeful we can take two out of three.”
The Tigers are one of baseball’s best hitting teams.
The Phillies are one of the worst. They entered the day scoring just 3.2 runs per game.
But on this day, the Phillies out-hit the Tigers, 12-10, to salvage one game in the series.
Nola went six innings, allowed four runs, a walk and struck out six. He left with a 7-4 lead. Things got hairy in the seventh, but Hector Neris cleaned up things for David Hernandez, and Jeanmar Gomez registered his majors-leading 17th save.
In between, Peter Bourjos had a couple of big hits, including his first homer of the season. Andres Blanco started at second over Cesar Hernandez and had a couple of big hits, as well. Bourjos and Blanco even hooked up on a double steal with Blanco becoming the first Phillie to swipe home since Chase Utley in 2009. (An off-line throw to second by Tigers catcher James McCann helped.)
“We have to try things,” Mackanin said. “We can’t bang it out with most teams so we have to try that kind of stuff, take chances.”
The Phillies actually banged it on this day.
Bourjos’ homer in the seventh provided some valuable cushion.
There are no cheap homers in spacious Comerica Park. Bourjos’ homer traveled 401 feet according to ESPN’s play by play.
Though Bourjos claimed he did not see Herrera’s bat flip in fifth inning, he was aware of it. For the record, Bourjos did not flip his bat on his homer. He put his head down and ran.
“I don’t have that kind of swag,” he said with a laugh.
Bat flips make some folks, particularly old-schoolers, uncomfortable. Bautista’s famous bat flip against Texas in the playoffs last season led to simmering tensions all winter and eventually a brawl between the two teams two weeks ago.
Mackanin actually seemed a little uncomfortable talking about Herrera’s flip.
“I did not see it,” Mackanin said. “A lot of players believe that they should be able to celebrate. But I didn’t see it. I wish you never brought it up.”
Herrera explained that he always flips his bat, even when he makes outs. This one had a little extra oomph, he said, because, "I didn’t expect to hit it that far.”
And how far did he hit it?
Well, ESPN’s play by play said it traveled 409 feet. MLB’s Statcast said it went 427.
Either way, that’s a long Uber ride.
Herrera was asked what was more impressive, the flip or the homer?
“Both,” he said with a laugh.
Herrera has become a more demonstrative player in his second year in the league. He’s letting his emotions show. On Monday night, frustration over a poor at-bat got the best of him. He did not run out a ball back to the pitcher and was benched.
On Wednesday, his emotion was more triumphant, hence the bat flip. But sometimes that can make an opponent angry. There were no repercussions Wednesday and probably won’t be because the Tigers and Phillies don’t see each other again this season. But down the road?
“I’m not worried,” Mackanin said.
“It was nothing personal,” Herrera said. “It was natural.”
DETROIT — The Phillies have an off day Thursday.
It will come in handy for Maikel Franco.
The third baseman suffered what was termed a sprained right ankle while sliding into second base in the top of the seventh inning Wednesday. He hobbled off the field before the start of the bottom of the inning.
After the game, both Franco and manager Pete Mackanin stressed that the sprain was mild.
Franco received treatment after coming out of the game and he will again on the off day. Mackanin said he would exercise caution in determining Franco’s availability for Friday afternoon, but did not rule out playing Franco.
Franco was adamant. He’s playing.
“It’s a little bit sore, but it’s fine,” he said. “It already feels better. I’ll be ready for Friday. With the day off, I know I’ll be OK.”
If Franco can’t play, Mackanin would insert super-sub Andres Blanco into the lineup. He had two hits, including an RBI double, and scored two runs in Wednesday’s win over the Tigers (see Instant Replay).
Franco had a pair of singles and is 7 for 15 in his last four games.