Marlins get to Hamels again in Phils' loss


Marlins get to Hamels again in Phils' loss

Charlie Manuel likes to say baseball is a funny game.

Saturday at the ballpark offered evidence of that.

Cole Hamels has been the Phillies money-in-the-bank ace this season. He entered Saturdays start against the Miami Marlins at 8-1 with a 2.43 ERA. He had won eight straight decisions and the Phillies were victorious in his previous nine starts.

That run of success ended as the Marlins handed Hamels and the Phillies a 5-4 loss in front of the 230th consecutive sellout crowd at Citizens Bank Park (see Instant Replay).

The loss left Hamels at 0-2 with a 6.00 ERA in two starts against Miami this season.

He is 8-0 with a 2.21 ERA against everyone else.

Funny game.

Theyre a good team, Hamels said afterward. Unfortunately, both games Ive pitched against them Ive made too many mistakes. Theyve gotten on base and gotten the big hits when they need them. Theyre a good team and theyre obviously playing very well.

The Marlins are 22-9 in their last 31 games and are just a game out of first place in the NL East. The Phillies are still in fifth place, but far from buried at 3 out as they try to hang on until Ryan Howard, Chase Utley and Roy Halladay get back.

Those guys, at the end of the day, at the end of the month, and the end of the season, theyre going to be there, Miami manager Ozzie Guillen said. I think theyre that good. Obviously theyre better with those guys Utley and Howard and Doc but theyre not there. Theyre still fighting and putting up a fight every day without those guys. Theyre that good.

Juan Pierre is doing a tremendous job for them. The kid at second base Freddy Galvis is playing good enough. Theyre a good enough club to compete, but obviously they miss those guys.

Guillen then joked that he was in no rush to see the Phillies wounded warriors return.

The Phillies suffered another major injury on Friday night when Jose Contreras went down with two tears in his right elbow (see story). He will miss the remainder of the season. It might not sound like a huge loss, but consider: Contreras is one of the few guys in the bullpen with a wealth of experience and he had racked up six straight scoreless appearances before going down.

With no timetable for Mike Stutes return from the DL, its likely that GM Ruben Amaro Jr. will be looking to bolster his bullpen as mid-season approaches. Until then, the Phils hope Chad Qualls can find some consistency and Antonio Bastardo continues to build toward his 2011 form, while rookie Jake Diekman tries to realize his sky-high potential.

Weve got to have confidence in them and give them a chance and let them show they can do it, manager Charlie Manuel said.

Hamels did not have a good outing it happens but he was far from the sole reason the Phils lost this game. Sure, he couldnt hold a 3-0 lead and was ambushed by a couple of home runs by Hanley Ramirez in the middle innings, but the offense did not have a good day. The Phils bats were 1 for 9 with runners in scoring position, including 0 for 4 in the final two innings when a comeback was within reach.

We could have won the game, Manuel said. It was there for the taking. We just didnt get the big hit at the right time.

The right time for a hit would have been the bottom of the eighth when the Phils had the potential tying run at third, but Carlos Ruiz and Ty Wigginton both struck out against reliever Steve Cishek. Wigginton nearly plated the run before striking out but his shot to left was just foul.

In the ninth, the Phillies got a leadoff single from Placido Polanco and a sacrifice bunt by Galvis. Galvis appeared to reach first safely when he eluded first baseman Logan Morrisons tag, but first base umpire Doug Eddings ruled him out for leaving the base line even though replays showed Galvis was within the base line. Manuel asked Eddings to seek help from the home plate umpire, but Eddings wouldnt oblige.

He said he didnt have to get help and he wasnt going to ask for it, Manuel said. He felt like he made the right call.

Had Galvis been on first as replays showed he should have the Phils would have had runners on first and second with no outs in a one-run game in the ninth. Instead, the game ended with Health Bell getting Brian Schneider and Jimmy Rollins on pop outs.

The Phils won two straight series entering this one and they will try to do it again Sunday with Joe Blanton on the mound. Hes been hit hard in his last three starts 29 hits and 20 runs in 13 23 innings.

