Instant Replay: Diamondbacks 5, Phillies 4

Instant Replay: Diamondbacks 5, Phillies 4

BOX SCORE

The Phillies almost sent their Father's Day crowd home happy. Almost.

Hector Neris blew a one-run lead in the ninth inning, and Jeanmar Gomez allowed a solo homer to Rey Fuentes in the 10th as the Phillies lost, 5-4, to the Diamondbacks.

It was Fuentes' first career home run.

The Phils were swept this weekend for the eighth time in 2017 and the fourth time in their last seven series.

They had taken a 4-3 lead in the sixth inning on Ty Kelly's pinch-hit RBI double but couldn't hold on as they dropped yet another one-run game. 

The Phillies have played four more one-run games than any team in the majors and are 10-17 in them.

They're 22-46. No National League team since the 2013 Marlins has had a worse start through 68 games.

Starting pitching report
Four starts, four quality starts for Ben Lively, who allowed three runs in six innings.

It looked like Lively was in store for a short afternoon when Paul Goldschmidt and Brandon Drury took him deep in the first inning, but he held the D-backs to 4 for 20 thereafter.

Lively struck out six after whiffing just five total in his first three starts. Those swings-and-misses Sunday were the difference in his staying in the game and getting out of jams.

He was also aided by great plays from Freddy Galvis (running, over the shoulder grab in shallow left field) and Maikel Franco (barehanded pickup and rocket to first).

Lively is 1-1 with a 3.33 ERA.

The Phillies made D-backs left-hander Robbie Ray work hard all afternoon, placing at least one man on base in every inning. Ray, who entered 7-3 with a 2.62 ERA, allowed four runs and 12 baserunners in 5⅓ innings with seven strikeouts.

Ray had allowed just one run in 37 innings in his prior five starts.

Bullpen report
Neris blew his second save in eight attempts. He walked light-hitting Nick Ahmed to start the ninth then allowed back-to-back singles before retiring three in a row.

The ever-reliable Pat Neshek pitched a scoreless seventh inning but needed 28 pitches because the D-backs fouled off 10 in the inning.

Neshek has allowed two runs in 27 innings this season for a 0.67 ERA. No pitcher in the majors within even 4⅓ innings of Neshek has done that. Dellin Betances is closest with two runs in 21⅔ innings.

At the plate
The Phils had a chance to walk it off in the ninth but Tommy Joseph struck out with runners on first and second, then Maikel Franco popped out after a 10-pitch battle with hard-throwing Archie Bradley.

The Phillies scored in each of the first three innings to answer the Diamondbacks' three-spot in the first.

Aaron Altherr hit a no-doubt home run in the first off Ray, his seventh this season against a left-handed pitcher. That ties Nolan Arenado, Joey Votto and George Springer for the MLB lead.

Franco added an opposite-field, line-drive homer in the second. It broke his stretch of 57 plate appearances without a home run. 

Kelly has just four RBIs on the season but his run-scoring double was his third go-ahead RBI in the sixth inning or later.

For Arizona, Paul Goldschmidt hit his 16th home run of the season, a towering shot into the left-field seats off Lively. Chris Owings hit his eighth homer of the year two batters later.

On the bases
Juan Samuel aggressively sent Galvis on Kelly's go-ahead double in the sixth and Galvis was narrowly thrown out at home. Galvis was originally called safe when it appeared he eluded catcher Chris Herrmann's tag but he was ruled out after an Arizona challenge.

The Phillies counter-challenged that Herrmann violated the collision rule by not giving Galvis a lane to slide but had no such luck on a reversal.

Fatherly love
Vince Velasquez's dad, Leonard, threw out the first pitch, a strike to his son on the inside corner. In a scene that was serious for Leonard Velasquez but funny to everyone else, he spent a good five minutes warming up with his son before taking the mound.

Up next
The Phillies are off Monday before beginning a three-game series at home against the Cardinals, who swept them last week in St. Louis.

The Phils are finished with the Cards after this series.

Tuesday night at 7:05: Jeremy Hellickson (5-5, 4.91) vs. Mike Leake (5-6, 3.14)

Wednesday night at 7:05: Nick Pivetta (1-3, 4.46) vs. Michael Wacha (3-3, 4.78)

Thursday afternoon at 1:05: Aaron Nola (3-5, 4.76) vs. Carlos Martinez (6-5, 2.86)

Today's Lineup: Howie Kendrick goes for 1,500th hit vs. Robbie Ray, D-backs

Today's Lineup: Howie Kendrick goes for 1,500th hit vs. Robbie Ray, D-backs

Updated 12:37 p.m.

A day after battering nine hits, the Phillies will trot out mostly the same lineup Sunday, looking to avoid a sweep vs. the Diamondbacks.

Despite the nine hits, the Phils managed to score just one run in a 5-1 loss Saturday as the Phillies again struggled to bring runners home. The Phils rank 25th in MLB with runners in scoring position (.237 batting average) and were 0 for 5 yesterday.

But there were some bright spots in the lineup.

Michael Saunders, who has massively disappointed this season, smoked two line drives to top off a 2-for-4 day. Saunders was scheduled to bat sixth and play right field Sunday, but is a late scratch as Daniel Nava will take his place in the lineup.

Cameron Rupp will also replace Andrew Knapp behind the plate in the revised lineup.

