Phillies Survive Papelbon’s Ninth For 3-2 Win Over Nats
PHILADELPHIA—As Ben Revere exited a head-first slide at home, his momentum threw him into an awkward tumble. He recovered, bouncing back to the home team dugout, first with a handspring, then a smile.
It hasn’t always been pretty for these Phillies, but here they are, somehow still on their feet.
The latest: tonight’s 3-2 skin-of-the-teeth win over the Washington Nationals at Citizens Bank Park.
Will it – and others like it – be enough for them to recover from their early-season stumbles?
The Phillies (44-46) plated two runs in the first inning. One on a Domonic Brown comebacker off Nationals starter Dan Haren that broke how luck this season seemingly hasn’t. Another on a Darin Ruf full-count, two-out, bases-loaded walk – something you don’t see often in these parts.
This, on the same day the GM all but anointed Ruf his first baseman for the indefinite future.
“I think that stuff is kind of just happening right now,” said newly-minted cleanup hitter Domonic Brown, who went 1 for 3 with a walk and RBI. “We’re just making things happen.”
Revere certainly is. With a 3 for 5 night, he upped his average past .300 for the first time this season. The 25-year-old is hitting .410 in 100 at-bats with 17 runs scored in 24 games since June 12.
Manuel said he appreciates the extra dynamism of a productive Revere at the top of the order.
“It can mean quite a bit,” he said. “Especially when you can steal some bags. You guys should like that. You guys always talk about me playing little ball.”
Little ball? Anyway...
The Phillies only hung two runs on Haren, whose ERA shrank to 6.00, but chased him after five innings, working 10 baserunners on 95 pitches and getting to Washington’s bullpen as early as you’d like to in a first game of four. The Phillies stranded 10 and hit 2 for 11 with men in scoring position.
Against his former team, the on-or-off John Lannan was as on as he’s been since, well, he left his former team. The 28-year-old lefthander threw up zeroes for eight innings with four strikeouts, four hits and only two walks in 109 pitches, lowering his ERA to 4.23.
“I almost fell asleep out there,” Brown said.
Given the history there, Manuel said he thinks the win gave Lannan some extra pick-me-up.
“I think it’s only natural,” he said. “I’d be jumping up and down if it was me.”
Lannan forced 12 ground balls tonight, what he called his key to finding consistency, something the Phillies need from their No. 5 if they hope to contend.
“That’s what I have to do,” Lannan said. “I’m not a strikeout guy.”
Jonathan Papelbon put men on second and third with no outs in the ninth, letting Jayson Werth and Ryan Zimmerman sac fly to axe what would’ve been the first home shutout of the season.
“I was hoping it didn’t go out,” Manuel said of Werth’s shot, which looked like it could have gone.
For the third out, Papelbon popped out Chad Tracy, who homered off him on June 17 in an eventual walk-off Phillies win. It was less than ideal, but enough for his 19th save.
How Revere made it 3-0 in the sixth inning was all the apropos needed.
Consider the past week for the Phillies.
They took back-to-back series against the teams with the best record in baseball and in their division.
In between, the general manager for the first time this season admitted he may have to sell, and that this homestand will factor heavily into whether he does, and along with the manager held a team meeting to set players straight after seeing shenanigans amid a blowout loss.
After, on Monday, an MRI showed Ryan Howard needs what may be season-ending surgery.
Given the current events surrounding Philadelphia’s baseball team, it could’ve used a big, uplifting, statement-making, season-changing win -- as much as one of 162 could, anyway.
But they needed a win, with or without style points.
Tonight, they got this, a scary-but-satisfying somewhere in between.