Winning series is what its all about, Shane Victorino said. Yeah, youd like to win every game. But when you go 1-1, you try to win the series, especially in the division.

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MLB Notes: Rangers' Rougned Odor's suspension reduced to 7 games


MLB Notes: Rangers' Rougned Odor's suspension reduced to 7 games

ARLINGTON, Texas -- Rangers second baseman Rougned Odor started serving his suspension Friday for punching Toronto's Jose Bautista after the penalty was reduced from eight to seven games.

Odor was out of the lineup for the series opener against Pittsburgh. He will be eligible to return June 4 when Texas is home against Seattle.

Bautista was suspended one game, and he was serving that Friday, when the penalty was upheld a day after his appeal was heard.

The Rangers promoted former top prospect Jurickson Profar from Triple-A Round Rock, and he was in the lineup against the Pirates as the leadoff hitter playing second base. Odor had been leading off.

Odor's penalty was cut by Major League Baseball special assistant John McHale Jr. The appeal over Odor's role in a May 15 brawl between the Rangers and Blue Jays was heard Tuesday. The league disciplined 14 players and staff over the melee in Arlington (see full story).

Red Sox: Struggling RHP Clay Buchholz to bullpen
TORONTO -- Struggling Red Sox pitcher Clay Buchholz is being moved to the bullpen and left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez will take Buchholz's spot in the rotation, starting Tuesday at Baltimore.

Buchholz is 2-5 with a 6.35 ERA in 10 starts and has allowed five earned runs or more six times. He gave up season-highs of six runs and three home runs in Thursday's 8-2 loss to Colorado.

Rodriguez (right knee) is on the 15-day DL has not pitched for the Red Sox this season. He's 0-3 with a 3.54 ERA in five rehab starts at Triple-A Pawtucket. He went 10-6 with a 3.85 ERA as a rookie in 2015.

Buchholz has made two career relief appearances, one in his rookie season in 2007 and another in 2008.

Manager John Farrell said Buchholz will make multi-inning appearances in order to remain stretched out and could return to the rotation later in the season.

Best of MLB: Mets spoil Urias' debut in 6-5 walk-off win


Best of MLB: Mets spoil Urias' debut in 6-5 walk-off win

NEW YORK -- Curtis Granderson homered leading off the bottom of the ninth inning to give the New York Mets a 6-5 victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers on Friday night.

Chase Utley, who was booed all night in his return to Citi Field, hit a tying three-run double off Jeurys Familia with two outs in a four-run ninth inning for the Dodgers.

New York took a 3-0 lead in the first against Julio Urias and chased the 19-year-old after 2 2/3 innings in his major league debut.

But in a non-save situation, Familia (2-0) failed to hold a 5-1 lead.

New York moved back into the NL East lead, by percentage points over Washington, giving Mets manager Terry Collins a happy 67th birthday. New York won for the sixth time in seven games, stopping the Dodgers' four-game winning streak (see full recap).

A-Rod, Tanaka lead Yanks to win over Rays
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Alex Rodriguez homered for the first time since coming off the disabled list, Masahiro Tanaka pitched seven shutout innings and the New York Yankees beat the Tampa Bay Rays 4-1 on Friday night.

Rodriguez returned Thursday after missing three weeks with a strained right hamstring. His sixth homer of the season and 693rd overall off Chris Archer came during a three-run sixth.

Tanaka (3-0) scattered two hits and struck out four to run his career-best unbeaten streak to 11 consecutive starts, dating to last season.

Andrew Miller gave up a single and hit a batter during a scoreless eighth. Kirby Yates allowed Steve Pearce's two-out solo homer in the ninth before Aroldis Chapman got the final out.

Carlos Beltran homered in the eighth for the Yankees.

Archer (3-6) allowed four runs -- one earned -- and four hits in eight innings for the Rays, who have lost six of seven (see full recap).

Donaldson HRs spark Blue Jays' victory
TORONTO -- Josh Donaldson hit two home runs and drove in five runs as the Toronto Blue Jays snapped a five-game home losing streak with a 7-5 win over the Boston Red Sox on Friday night.

