Monday, April 11, 2016

Padres squeeze past Phils on Amarista bunt

The Padres squeezed and replayed their way to a 4-3 victory over the Phillies on Monday afternoon at Citizens Bank Park, spoiling Philadelphia's home opener.
Padres third baseman Alexi Amarista dropped a perfect bunt between the mound and first-base line to score Derek Norris from third with one out in the seventh inning to give San Diego the lead. Wil Myers' solo home run to left field in the fourth inning handed the Padres a three-run lead before the Phillies scored a run each in the fourth, fifth and sixth to tie the game.
The Padres won a replay challenge at first base in the seventh, which allowed the Padres to squeeze with one out. The Phillies lost a replay challenge on an infield fly play in the sixth, which stunted a potential rally.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Infield fly? With the bases loaded and no one out in the bottom of the sixth, the Padres called on lefty reliever Brad Hand, who got pinch-hitter Darin Ruf to pop up to shallow left. That was only the beginning. Left fielder Wil Myers never saw the ball off the bat, and shortstop Alexei Ramirez couldn't make the play as he backtracked. But third-base umpire Will Little ruled it as an infield fly, and -- although a run scored -- Ramirez threw to third for a double play, which was confirmed by review.
Nola commands: The Phillies set up their rotation to have right-hander Aaron Nola pitch the home opener. He allowed four runs in seven innings, walking none and striking out a career-high nine. In 14 innings, Nola has struck out 17 and walked none. Entering Monday, no pitcher in baseball had double-digit strikeouts without allowing a walk.
Fresh squeezed: With runners on the corners in the seventh, Amarista dropped a perfect bunt up the first-base line, allowing the go-ahead run to score. Amarista, making his debut, also singled and hit a fly ball that was tracked down by center fielder Odubel Herrera at the wall. The bunt plated Norris, whose one-out double sparked the rally.
Life at the top Cesar Hernandez, Herrera and Maikel Franco went a combined 5-for-10 with one walk, one triple and two runs scored as the Phillies' 2-3-4 hitters. Leadoff hitterFreddy Galvis went 0-for-4 to drop his batting average to .179. Galvis has not walked in 95 plate appearances, including 66 plate appearances in Spring Training.
INSTANT REPLAY
Andy Green won his first replay challenge as Padres manager, and it proved pivotal in the outcome. Ramirez was called out on a ground ball, but he noticed that Ruf's foot had come off the first-base bag. He signaled for Green to challenge, and the Padres won it, rather conclusively.
WHAT'S NEXT
Padres: Robbie Erlin gets the start against the Phillies on Tuesday at 4:05 p.m. PT, his first of the season after pitching 3 2/3 innings of brilliant relief in Colorado on Friday. Erlin was in competition for the final rotation spot out of camp, but lost out on the final day of Spring Training. He was inserted into the rotation when Tyson Ross went down with a shoulder injury.
Phillies: The only blip for the Phillies' rotation in the first week of the season was Game 3, when right-hander Charlie Morton allowed six runs in 3 2/3 innings Wednesday in Cincinnati. Morton gets the opportunity to bounce back Tuesday at 7:05 p.m. ET against the Padres at Citizens Bank Park.

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