Phils finally win, but Hamels not happy with himself

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Phils finally win, but Hamels not happy with himself

BOX SCORE

MINNEAPOLIS The mood was light in the clubhouse after the Phillies beat the Minnesota Twins, 9-8, Wednesday night. When you win for just the third time in 12 games, well, you need to laugh a little bit, even if moments earlier you were hanging on for dear life, trying not to completely blow a big lead.

In one corner of the clubhouse, however, the mood was not so cheery. Cole Hamels paid his respects to his teammates for their efforts in the much-needed win, but he found it difficult to embrace the postgame happiness because he was not pleased with the way he pitched.

I wont enjoy the moment, Hamels said. Maybe thats being selfish, but its hard to. When youre still in last place and you dont put good starts together, quite a few in a row, theyre not good moments.

Hamels shouldnt have been pleased with the way he pitched. He was presented with a 6-0 lead in the first inning and never fully shut the door on the Twins, who chipped away and chipped away until they made it a one-run game in the seventh inning (see Instant Replay). Antonio Bastardo got out of that inning with the lead and Chad Qualls and Jonathan Papelbon combined on the final six outs to seal the win. Papelbon got four outs for his 17th save.

The game featured a 466-foot home run by Jim Thome, who had another big night as the designated hitter. He drove in four runs and has 10 RBIs in his last five games, all as DH.

If Thome has been this weeks feel-good story for a struggling team that could really use one, then Hamels has been the story that causes you to scratch your head. His ERA in his last four starts is 6.08 as he has allowed 18 earned runs in 26 23 innings.

The past four starts have been pretty poor, Hamels said. And its not the right time to have poor starts. When the team is not doing well, you cant afford that.

Hamels health is fine. He said his mechanics are fine. Hes just in a rut.

Im not concerned, he said. But Im definitely frustrated. Im making one good pitch out of five. Thats not good.

I have an inning where things work really well and Im hitting my spots, then Ill have an inning where I cant hit a spot to save my life. Sometimes you can get away with it unscathed. Unfortunately Im not.

Im not getting the lead guy out. Im not putting guys away and minimizing the big inning.

Hamels entered the bottom of the seventh inning with a 9-4 lead and the Nos. 8, 9 and 1 hitters coming up. In order, he allowed a double, a walk and a double and was out of the game as the Twins were on their way to making it a one-run game. Hamels ended up getting his ninth win because the offense did enough scoring like Thome, John Mayberry Jr. also had four RBIs and then Qualls and Papelbon delivered.

Papelbon, getting his first work since Friday, would have enjoyed some breathing room in the bottom of the ninth had the Phils been able to score a run after loading the bases with no outs in the top of the inning. They got nothing.

Its never easy, manager Charlie Manuel said. We had a lot of chances to put the game away and it just kind of looked like we I dont know we just kind of tightened up.

Manuels use or lack of use of Papelbon has been a bone of contention with some critics.

After the game, Manuel clarified how he will use Papelbon on the road. He said that barring an unusual circumstance, it would only come when the Phils were leading and it would not be for two full innings.

If he goes two innings, he can throw 35 to 40 pitches, Manuel said. If he does that we lose him for two, probably three days. On the road, if youre winning, you can use your closer for more than three outs. You dont use youre closer in a tie game on the road. I havent seen many teams do that unless youre late in the season and youre going to use him two innings. If we had Ryan Madson and Jose Contreras and Papelbon we might be able to do that because wed have guys that can close the game for us.

For us to be able to use him was big. We havent had the lead late on this trip.

E-mail Jim Salisbury at jsalisbury@comcastsportsnet.com

MLB Notes: Sore left foot sidelines Red Sox's David Ortiz against Blue Jays

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MLB Notes: Sore left foot sidelines Red Sox's David Ortiz against Blue Jays

TORONTO -- Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz has been scratched from the lineup for Sunday's series finale against the Blue Jays with a sore left foot.

He is day to day.

Ortiz, who leads the major leagues with 46 RBIs, 23 doubles, and 121 total bases, was hit on the foot by a pitch in the fifth inning of Saturday's 10-9 loss. Ortiz struck out on the play.

