Perez makes history on the mound in Phils win

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Perez makes history on the mound in Phils win

Juan Perez did two things Friday night he had never done in 14 seasons of professional baseball.

Strike out the side on nine pitches. And win a major-league baseball game.

Perez, a 32-year-old journeyman pitching in just his third game as a Phillie, was the improbable winning pitcher Friday night in the Phillies 10-inning 3-2 win over the Braves in Game 1 of their three-game series at Citizens Bank Park.

Perez fanned Jason Heyward, Nate McLouth and Wilkin Ramirez on nine pitches in the top of the 10th, then became a winning pitcher for the first time when Raul Ibanez ended the game in the bottom of the 10th with his 11th home run of the season, a line shot to right.

Perez became the first major-league pitcher with a nine-pitch, three-strikeout inning in extra innings since Aug. 22, 1923, when Hollis Thurston of the White Sox fanned Beauty McGowan, Chick Galloway and Sammy Hale in the 12th inning of a game against the Philadelphia Athletics at Comiskey Park that Thurston lost in the 13th. He's the first ever to do it in extra innings and win the game.

He's also the first to fan three Braves on nine pitches since Oct. 5, 1914, when Pat Ragan of the Brooklyn Robins struck out Possum Whitted, Butch Schmidt and Red Smith in the eighth inning second game of a double-header, a 9-5 loss to the Braves at Ebbets Field.

That was impressive, said Michael Stutes, who pitched a scoreless eighth. Nine pitches, three strikeouts I dont think Ive ever seen that. It was a big situation to come in and punch out three good hitters like that.

With the win, the Phillies boosted their lead over the Braves in the NL East to 3 games with two more to come before the All-Star break.

First major-league victory, of course Im excited and pumped up, Perez said through translator Juan Samuel. I thought that if I stayed in the game, at some point it was going to happen. Im happy that it happened here.

Perez is now with his sixth major-league organization. He came up with the Red Sox in 1998 and also spent time with the Mets, Pirates, Braves and Dodgers before joining the Phils this past off-season.

Although hes pitched more than 700 minor-league innings, his only previous major-league experience before this year was 24 games with the Pirates in 2006 and 2007. He went 0-1 with a 5.17 ERA with Pittsburgh.

When the Phillies placed Jose Contreras on the disabled list with a right forearm strain on June 23, they recalled Perez from Triple A Lehigh Valley. Hes now pitched 2 13 hitless and scoreless innings in three games with the Phillies.

With Contreras, Ryan Madson and Brad Lidge all on the DL and David Herndon and Danys Baez struggling, Perez should get a chance to continue proving he can pitch at this level.

Manager Charlie Manuel said Perez would have come out and pitched the 11th if the Phillies hadnt won in the 10th.

He was nasty, Ibanez said. He was breaking off some nasty sliders and throwing the ball hard.

Manuel said he was impressed with Perezs stuff in spring training but not his command.

His command wasnt what you would call real good, Manuel said. But hes got good stuff. Good fastball, and his breaking ball is real good. ...

Good effort. Big effort.

Perez has never had great control. He averaged 3.9 walks per nine innings in his minor-league career and walked 11 batters in 18 career innings in the majors. He walked 20 in 30 23 innings at Lehigh Valley this year.

Im trying to focus more on situations in the game, he said. In spring training, I really didnt know what to expect, but now that Im here Im more focused.

Perez became the second Phillie in history to strike out the side on nine pitches and the first since Andy Ashby fanned Hal Morris, Todd Benzinger and Jeff Reed in the fourth inning of the Phillies 3-1 loss to the Reds at the Vet on June 15, 1991.

He's the 43rd pitcher in major-league history to strike out the side on nine pitches.

Strangely, Mike Ondo the Phillies director of pro scouting attended that game in 1991 as a 15-year-old fan, and Ondo is the guy who signed Perez to a minor-league deal this offseason.

Perezs appearance Friday night was his first in exactly two weeks since he pitched to one batter in a win over the Athletics on June 24.

I work hard trying to stay sharp mentally, he said. Im thankful for the opportunity Im getting. Its not a lot, but Im staying ready and studying the game.

E-mail Reuben Frank at rfrank@comcastsportsnet.com

MLB Notes: Mets' manager Terry Collins worried David Wright might be headed for DL

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MLB Notes: Mets' manager Terry Collins worried David Wright might be headed for DL

NEW YORK -- Mets manager Terry Collins is worried David Wright may wind up on the disabled list because of a neck injury.