And Howie Kendrick continued to swing confidently since his switch to second base, hitting .275 in his last 10 games with four RBIs, four walks and four stolen bases. 

Kendrick is sitting on 1,499 career hits and with a base-knock today will become the 29th active player with 1,500 hits.

But the lineup will have a tough task today, facing 25-year-old Robbie Ray, who is quickly developing ace-stuff for the D-backs. 

Ray is 7-3 on the season with a 2.62 ERA. Ray overpowers hitters with a fastball that tops out at 95 and a slider that induces just as many whiffs low and away. Ray is tied for fourth in the all of baseball with 107 strikeouts. That's more than Clayton Kershaw, Zach Greinke and Stephen Strasburg. Good luck Phils.

Speaking of aces, Ben Lively has been the Phillies' best pitcher in his three career starts. The 25-year-old has posted a 3.00 ERA and has excelled at getting out of jams. With 21 hits allowed in 21 big-league innings, and more walks (7) than strikeouts (5), Lively is getting by keeping the ball in the park (just one home run allowed) and attacking hitters with his fastball (66.8 percent strike rate).

Here is today's lineup:
1. Odubel Herrera, CF
2. Howie Kendrick, 2B
3. Aaron Altherr, RF
4. Tommy Joseph, 1B
5. Maikel Franco, 3B
6. Daniel Nava, LF
7. Cameron Rupp, C
8. Freddy Galvis, SS
9. Ben Lively 

And here is the Dbacks lineup: 

1. Gregor Blanco, CF
2. Chris Herrmann, C
3. Paul Goldschmidt, 1B
4. Jake Lamb, 3B
5. Chris Owings, RF
6. Brandon Drury, 2B
7. Jeremy Hazelbaker, LF
8. Nick Ahmed, SS
9. Robbie Ray, P

Phillies suffer another extra-inning loss to Red Sox as skid reaches 7

Phillies suffer another extra-inning loss to Red Sox as skid reaches 7

BOX SCORE

BOSTON — It was almost midnight and Phillies players and coaches walked around the cramped clubhouse at Fenway Park looking as if they were in a catatonic state. They had long ago become numb to all the losing, but these two nights left them absolutely drained.

"Very much so," confirmed manager Pete Mackanin.

Two nights in Boston produced two more losses for baseball's worst team, two extra-inning losses that ended with the Boston Red Sox dancing on the field while the Phillies trudged off with their heads down.

On Monday night, Dustin Pedroia, one of the Red Sox's old-guard players, beat the Phillies with a walk-off single in the 11th.

On Tuesday night, Andrew Benintendi, one of Boston's brilliant young stars, beat the Phils with a walk-off bullet to right field in the 12th against Luis Garcia. Benintendi's hit gave the Red Sox a 4-3 win and the Phillies their seventh straight loss (see Instant Replay). The Phils are 21-42 overall.

The four-game, home-and-home series continues Wednesday night in Philadelphia. And if the next two games are anything like the first two, get ready for some long, draining nights.

"We've played these guys tough," Mackanin said. "They can't say we're a pushover." 

Benintendi was also a defensive star in this game. His throw from left field cut down Howie Kendrick at the plate in the eighth inning to keep the score tied 3-3.

Third base coach Juan Samuel waved Kendrick, who had been on first base, on a hard shot off the Green Monster by Maikel Franco. Twenty-four hours earlier, Mackanin had talked about the need to take chances on the bases because the team wasn't producing runs.

Samuel took a chance. It did not pay off.

"I didn't have an issue with that," Mackanin said. "We had 12 hits. But we just couldn't get big hits after (Aaron) Altherr's (two-run) home run (in the third inning)."

Franco, struggling to find consistency, had the kind of game that could ignite a hot streak. He had three singles, a double and a walk. The double high off the left-field wall in the eighth was scorched and would have been a homer run in any other stadium in baseball. His single with one out and a man on in the 10th also hit high off the wall and would have been out of any other stadium.

"Two home runs, four RBIs if the wall is not there," Franco said.

And most likely a victory.

"It's part of the game, you know?" Franco said. "Keep on swinging."

Mackanin was thrilled to see Franco swing the bat so well.

He acknowledged that Franco would have had two homers if the game were played at Citizens Bank Park.

"But we're here, so ...," Mackanin said. "It still bodes well for Mikey. I'm glad to see him looking like we know he can swing the bat. So that was nice to see."

The Phillies had plenty of chances in this one. They left 13 men on base, including three in the second, three in the eighth, and two in both the 10th and 11th innings.

Aside from Franco's work at the plate, the Phillies took one other big positive out of the game. Rookie right-hander Ben Lively pitched seven innings of three-run ball in his third big-league start. The Phils have had a starter go more than six innings just 13 times this season and Lively owns three of those efforts.

Lively gave up a run in each of the first three frames, but put up four straight zeroes before departing.

"He showed a lot of guts," Mackanin said. "He got hit around early, but then he didn't shy away. He didn't start nitpicking. He wasn't afraid to throw strikes. He came right after the hitters. Very impressive, three seven-inning stints in a row."

Lively is the first Phillies starter since Billy Champion in 1969 to go seven or more innings and allow three or fewer runs in his first three starts.

"It's nice," Lively said. "But it's always better to win. I felt like if I was a little more settled in early in the game, it could have been a different outcome tonight."