Hanley Ramirez moved from first base to DH, Travis Shaw moved from third to first and Josh Rutledge replaced Shaw at third.

Ortiz is batting .339 with 13 home runs. He has announced his intention to retire at the end of the season.

Yankees: Beltran misses Rays game with shoulder tightness
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- New York Yankees right fielder Carlos Beltran is out of the starting lineup Sunday against the Tampa Bay Rays because of right shoulder tightness but says he is available off the bench.

Beltran was hurt Saturday on a checked swing.

He said Sunday: "A little sore, but I'm good. I saw the doctor yesterday and he said that it should go away in a couple days, so I'm not worried."

Yankees first baseman Mark Teixeira didn't start for the fifth consecutive game because of neck stiffness but said he "felt pretty good" after resuming batting practice and taking grounders.

Teixeira had a cortisone shot Thursday. He said that made a "night and day difference."

Yankees manager Joe Girardi is hopeful that Teixeira can start Monday night's game at Toronto.

Royals: C Salvador Perez out 7-10 days
KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Kansas City Royals catcher Salvador Perez is expected to be out 7 to 10 days with a bruised left thigh after colliding with rookie third baseman Cheslor Cuthbert while catching a foul pop up in the ninth inning Saturday.

Perez had a MRI on Saturday night, which confirmed the injury was a contusion with no structural damage.

"Hopefully it's not going to require a trip to the DL," Royals manager Ned Yost said Sunday. "We're hoping he'll be back in 7 to 10 days. It could be earlier or later. We'll just have to wait and see and just manage it day to day.

"Great news, you don't want to have to put him on the DL and he's ready to play in eight days and has to sit there for another week."

The Royals recalled catcher Tony Cruz from Triple-A Omaha, where he was hitting .278 with three home runs and 20 RBIs in 31 games. Cruz has a .220 average in 229 games with St. Louis the past five years (see full story).

©2016 by STATS LLC and Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and Associated Press is strictly prohibited.

Today's Lineup: Tommy Joseph, Andres Blanco in to help avoid sweep vs. Cubs

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Today's Lineup: Tommy Joseph, Andres Blanco in to help avoid sweep vs. Cubs

Seeking to avoid being swept for the first time since their opening series in Cincinnati, the Phillies on Sunday afternoon will ask Tommy Joseph to provide a much needed spark.

Joseph, 24, sat out Saturday's 4-1 loss to the MLB-best Cubs with Chicago trotting out right-handed pitcher Kyle Hendricks, who crafted a five-hit, one-run complete game masterpiece.

It will be Joseph's fifth game against a righty this week, as manager Pete Mackanin's platoon at first base with Ryan Howard seemingly is coming to an end. Joseph will bat fifth.

With the Phillies averaging 3.22 runs per game, second-worst in baseball, and owning a run differential of minus-38, playing Joseph more is one of a few moves Mackanin can make.

Take into account Howard's average dipped to .154 after an 0 for 4, two-strikeout game Saturday, the decision to give Joseph more at-bats makes sense. It has for a while now.

Plus, Joseph has enjoyed success during his time up with the Phillies. The first baseman is hitting .290 with two home runs and four RBIs. He is, however, hitting just .211 with seven of his 10 strikeouts in 19 at-bats against righties. He'll face a good one in John Lackey (4-2, 3.32) on Sunday.

Mackanin has also decided to start Andres Blanco at second base against Chicago, which has proved to be too much for the Phils through the first two games. Blanco, 32, will bat third against Lackey, who he has never faced in his career. The utility man is hitting .281 with one long ball and eight RBIs in 35 games this season.

In other lineup news, the Cubs will start Villanova product Matt Szczur in left field in the series finale, giving Jorge Soler the day off. During his junior baseball season at 'Nova in 2010, Szczur took time off to donate bone marrow that helped saved a young girl in Ukraine. (Read more on Szczur here from CSNPhilly.com's Jim Salisbury.) Szczur is hitting .375 with two homers and 12 RBIs in 40 at-bats this season with Chicago.

