MLB

Phillies prove no match for AL-best Astros in series opener

Phillies prove no match for AL-best Astros in series opener

BOX SCORE

A lot has changed since the Houston Astros last came to Philadelphia in 2014. Back then the Astros were a rebuilding team on their way to a 92-loss season after reaching triple-digit losses the previous three seasons.

Now, the Astros' rebuild is complete and they have the best record (66-33) in the American League and the second best in the majors after the Los Angeles Dodgers (68-31).

The Astros have a powerhouse offense that ranks first in the majors in runs (594), hits (1,105), doubles (222), homers (165), batting average (.293) and OPS (.863).

Those numbers burned the eyes of Phillies manager Pete Mackanin when he got a look at them before Monday's game.

"When I look at their stat sheet and look at all their numbers, I really don't want to look at it," he said. "But once again, good pitching will stop good hitting, so if we can get good outings from some of our pitchers, we have a chance."

The Phillies did not get a good outing from their starting pitcher, nor did they get good work from the bullpen, as they lost Monday's series opener, 13-4 (see Instant Replay).

The Astros pounded out 18 hits and eight of them were for extra bases.

And they did all that damage without star shortstop Carlos Correa (.320/20/67). He is on the disabled list with a torn ligament in his thumb. Also, All-Star George Springer (.311/27/66) left the game in the third inning with a sore quad muscle.

So it could have been worse if the Astros had played with a full deck.

"We’ve been playing pretty well recently and these kinds of games happen," said Mackanin, whose club is 5-5 after the All-Star break. "Unfortunately, this was one of those games.

"Houston is as good a team as we've seen. They have nine guys with double-digit home runs. They are a real aggressive team, one of the best, if not the best, that we’ve seen. They have aggressive hitters. You can't make mistakes against them. Early in the count, they hack at those mistakes. They don’t strike out a lot.

"It was noticeable that they go up there ready to hit every pitch. They're not taking to get a look at the pitcher. If you make a mistake over the plate, they look to hurt you, to do damage."

The Phillies trailed 12-1 in the seventh inning before rookie Nick Williams tripled home three runs. Williams has three triples and 18 RBIs in 72 at-bats with the big club.

Cesar Hernandez had three hits and Odubel Herrera added a pair to raise his July batting average to .364 (24 for 66).

"Other than that, there weren't a lot of bright spots," Mackanin said.

Phillies starting pitcher Vince Velasquez, pitching against his former team, worked into the fourth inning, but had his outing cut short by a one-hour, 52-minute rain delay. Velasquez might not have pitched deep into the game even in good weather conditions. He struggled with location and did not use his secondary pitches effectively. He gave up a pair of home runs (to Brian McCann and Alex Bregman) in the second inning, both on fastballs.

Mackanin was rather blunt when asked how he thought Velasquez pitched.

"He gave up six hits, two home runs, in three innings," Mackanin said. "His velocity was OK, but if you don't locate against a team like this, you're going to get hurt."

Velasquez walked three. One of those walks turned into a run.

"They were hunting fastballs," Velasquez said. "Maybe if I utilized my secondary pitches more I would have slowed their bats down and protected my fastball better. They hammer mistakes.

"I probably could have done a better job if I executed. Correa was out of the lineup. If he was in there he probably would have done some damage, too. This team is hot. They're in first place for a reason. They're very selective. They are in the zone. They're locked in."

Ricardo Pinto picked up Velasquez when the game resumed in the top of the fourth inning. He was tagged for seven hits and six runs in 1 1/3 inning. Three of the runs were unearned. 

Best of MLB: White Sox beat crosstown rival Cubs to snap 9-game skid

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Best of MLB: White Sox beat crosstown rival Cubs to snap 9-game skid

CHICAGO -- Adam Engel and Matt Davidson homered and the White Sox snapped a nine-game losing streak with a 3-1 victory over the crosstown rival Cubs at Wrigley Field on Monday.

The Cubs lost for just the second time in 10 games following the All-Star break to fall a half-game behind idle first-place Milwaukee in the NL Central.

Engel lined his third homer of the season off reliever Justin Grimm (1-1) into the wind and several rows into the left-center bleachers to snap a 1-1 tie in the sixth. Davidson led off the eighth with his 19th homer, which sailed over the left-field stands and onto Waveland Avenue.

Miguel Gonzalez (5-9) allowed one run and seven hits in 7 1/3 innings to end a four-game losing streak and win for just the second time in 11 decisions.