New York's captain and third baseman was out of the starting lineup for the third straight day Monday because of his neck. He was given anti-inflammatory medicine over the weekend.

Now 33, Wright was on the disabled list from April 15 to Aug. 24 last year when he strained his right hamstring and then developed spinal stenosis. He has a lengthy physical therapy routine he must go through before each game.

Wright homered in three straight games last week before getting hurt. He is batting .226 with seven homers, 14 RBIs and 55 strikeouts in 137 at-bats.

White Sox: Shuck called up with Jackson injured
NEW YORK -- With Austin Jackson bothered by turf toe, the Chicago White Sox recalled outfielder J.B. Shuck from Charlotte and optioned right-hander Tommy Kahnle to the Triple-A farm team.

Jackson left Sunday's game in the eighth inning because of his left foot.

White Sox manager Robin Ventura said before Monday's series opener against the New York Mets that he doesn't think Jackson's injury at this point merits a move to the disabled list. He adds that the team does not "necessarily want to lose him for two weeks right away."

Shuck was batting fifth and playing center field Monday. He was 0 for 9 with the White Sox before he was sent down April 18 when Chicago needed to add a pitcher. He is hitting .299 at Charlotte with two homers and 17 RBIs.

Kahnle is 0-1 with a 2.70 ERA in four games over three stints with Chicago this season.

Phillies-Nationals 5 things: All eyes on Jeremy Hellickson

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Phillies-Nationals 5 things: All eyes on Jeremy Hellickson

Phillies (26-24) vs. Nationals (30-21)
7:05 p.m. on CSN

After a 1-5 road trip that concluded with a sweep at the hands of the MLB-best Chicago Cubs, the Phillies return home to face another strong opponent in the NL East-leading Washington Nationals. Can a return to Citizens Bank Park be an answer to the Phillies' woes?

Here's that and everything else you need to know for the Phils' Memorial Day showdown with the Nationals:

1. Power outage
The Phillies started last week 25-19 but ended it just two games over .500 after getting outslugged by the Tigers and Cubs. In the Cubs' series, the Phils mustered just five runs.

Through 50 games, the Phillies are averaging just 3.2 runs, narrowly ahead of the MLB-worst Atlanta Braves. Manager Pete Mackanin is taking some steps to rectify that, namely reducing Ryan Howard's playing time so the team can get a good look at rookie first baseman Tommy Joseph (see story).

Joseph alone won't be able to get the Phillies on the right track. The Phillies need to start getting more contributions throughout the lineup. Leadoff man Odubel Herrera is batting .320 and Tyler Goedell is hitting .313 in May, but those two have been the only other bright spots in the Phils' lineup recently.

While the Phillies sport a 4-2 record against the Nationals this season, they have just 15 runs in those six games. Luckily for the Phils, the Nationals haven't exactly been playing top notch baseball of late.

2. What have the Nats been up to?
When the Nationals began a three-game set in Washington against the Phillies in late April, they were 14-5 and sat three games up in the NL East. However, since the Phillies swept them, the Nationals have gone just 15-14.

The Nats just finished an up -and-down week by splitting a four-game set with the St. Louis Cardinals and losing two of three to the Mets. Washington tends to rely on Bryce Harper, who is currently mired in a slump.

Harper had just four hits in his 24 at-bats against the Mets and Cardinals. He failed to draw a walk in either series and struck out four times. The 2015 NL MVP is 1 for 3 with two walks this season against Monday's starter, Jeremy Hellickson. 

Former Phillies Jayson Werth and Ben Revere have helped pick up the slack, however. Werth's pinch-hit grand slam Sunday sealed the Nationals' win over the Cards. Revere has five multi-hit games in his last nine starts.  

3. All eyes on Hellickson
Hellickson is the man tasked with taming Nationals' bats that produced 10 runs Sunday. Hellickson's first matchup against the Nats was his worst start of the season, while his second start was his best. 

On April 15 at Citzens Bank Park, Hellickson gave up six runs — five earned — in just three innings, his shortest start of the year. He gave up a home run to the first batter he saw (Michael Taylor) and allowed a three-run double to Werth.

So expectations weren't high on April 27 when the veteran righty faced the Nationals in Washington. However, Hellickson came through for the Phillies on that day. He allowed just two hits in seven scoreless innings and struck out eight. 

Which Hellickson will we see this time? It's tough to tell, but he has produced quality starts in his last three outings, a good sign of things to come.

4. Ready for Roark?
The Nationals have some true aces in their rotation with Max Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg. But Tanner Roark has emerged as another go-to guy in the rotation in the first two months of 2016. 

