Phils Shake Off Chicago's Late Rally, Salvage Series Split with 6-4 W

Phils Shake Off Chicago's Late Rally, Salvage Series Split with 6-4 W

For awhile it looked like Chris Volstad would cure what ails the Phillies. A long-time punching bag when he was with the Marlins, the towering righthander did not disappoint early on, as the Phils tagged him for a quick 4-0 lead while batting around in the bottom of the first. That was all they would get off of Volstad though, who settled down and wound up giving the Cubs six innings.

As it turned out, those four runs almost weren't enough, but the Fightins got some timely hitting from one of the old heads.

Vance Worley did his job, allowing one earned over seven frames, but Antonio Bastardo and Chad Qualls gave up three in the eighth to knot the score. The night was beginning to resemble some oh-so-familiar territory in the month of April, during which they dropped several close games in the ninth inning or later, experiencing a devastating combination of ineffective relief pitching and untimely at bats.

That wasn't the case here. The Fightins came right back with two in the eighth, then shut down Chicago in the ninth.

Juan Pierre was plunked on the behind and awarded first base in the bottom half of the eighth. When Jimmy Rollins came up with two outs one batter later, the Cubs proceeded to become very concerned with Pierre attempting to run. After a series throwovers, J-Roll eventually got a chance to swing the bat, and made Chicago pay with a liner into right field. Placido Polanco then followed with undoubtedly his biggest hit of the season.

Polanco drove a Rafael Dolis offering deep to left field past Alfonso Soriano. By the time Soriano corralled the ball and fired it back into the infield, Pierre and Rollins had scored easily, and Polanco was standing on second. It was his third extra-base hit of the season, and accounts for two of his four RBIs in 2012.

Jonathan Papelbon came on to close out the ninth. He surrendered a lead-off walk, but it was smooth sailing from there. Pap sat the next three batters down in order, striking out Tony Campana looking to end the game, securing the 6-4 victory. It is already Papelbon's eighth save of the season.

A win is a win, even against the Cubs, but the big takeaway has to be escaping April just one game below .500 with an 11-12 record. For as awful a start to the season the Phillies have had, they are just 3.5 games back of the Washington Nationals for first place in the NL East, this while playing without two of their biggest stars in Chase Utley and Ryan Howard.

Speaking of the NL East, the Phils begin the first of three consecutive series against division rivals in Atlanta tomorrow, when Cole Hamels goes head-to-head with Brandon Beachy.

Notes:

- The Phillies offense produced a strong all-around game. All eight of their starters produced on some level, most with at least one run or RBI -- the lone exception being Ty Wigginton, who had two hits. Carlos Ruiz and Pete Orr combined to knock three runs home from the seven and eight spots in the order.

- Qualls picked up the win despite giving up the game-tying, two-run homer to Bryan LaHair in the eighth.

- Volstad entered the game with a 2-5 record, and a horrific 5.88 ERA in 12 appearances versus the Phillies.

Temple DE Haason Reddick 'overwhelmed' after Cardinals take him 13th overall

Temple DE Haason Reddick 'overwhelmed' after Cardinals take him 13th overall

Haason Reddick started the next chapter in his success story Thursday night.

The Temple product was taken 13th overall by the Arizona Cardinals in the NFL draft. He becomes the second highest selection ever for a Temple player.

Reddick will call a new coast his home next season, but he has plenty in common with his new head coach Bruce Arians. Arians was Temple's head football coach from 1983-88.

"To play for a fellow Temple guy, that's special," Reddick said through a smile at the podium sporting a red tie to match his Cardinals fitted hat.

But that's not all of the ties Reddick has to Arians.

While Arians was at Temple, he coached running back Paul Palmer, a former Heisman Trophy runner-up who was selected 19th overall in the 1987 NFL draft. 

Palmer is an assistant coach at Haddon Heights High School in Camden, New Jersey where Reddick went to high school. Palmer witnessed the transformation Reddick went through from a cornerback at Haddon Heights to a dominant edge rusher for the Owls. 

"Coach (Palmer) coached me and now (Arians) is going to get a chance to coach me as well," Reddick said. "It's just like a generational thing. It's being passed down, passed down, passed down from Temple alums. That's special right there."

For Reddick, the process of walking across The Philadelphia Art Museum steps and hearing his named called in the city he played college football in was a long one. At one point, Reddick thought he was going to be a "regular college student."

Reddick walked-on to Temple and was told he wasn't being brought back by then-head coach Steve Addazio in 2013. 

But when Addazio left North Broad Street for the head coaching job at Boston College and Matt Rhule became the head coach, Francis Brown, the defensive backs coach, fought for Reddick to stay on the team.

Rhule trusted Brown and brought back Reddick, who helped Temple win its first conference championship since 1967. 

"I never thought what could come out of it until my junior year in college," Reddick said. "And I put in even more work the senior season and continued to grind, continued to work hard. And now that I’m here, I finally got my name called and it's still sinking in, man. It's still sinking in. I'm being overwhelmed by emotions but it's still sinking in."

Prior to getting a scholarship at Temple, his mother took out a loan for him to have a meal plan. His father was also always there to support Reddick when he was uncertain of his football career.

Reddick has often talked about getting his mother a house where the sun shines in the lead up to the draft. Somewhere in Arizona might be a good spot.

"It was beauftiful," Reddick said on getting the phone call from Cardinals general manager Steve Keim. "I'm glad I had the people I had around me. Most of the people there are people that stuck with me throughout this whole journey. And to be able to share that moment with them, I wouldn't want to spend that moment any other way."

NBA Playoffs: Raptors advance past Bucks despite blowing 25-point lead

NBA Playoffs: Raptors advance past Bucks despite blowing 25-point lead

MILWAUKEE -- DeMar DeRozan scored 32 points and the Toronto Raptors squandered a 25-point lead late in the third quarter before holding on for a 92-89 victory Thursday night over the Milwaukee Bucks to take their first-round playoff series in six games.

Cory Joseph had five points in a 9-0 run in the final 2 minutes, including a 3-pointer with 1:27 left, to help stave off the pesky Bucks.

The Raptors move on to face the Cleveland Cavaliers in the Eastern Conference semifinals in a series that starts Monday. They'll need to work on finishing off opponents in the second half.

Jason Terry's 3 with 3:06 left gave the Bucks an 80-78 lead, completing an unlikely comeback from the 25-point deficit with 5:16 left in the third quarter. The Raptors looked as if they were on cruise control after DeMarre Carroll's 3 gave them the 71-46 advantage.

Giannis Antetokounmpo spearheaded the second-half rally for Milwaukee. He had 34 points.

But the Bucks finished one comeback short.

The furious effort appeared to sap the energy of the young Bucks. Even Antetokounmpo, a renowned gym rat, looked tired with his hands on hips as he caught his breath during fourth-quarter breaks. He played 47 minutes.

Antetokounmpo finished 13 of 23 from the field but was 2 of 6 in the fourth.

The Raptors could finally breathe easy after DeRozan went 2 of 2 from the foul line with 3.1 seconds to play for a three-point lead. Tony Snell's inbounds pass on the ensuing possession was intercepted by DeRozan (see full recap).