Victorino's big game guides Phillies over Mariners

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Victorino's big game guides Phillies over Mariners

Sunday, June 19, 2011
Posted: 1:20 a.m. Updated: 2:58 a.m.

By Jim Salisbury
CSNPhilly.com

BOX SCORE

SEATTLE As Jimmy Rollins made his way to the plate in the top of the seventh inning with runners on second and third in a tie game Saturday night, Seattle Mariners pitching coach Carl Willis went to the mound to chat with his pitcher, Felix Hernandez.

Shane Victorino took it all in from the on-deck circle.

Mentally, I just thought to myself they might pitch around Jimmy and take their chances on me because Im a little more aggressive, Victorino said. I told myself to get a good pitch and make it happen.

Victorinos intuition was right. Rollins worked a full count before drawing a walk. Victorino came to the plate looking for a good pitch, looking to make it happen against Hernandez, the 2010 American League Cy Young winner.

Victorino succeeded. He swatted a curveball down the leftfield line to score two runs and break a 1-1 tie. Two innings later, Victorino added some cushion to the lead with a two-run home run as the Phillies beat the Mariners, 5-1, at Safeco Field.

Any time you beat anyone, its good, Victorino said. But to beat a guy like that is great. You have to give our guys credit for battling.

The win improved the Phillies to 45-27 and improved their lead over second-place Atlanta to six games in the National League East. That six-game advantage is the largest by a division leader in the majors. No other division leader has more than a 1 game lead. Last year, it took the Phils until Sept. 22 to build a six-game lead in the division.

The Phils have won 11 of their last 14 games and the man who has been their best pitcher in recent weeks, Cole Hamels, gets the ball Sunday.

Manager Charlie Manuel was happy with the at-bats that Ross Gload (single), Domonic Brown (double), Rollins and Victorino had in the seventh inning. Victorino stayed right on a 1-1 curveball from Hernandez and drove it the other way. Victorino had a double, triple and homer in the game.

He had some spunk tonight, didnt he? Manuel said.

Victorino has been playing with plenty of spunk lately. Hes 18 for his last 38 (.474) with four doubles, a triple, two homers and eight RBIs in his last nine games.

Victorinos big hit helped rookie righthander Mike Stutes earn his first major-league win. Stutes relieved starter Vance Worley in the sixth and got five outs. Lefty Antonio Bastardo got four outs, including a huge strikeout of Adam Kennedy with two men on base to end the seventh.

Bastardo has an ERA of 1.00 in 30 appearances. He has given up just 11 hits and three runs in 27 innings while striking out 32 and walking 12. The 25-year-old Dominican has been a huge contributor.

Hes been good and hes been good all year, Manuel said. He learned a lot the last two years.

Worley was back on the mound in the majors for the first time since May 29 when he was rocked by the Mets. He was sent to the minors for three starts after that and summoned back to the Phillies after Wednesdays doubleheader. Worley ran a high pitch count and lasted only five innings, but he allowed just one run and Manuel said he liked what he saw.

He threw better, Manuel said. His velocity got better as the game went on. He was a little wild at times, but he kept us in the game.

Worley even picked up a souvenir a black and blue welt on his right thigh compliments of an Ichiro Suzuki line drive. Worley laughed off the bruise and said hed fine for his next start. The question is: Where will that come? Will he be on the mound Friday in Philadelphia or will Kyle Kendrick get the start?

I havent even thought about that, Manuel said. I start thinking about it when I get back to the motel room.

Hold on here. The manager of the best team in the majors stays in a motel? Does he park his car outside the door? Does Tom Bodett leave the light on?

As Worley headed back to the team hotel, he probably wondered whether hed start again in five days. He wasnt about to make any predictions, though.

I just do as Im told, he said.
E-mail Jim Salisbury at jsalisbury@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow him on Twitter @JSalisburyCSN.

Related: NL East Wrap: Braves fall in 10; Mets top Angels

Tonight's Lineup: Ryan Howard (surprisingly) starts at 1B

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Tonight's Lineup: Ryan Howard (surprisingly) starts at 1B

So much for trimming Ryan Howard's playing time.

One day after Phillies manager Pete Mackanin said he plans on giving 24-year-old Tommy Joseph more starts against right-handed pitchers, Mackanin flipped the switch Monday.

Howard is penciled in as the starting first baseman for the Phils' series-opener against the Nationals on Monday night at Citizens Bank Park against Tanner Roark (3-4, 2.71).

After the Phillies were clobbered by the MLB-best Chicago Cubs on Sunday — and the weekend, really — Mackanin said the Phils have to get a longer look at Joseph.

"We brought up Joseph up here for a reason, to get a look at him," the manager said after the Phillies' 7-2 on Sunday afternoon (see story). "I can't let him stagnate on the bench like (Darin) Ruf ended up doing, so he's going to face some right-handed pitchers to keep his timing."

Joseph will have to wait another day to get in the lineup. To be fair, Joseph did face five righties last week, but three of those came with the designated hitter in play.

For Howard, however, the club icon is in a major rut that has had many outsiders calling for him to retire or for the team to release him. He's hitting .154 with eight home runs and 18 RBIs in 136 at-bats and is 6 for 62 (.097) with 25 strikeouts in May.

Here's the silver lining, however. Howard is a career .333 hitter in 12 at-bats against Roark, who he's taken deep once and has six RBIs against.

The Phillies turn to Jeremy Hellickson (4-3, 3.97) to snap their three-game skid. He's faced the Nationals twice this season, allowing six — five earned — runs over 10⅓ innings.

Here is the Phillies' full lineup:

Phillies
1. Odubel Herrera, CF
2. Freddy Galvis, SS
3. Maikel Franco, 3B
4. Ryan Howard, 1B
5. Carlos Ruiz, C
6. Cesar Hernandez, 2B
7. Tyler Goeddel, LF
8. Jeremy Hellickson, P
9. Peter Bourjos, RF

For more on tonight's game, check out Steven Tyding's game notes.

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.