The reigning AL MVP was 4 for 5, starting the scoring with a first-inning solo shot, and then providing the winning margin with a two-run drive, his 13th of the year in the eighth.

Justin Smoak added a solo shot in the fifth inning. Joe Biagini (2-1) got four outs and Roberto Osuna pitched the ninth for his 11th save.

Koji Uehara (2-2) worked the eighth inning for the Red Sox, allowing Ezequiel Carrera -- starting for the suspended Jose Bautista -- to reach on a bunt before surrendering the home run to Donaldson.

Boston's Xander Bogaerts was 1 for 4, extending his career-best hitting streak to 20 games, the longest active run in the majors (see full recap).

Cubs use three homers to beat Morgan and Phillies' feeble offense


Cubs use three homers to beat Morgan and Phillies' feeble offense


CHICAGO – The Chicago Cubs were everything they were advertised to be on Friday afternoon/evening.
They pitched.
They hit.
And they looked like what they are – the best team in the majors – as they put a whoopin’ on Adam Morgan and a Phillies club that is slowly cooling after its hot start.
The Cubs rode three home runs to a 6-2 win over the Phils at Wrigley Field (see Instant Replay). It was the Phils’ third loss in four games on this road trip and fifth in the last seven games.

As if the loss wasn't enough, the Phillies' misery was stretched out by a pair of late-game rain delays that totaled 1 hour, 33 minutes.
Scoring runs continues to be a great challenge for the local nine, which entered the day averaging just 3.3 runs per game. The Phils have been held to two or fewer runs 16 times in their 48 games. For the season, they have been outscored by 35 runs.
The Phils are still over .500 at 26-22, but they might not be much longer if they don’t find some offense. They had 10 hits in the game, but only one for extra bases.
"We couldn't string anything together," manager Pete Mackanin lamented afterward.

Mackanin was asked if he was worried the offensive shortcomings were catching up with the team.
“I wouldn’t say I’m worried about it,” he said. “I’ve been conscious of it the whole season. We certainly would like to have more offense, a little bit more power.
“You look at the Cubs, you look at the Tigers, they’ve got power and home-run threats to do damage. We haven’t been able to do that. So, of course, I’m always concerned it might catch up with us, but as long as the pitching does its job we’re going to be in as many games as they allow us to be in.”
Starting pitching is a big reason the Phillies came into Wrigley Field five games over .500. It has kept them in games to the point where a big hit or big defensive play can win it.
But the starting pitching was not there in this game and that’s a problem when you’re facing the Cubs. They are a team has been built to break a 108-year World Series championship drought. They are averaging 5.7 runs per game, best in the National League, and have outscored their opponents by a whopping 123 runs. Their 32 wins are the most in the majors.
The Cubs pounded Morgan for six runs in four innings. He was tagged for eight hits and five were for extra bases, including three homers.
Morgan really struggled in the fourth inning. He gave up a mammoth 461-foot homer to Jorge Soler to lead off the frame. Four batters later, David Ross followed a walk and a single with a three-run home run to left and the Friday afternoon Happy Hour was on at Wrigley – at least until the skies opened in the seventh. Morgan gave up a third home run (to Kris Bryant) in the fifth.
“You try to be consistent and give your team a chance to win,” Morgan said. “When you put them in a hole like that it’s hard.”
Two of the homers Morgan allowed came on 1-2 counts. One was on a slider, the other a fastball. Neither put the hitter away, obviously. Poor location.
“Morgan didn’t have it today,” Mackanin said. “He really didn’t have command of any of his pitches. He struggled to make pitches when he needed to. You can overcome a solo home run, but that home run by Ross was the one that got us out of the game.”
In six starts, Morgan has an ERA of 6.67.
“He’s one good start, one bad start, one good start, one bad start. He's got to be more consistent,” Mackanin said. “At this level you have to be consistent to be successful. He’s capable of doing it. He just has to do it.”
Mackanin was asked whether Morgan’s spot in the rotation was in jeopardy. He did not give a direct answer.
“Nobody is solid in their spots,” the manager said. “Last year, I talked a lot about how you’re auditioning every day. At this level, consistency is the hallmark of a good major-league player. That includes pitchers.”