Polanco Goes Deep for 2,000th Hit in Phillies Win

Polanco Goes Deep for 2,000th Hit in Phillies Win

It wasn't a walk off or even the game winner, but Placido Polanco's 2000th career hit was a memorable one. In the bottom of the eighth on a soggy evening at Citizens Bank Park, Polly deposited the 1-0 offering from David Carpenter into the flowerbeds in left center. A two-run blast that otherwise amounted to little more than insurance for the Phillies in their 5-1 victory over the Astros went into the books a milestone.

Polanco became the 17th active player to reach 2,000 hits, one part of an all-around productive night for the All-Star third baseman. He also drew a walk after fouling three pitches off his foot during a gritty at bat in the second inning, and twice reached on a fielder's choice, scoring both times. The home run was his first since September 10, 2011.

Spread over two stints, Polanco has spent parts of seven seasons with Philadelphia during his 15-year big league career. He's amassed 732 hits while wearing red pinstripes -- 36.6% of his 2,000 -- and is 75 hits away from surpassing his total in a Detroit Tigers uniform.

[watch video of Placido Polanco's 2,000th hit here]

The bottom half of the Phillies order delivered along with Polly on Monday night. Batting out of the five spot for only the third time in his career, Carlos Ruiz was 2-for-3 with a run and an RBI. Chooch kept the inning alive for Polanco in the eighth with his two-out single, otherwise he might be stuck on 1,999. John Mayberry added two hits, and Freddy Galvis had three, including a pair of RBI singles.

Yet perhaps the real story of the game was Joe Blanton, who battled the elements to pick up his fourth win of 2012. Heavy B pitched seven scoreless innings, and went out to start the eighth, but was quickly pulled after surrendering a lead-off bomb to pinch hitter Marwin Gonzalez. Still a strong outing for Blanton, who allowed six hits and walked one while striking out seven. Antonio Bastardo, Chad Qualls, and Jonathan Papelbon closed out the eighth and ninth.

Blanton is now 4-3 on the season with a 2.96 ERA. He's unbeaten in his last four appearances, three of those victories, lowering his ERA from 4.34 in the process.

It's still raining, and the forecast calls for more on Tuesday, so it's possible the 1 p.m. start will either be delayed or postponed. The hope here is it won't break up this club's rhythm -- the Phillies have taken two straight for the first time since April 30-May 1. Whenever they take the diamond next, it'll be with a chance at their first three-game winning streak of the season.

Pete Mackanin on Odubel Herrera's slump: 'He needs to battle his way out'

Pete Mackanin on Odubel Herrera's slump: 'He needs to battle his way out'

After an 0-for-5 day at the plate, Odubel Herrera isn't heading to the bench a day later.

He's leading off. 

Pete Mackanin chose to move the slumping centerfielder atop the lineup card for Friday's series opener against the Reds despite Herrera's striking out in all five plate appearances Thursday.

"I think he's a .290-plus hitter as a leadoff man and I'm not going to sit him," Mackanin said pregame. "He needs to battle his way out. You figure you're the leadoff hitter once a game. After that, it's wide open."

While he hasn't batted leadoff this season, Herrera spent the majority of his time in that spot last season. In 76 games there, he batted .285 with a .359 OBP and .417 slugging percentage. 

The leadoff hitter this season has been Cesar Hernandez, who has a day off with a groin pull he's dealt with the last 10 days. Herrera primarily has been the No. 3 hitter this season and his average is down to .226 with 49 strikeouts to just 11 walks. 

Mackanin hopes the leadoff role can help change Herrera's approach at the plate.

"He was drawing a lot of walks at leadoff, so whether he has that mindset or not, I'm not sure," the manager said. "I just want to get him as many at-bats as possible. We need to get him going. We need him and [Maikel] Franco to get going."

May specifically has been tough on Herrera. He has four hits in his last 36 at-bats and has seven strikeouts in his last two games. He has just seven hits in 22 games this month. 

"I think he's at the point where he's grinding and sometimes when you grind, sometimes there's that feeling where you get lost," Mackanin said. "I've been in situations as a hitter where I've gone up to the plate saying, 'I don't care where it is. I'm going up there and just hacking.' Because you start thinking and that's not working.

"And you look for a pitch and then all of a sudden you say I'm going to take a pitch to get a look at and it's strike one. Then he throws you a nasty slider and that's strike two and your plan is out the window. So I've gone up to the plate myself saying, 'I'm just looking down the middle and swinging. I'm not thinking.'"

When asked, Mackanin said the team had not discussed demoting Herrera or Franco to the minors to take pressure off the duo.

While Herrera tries to hit his way back into a groove, Howie Kendrick is in the midst of working his way back to the majors. He was hit by pitch twice in a rehab appearance Thursday but is back in the lineup Friday in left field. 

Mackanin said Kendrick needed four days minimum in his rehab assignment and will therefore play Friday and Saturday before the team sees how he feels.

The manager also said the team would give more playing time to backup catcher Andrew Knapp. He started consecutive games for the first time on Tuesday and Wednesday. 

"I'm going to try and see him as much as possible and keep him as sharp as possible instead of once a week," Mackanin said. "That's tough to hit, once a week. It's tough to hit twice a week if you don't hit back-to-back. There's no ulterior motive."

Report: Brett Brown accuses longtime friend of defrauding him of $750,000

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Report: Brett Brown accuses longtime friend of defrauding him of $750,000

Sixers head coach Brett Brown is in Australia this week, where he has accused longtime friend and former Australian men's national team assistant coach Shane Heal of defrauding him of $750,000, according to the Australian Associated Press.

Brown invested $250,000 into each of three companies for which Heal was the sole director. Brown wasn't given a legal title regarding the companies and didn't know the specifics of how the money would be used.

"I assumed that the money was going to be used for what Shane told me it was going to be used for," Brown said. "Because it was a friend that I had for 25 years."

Heal was charged last year by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission following an investigation relating to alleged misconduct in 2008, 2009 and 2010, according to the AAP.

The sides return to court in Brisbane on July 20.

Heal played in the NBA for the Minnesota Timberwolves in 1996-97 and was with the San Antonio Spurs in 2003.