Jose Abreu had two hits and doubled in a run for the AL-worst White Sox, who ended their longest slide in four years (see full recap).

Royals hit back-to-back HRs in 12th inning for win
DETROIT -- Salvador Perez and Mike Moustakas hit consecutive homers in the 12th inning, and the Kansas City Royals won their sixth straight game, 5-3 over the Detroit Tigers on Monday night.

Hours after the Royals helped their pitching staff by acquiring Trevor Cahill and two relievers in a trade with San Diego, Kansas City outlasted the Tigers to stay 1 games behind first-place Cleveland in the AL Central. Jorge Bonifacio also homered for the Royals, who won despite squandering a 3-0 lead in the sixth.

Jakob Junis (3-2), one of seven relievers used by Kansas City, pitched a hitless 11th for the win. Kelvin Herrera finished for his 20th save in 23 chances.

Drew VerHagen (0-1) took the loss, allowing the homers to Perez and Moustakas in his third inning of work (see full recap).

Stanton homers twice as Marlins blank Rangers
ARLINGTON, Texas -- Giancarlo Stanton hit more two home runs and moved into a tie for the major league lead, sending Adam Conley and the Miami Marlins over the Texas Rangers 4-0 on Monday night.

Stanton has 32 homers, including six in his last seven games, and matched Yankees rookie Aaron Judge for most in the majors. Stanton hit a two-run drive in the first inning and a solo shot in the eighth.

Texas star Adrian Beltre went 4 for 4, giving him 2,993 career hits. He moved closer to becoming the 31st player to reach 3,000.

Conley (3-3) pitched seven impressive innings during his second start since getting recalled from Triple-A New Orleans on July 18. He allowed seven hits and struck out five as he pitched past the sixth inning for the first time this season.

Martin Perez (5-8) went seven innings (see full recap).

Instant Replay: Astros 13, Phillies 4

Instant Replay: Astros 13, Phillies 4

BOX SCORE

The Houston Astros are one of baseball's best teams and they played like it, hanging a 13-4 beating on the Phillies at Citizens Bank Park on Monday night.

The Astros hit two home runs against Phillies starter Vince Velasquez in the second inning. The game was delayed for one hour, 52 minutes in the top of the fourth inning and when it resumed the Astros rallied for five runs in that frame to roll to their 66th win. Only the Los Angeles Dodgers have more.

The Astros out-hit the Phillies, 18-10. And they were without star shortstop Carlos Correa (.320/20/67). He is on the disabled list with a torn ligament in his thumb. Also, All-Star outfielder George Springer (.311/27/66) left the game in the third inning with a sore quad muscle.

The Phillies are 5-5 since the All-Star break and 34-63 overall.

Starting pitching report
Velasquez was originally Houston property. He was selected by that club in the second round of the 2010 draft and pitched in the majors with Houston in 2015. He was traded to the Phillies as part of the package for Ken Giles in December of that year.

The rain limited Velasquez’s outing to three-plus innings. He gave up six hits, four runs and walked three. He is 2-6.

Houston's Brad Peacock gave up a run in three innings of work.

Bullpen report
Ricardo Pinto had a tough night. He came on after the rain delay and was tagged for seven hits and six runs in 1 1/3 inning. Three of the runs were unearned.

Joe Musgrove pitched three scoreless innings for the Astros and got the win.

At the plate
Tommy Joseph doubled home the Phillies' first run.

The Phils trailed 12-1 in the seventh inning when Nick Williams stroked a three-run triple. Williams has three triples and 18 RBIs in 72 at-bats with the big club.

Houston had eight extra-base hits.

Brian McCann and Alex Bregman hit back-to-back homers for the Astros in the second inning. Houston leads the majors with 165 homers. McCann has 22 homers in his career against the Phillies.

Jose Altuve had four hits for the Astros. He also had four hits Sunday in Baltimore. He has a 16-game hitting streak.

Houston has scored double-digit runs in 16 games this season.

Lineup stuff
Howie Kendrick did not start, although he did hit into the game-ending double play as a pinch hitter. He is expected to start on Tuesday night. Manager Pete Mackanin said the team planned to be cautious with Kendrick, who was activated Friday after being on the disabled list with a hamstring strain.

Kendrick remains a possibility to be traded before next week's deadline. Reliever Pat Neshek is the Phils' top trade chip and could be dealt at any time.

Up next
The series continues on Tuesday night. Nick Pivetta (3-5, 5.58) pitches against Charlie Morton (7-4, 4.18).