Monday, June 20, 2016

Sweep return: Miller leads D-backs past Phils

The D-backs hate to leave Citizens Bank Park, but they'll have the opportunity to play the Phillies again next week at Chase Field.
Arizona swept the four-game series with Monday afternoon's 3-1 victory. D-backs right-hander Shelby Miller cruised in his return to the rotation, as he allowed five hits and one run in 6 2/3 innings. D-backs third baseman Jake Lamb hit a two-run home run against Phillies right-hander Jeremy Hellickson in the first inning to give the D-backs a three-run lead. Arizona slugged 10 homers during the series.
"Anytime you sweep a team -- especially in four games -- it's huge," Lamb said. "The pitching was great and the hitting was obviously unreal with all the home runs."
The Phillies continue to struggle since a surprising 24-17 start. They are 6-24 since, which is the worst record in baseball since May 18. They also suffered their first winless homestand of six or more games since going 0-7 at Connie Mack Stadium in September 1964.
"It's disappointing to lose at home or the road," Phillies manager Pete Mackanin said. "An 0-6 homestand is never fun. But we just have to move on."
Impressive return: If the D-backs hope to jump back into the playoff picture, they will need to have Miller find the form that helped him be successful in previous years and not the one who struggled to a 7.09 ERA earlier this season. Miller showed signs of that against the Phillies. It was his first start since May 24, after spending time on the DL with a sprained right index finger.
"All around I felt good so it's nice to be back up here and we're winning some games," Miller said. More >
Hellickson recovers: It looked ugly early for Hellickson, who had a 7.41 ERA in his previous three starts. He allowed three runs in the first inning to hand Arizona a 3-0 lead, but he settled after that. He allowed just two hits in his final six innings. The Phillies hope Hellickson gets on track with the Aug. 1 non-waiver Trade Deadline approaching. He could be an intriguing trade piece to a contending team looking for backend rotation help.
"Without question he could be a big trade chip for us," Phillies manager Pete Mackanin said, "but he's had enough good outings where I like him pitching for us." More >
Hellickson declined to comment on any trade talks postgame.
Lamb like a lion: Lamb feasted on the Phillies in this series. In addition to his two-run homer in the first, he added a single in the third. In the four-game set, he finished 9-for-17 with a double, a triple, two homers and five RBIs.
"My timing feels real good," Lamb said. "Constantly been working on timing. That's kind of what I've been doing the whole year. Whether I feel good or bad at the plate I try and make sure my timing is locked in at the plate."
Out of a jam: Miller ran into trouble with two outs in the seventh when the Phillies managed back-to-back singles. D-backs manager Chip Hale went to setup man Tyler Clippard, who got pinch-hitter Jimmy Paredes to fly out to center to end the threat.
"That was a big one," Hale said. "That was a really good job. Just a huge spot and we trust Clip to come in. He went in on him and got the flyout."
"Yeah, it's hard to stay patient, but the alternative is to give up and I'm not going to give up. We're all competitors. I hate losing, nobody likes it. I don't expect the players to be happy. I expect when you're losing the players not to be in a good mood. The alternative is to just give up and keep taking it or fight and come out of it." -- Mackanin, on the team's continued struggles More >
The Phillies have scored two or fewer runs in each of their last seven home games, which is their longest stretch at home since an eight-game streak from Sept. 14-23, 1938.
D-backs: Patrick Corbin will get the start for the D-backs on Tuesday at 4:07 p.m. MST as they open a brief two-game series with the Blue Jays at Rogers Centre. Corbin was cruising in his last start against the Dodgers before a three-run homer by Scott Van Slyke led to a 3-2 loss for Arizona.
Phillies: The Phillies open a nine-game road trip Tuesday night at 8:10 ET in Minnesota. Right-hander Aaron Nola (5-6, 3.61 ERA) pitches the series opener against the Twins. Nola has really struggled in his last two starts, allowing 10 earned runs in just 6 2/3 innings. Right-hander Aaron Nola (5-6, 3.51 ERA) pitches the series opener against the Twins.

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