Friday, June 24, 2016

Phils' 15-hit attack backs Eickhoff vs. Twins

A towering three-run homer in the eighth inning gave Freddy Galvis a career-high five RBIs, as the shortstop powered the Phillies to a 7-3 win over the Twins behind a solid Jerad Eickhoff in Thursday's series finale at Target Field.
The win snapped a season-long nine-game losing streak for the Phillies, who have struggled over the past month. After starting the season 24-17, they are 7-26 since May 18.
"I think we're something in between," Galvis said. "The thing we have to be working on is mental stuff. Mental stuff because we have to learn to turn the page really quick. If we lose today, tomorrow's another day."
Ryan Howard also homered as part of a two-hit afternoon, notching his first multi-hit game since April 29, while Cesar Hernandez tied career-highs with four hits and three runs scored for the Phillies. Maikel Franco, who walked three times, was the only Phillies starter not to record a hit in a 15-hit barrage against right-hander Ricky Nolasco and the Twins.
Although the Twins scored in the first inning for the third straight game on an RBI double byBrian Dozier, Nolasco allowed four runs on 10 hits over 6 2/3 innings, and Kevin Jepsenyielded the late homer to Galvis to put the game out of reach. Max Kepler was the only Twins player to record two hits in the loss.
"It was a struggle right from the get-go," Nolasco said. "I've been pitching long enough to know that no matter how you feel, good or bad, you still have to go out there and get outs. The thing I was thinking was that I've just got to try to go as deep as possible in the game. I know I didn't have much going, but I tried to keep us close as much as possible."
Eick stops the bleeding: Phillies starters allowed 13 runs in eight innings in the first two games of the series, but Eickhoff allowed five hits, two runs (one earned), one walk and struck out four in six innings. The Phillies have won just three times since June 5, and Eickhoff has earned the win each time. More >
"I think every pitcher that goes out there wants to be the guy who stops the bleeding and gives us a chance to win," Eickhoff said. "It was a great feeling to go out there and just go as deep as I could."
First things first: Dozier's first-inning RBI double to score Eduardo Escobar gave Minnesota an early lead and marked the third straight game in which the Twins have scored in the opening frame. Dozier has said it's a lot harder to hit when the team falls into an early hole, and the Twins made that a non-issue with six first-inning runs in three games against the Phillies.
"We've seen some positive things," Twins manager Paul Molitor said. "Guys are starting to swing the bats a little bit better, but maybe a little bit of a step back for us today overall."
A pulse for Phillies lineup: Everybody knows about the Phillies' offensive struggles, but they scored a combined 22 runs in the series. Howard and Galvis homered Thursday, both having entered the game in prolonged slumps. More >
"Three days ago we had a meeting and started talking and saying, 'All right, guys, there's too much pressure,'" Galvis said. "Just try to let it go and try to play the game the right way. Everything's going right so far."
Plouffe exits with mild right groin strain: Twins third baseman Trevor Plouffe came up limping after a sixth-inning groundout to second but was able to walk slowly off the field under his own power. He was replaced at third base by Eduardo Nunez in the seventh. Plouffe had been 0-for-3 with three groundouts before his injury and is listed as day to day.More >
"Initially, it really tightened up on me as I was running to first base, and it was even difficult for me to walk off the field," said Plouffe, who is confident that he will avoid the disabled list. "But then, it started to loosen up and the doctor came in and evaluated it and said that it's something mild and that we'll evaluate it tomorrow and see how it goes. But I feel pretty good right now."
"I don't like it when everybody comes to the mound. I don't like it. They got no business being there unless I call them in to tell them what we're going to do with a throw or something. They didn't need to hear what I was saying to Eick." -- Phillies manager Pete Mackanin, on why he shooed away his infielders during a mound visit in the fifth inning
Howard's trot around the bases in the second inning took 26.6 seconds, which was the 87th-slowest home run trot in baseball this season. That might seem slow, considering there has been nearly 2,500 homers this season, but Howard's average trot is 26.1 seconds. His fastest this season took 25 seconds, while his slowest took 27.5 seconds. Any chance Howard could walk the parrot the next time he homers, like Edwin Encarnacion?
"I think that's copywritten," Howard said. "Maybe walk the dog?"
Phillies: The Phillies open a three-game series Friday night against the Giants at AT&T Park. Rookie right-hander Zach Eflin (0-2, 10.80 ERA) makes his third career start against the hottest team in baseball. First pitch is set for 10:15 p.m. ET.
Twins: Left-hander Tommy Milone, recently recalled from Triple-A Rochester, will get his first start since May 3 at 6:05 p.m. CT on Friday for the opener of a three-game series between the Twins and the Yankees. He was 4-0 with a 1.66 ERA, 41 strikeouts and four walks in seven Minor League starts.

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