Here are today's full lineups:

Phillies
1. Odubel Herrera, CF
2. Freddy Galvis, SS
3. Andres Blanco, 2B
4. Maikel Franco, 3B
5. Tommy Joseph, 1B
6. Cameron Rupp, C
7. Tyler Goeddel, LF
8. Vince Velasquez, P
9. Peter Bourjos, RF

Cubs
1. Dexter Fowler, CF
2. Jayson Heyward, RF
3. Kris Bryant, 3B
4. Anthony Rizzo, 1B
5. Ben Zobrist, 2B
6. Miguel Montero, C
7. Addison Russell, SS
8. Matt Szczur, LF
9. John Lackey, P

For more on today's game, read Steven Tyding's game notes.

Phillies-Cubs 5 things: Getting Vince Velasquez back on track

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Phillies-Cubs 5 things: Getting Vince Velasquez back on track

Phillies (26-23) at Cubs (33-14)
2:20 p.m. on CSN

The Phillies have lost back-to-back games to the MLB-best Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field and on Sunday afternoon, they'll look to salvage a victory in the series finale.

Here are five things to get you ready for the ballgame:

1. Avoiding a sweep
Phillies fans had losing shoved down their throats for long stretches last season. This season has been much different … at least until the last three series.

With Saturday's loss, the Phils have lost three consecutive series for the first time in 2016 and will look to avoid their first sweep since their opening series in Cincinnati. The 4-1 victory by the Cubs was the Phillies' fourth loss in five games. They haven't lost five of six since September 2015. 

Meanwhile, the Cubs have won four straight games after losing eight of 12 games in mid-May. A win Sunday would give Chicago its fourth win streak of at least four games already in 2016. 

If that doesn't underline how tough a task the Phillies have ahead of them, Sunday's starter will do the trick.

2. Solving Lackey
John Lackey doesn't have the pizzazz of a Jake Arrieta or Jon Lester, but the veteran righty has been a consistent force in the Cubs' rotation. Coming over from the rival Cardinals in free agency, Lackey has a 4-2 record with a 3.38 ERA in nine starts in 2016.

However, the underlying numbers have been even better. He's completed six innings in all but one start and has seven quality starts. He has 61 strikeouts compared to just 13 walks and 45 hits in 61⅓ innings. 

Lackey has been a workhorse for the Cubs and has struck out at least five batters in each of his last four starts. 

The good news for Phillies fans? Despite Lackey's solid numbers, the Cubs have lost four of his nine starts.

3. Getting back on track
Given that he's just 23 years old, it's tough to expect Vince Velasquez to be an ace all season, even if he may fill that role at some point in the not-so-distant future. 

So Velasquez's relatively minor struggles over his last few starts shouldn't worry fans as a sign of things to come. In Detroit, the flamethrowing righty completed only four innings and allowed three home runs. While he struck out 10 and gave up no runs the start before against Miami, he went only five innings.

Those two starts came after consecutive outings in which Velasquez surrendered four runs in six innings. His last official quality start came May 1 against the Indians, when he threw six shutout innings.

While he's faced some strong lineups like the Mets and Nationals, the Cubs are a force Velasquez hasn't dealt with quite yet. He has no career numbers against the Cubs' probable starters, a group that has combined to be one of baseball's top offenses in 2016.

4. Who's on first?
Ryan Howard's final season in Philadelphia has been a grind to say the least. The veteran first baseman has just six hits in 58 at-bats in May and has just a .154 batting average this year. Howard's eight home runs have been a bright spot, but he doesn't have a homer since May 11.

Howard has three hits (two home runs) in 16 career at-bats against Lackey. But with right-handed first baseman Tommy Joseph excelling in his first big-league action, manager Pete Mackanin may turn to the rookie Sunday, as Howard tries to end his slump.

5. This and that
• Obubel Herrera is 3 for 4 in his only career appearances against Lackey. Maikel Franco is 2 for 3 against the righty.

• The Phillies are 3-0 in the final game of road trips this year … and 3-0 in the final game of homestands, too. 

• The Cubs have not swept the Phillies in Chicago since 1995.