The 29-year-old pitcher shuffled between the rotation and bullpen last season, finishing with a 4.38 ERA in 40 appearances. However, the righty has returned to form with 10 strong starts, including seven shutout innings against the Phillies on April 28.

After giving up seven runs to the Marlins on May 14, Roark rebounded with quality starts against the Marlins and Mets, giving up just three runs in his last 13⅔ innings in those contests.

Historically, the Phillies have gotten the best of Roark. He has a 2-5 record with a 5.55 ERA in 35⅔ innings, including an 8.27 ERA at Citizens Bank Park.

5. This and that
• Howard is 4 for 12 with one home run and six RBIs in his career against Roark. Herrera has three hits and a walk in seven plate appearances.

• Harper is 3 for 6 with five walks against Hellickson. Werth is 3 for 11 with two doubles and a homer against Hellickson.  

• The Phillies are 2-5 in the first game of a home series this season. The Nationals are 5-3 in the first game of road series. 

Best of MLB: Stephen Strasburg stays unbeaten as Nats pound Cards

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Best of MLB: Stephen Strasburg stays unbeaten as Nats pound Cards

WASHINGTON -- Stephen Strasburg (9-0) won his 12th consecutive decision dating to last season, pitching six innings of one-run ball as Washington salvaged a four-game split.

Strasburg improved to 12-0 in 15 starts since losing to the Mets on Sept. 9, and the Nationals have won all 15 of those games. The 12 consecutive winning decisions is a franchise record for a starter, breaking a mark shared by Livan Hernandez (2005) and Dennis Martinez (1989).

Jayson Werth connected for a pinch-hit grand slam. Wilson Ramos had three hits, including a two-run homer, and drove in four runs. Bryce Harper hit an RBI single during a three-run fourth off Michael Wacha (2-6), who lost his sixth straight decision (see full recap).

Dodgers score twice in 9th to top Mets
NEW YORK -- Adrian Gonzalez snapped a ninth-inning tie with a two-run single off suddenly struggling closer Jeurys Familia, and Los Angeles beat New York.

Curtis Granderson hit a tying triple for the Mets immediately after Clayton Kershaw was lifted with two outs in the eighth. But the Dodgers quickly regrouped for their sixth victory in seven games since losing four straight.

Kershaw struck out 10, walked none and capped a magnificent May with another sublime performance.

Adam Liberatore (1-0) got the win. Kenley Jansen pitched a perfect ninth for his 15th save.

Familia (2-1) allowed two runs on two hits and two walks (see full recap).

Castro's homer Yanks' only hit in victory
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Starlin Castro's two-run, seventh-inning homer off Jake Odorizzi was the Yankees' only hit of the game, enough to give New York a 2-1 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays on Sunday.

According to Baseball Reference data going back to 1913, the Yankees' only other one-hit win was when Charlie Mullen had an RBI single to beat Cleveland in six innings in a doubleheader nightcap on July 10, 1914.

Nathan Eovaldi (6-2) gave up one run and six hits in six innings to win his career-best fifth consecutive start and beat Odorizzi (2-3).

Dellin Betances, Andrew Miller and Aroldis Chapman each pitched a perfect inning and combined for seven strikeouts. Chapman got his seventh save (see full recap).

Deitrich hurt on odd play in Marlins' win over Braves
ATLANTA -- Derek Dietrich hit a tiebreaking, two-run homer and drove in four runs before getting hurt on a foul ball hit into Miami's dugout.

Dietrich's homer landed deep in the lower section of the right-field seats in the sixth, giving Miami a 3-1 lead. A former Georgia Tech star, Dietrich added a two-run double off Eric O'Flaherty in the seventh inning, then was hit by a foul ball off the bat of Christian Yelich in the ninth.

The team said X-rays were negative and Dietrich was to remain in Atlanta on Sunday night for further evaluations.

Tom Koehler (3-5) allowed three runs -- two earned -- three hits and five walks in seven-plus innings. Julio Teheran (1-5) gave up three runs, five hits and three walks in 5 1/3 innings (see full recap).

Correa's home run lifts Astros over Angels in 13
ANAHEIM, Calif.  -- Pinch-hitter Carlos Correa had a three-run homer off Mike Morin (1-1) in the 13th inning.

Correa got a run-scoring hit in the 13th inning for the second time in six games, following up his game-ending single against Baltimore on Tuesday.

Albert Pujols had three hits for the Angels, who blew an eighth-inning lead and stranded 14 runners while losing for the fourth time in five games.

Michael Feliz (3-1) pitched the 12th for Houston (see full recap).