Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Urias, Ross meet in duel of young hurlers

A pair of young starters will take the mound for Wednesday's series finale between the Nationals and Dodgers in Los Angeles, though one of them might not be in the rotation for too much longer.
Joe Ross, 23, has enjoyed a strong season as part of a Nationals rotation that ranks fourth in the Majors in ERA. He's come down a bit recently, though, allowing 11 earned runs across his last three starts.
Julio Urias, 19, will make the sixth start of a career that has seen a clear upward trend. Urias' ERA stands at 4.50 and he's shown improvement in every start. In his last time out against Milwaukee, he threw five scoreless while striking out eight. He'll aim to lead the Dodgers to their sixth straight win and a series sweep.
The Dodgers are still expected to soon find a way to limit Urias' usage. Urias has thrown 63 innings in 2016 between Los Angeles and Triple-A Oklahoma City with a career high of 87 2/3 innings as a professional. Manager Dave Roberts said Tuesday that Urias would get another start after Wednesday, but beyond that is uncertain.
Three things to know about this game
• It's not often that a team does a giveaway featuring someone from the opposing team, yet a bobblehead of former Dodgers player and current Nationals manager Dusty Baker will be given out to fans before the game.
• Trayce Thompson was out of the lineup for the first time in 20 games Tuesday night, but Roberts said Thompson would be back Wednesday.
• Bryce Harper might know something about the age-related obstacles Urias has to deal with. The two are the only players since '10 to debut as teenagers in the National League.

Morgan, Gibson both looking to get on track

Two struggling pitchers hope to get on track Wednesday night at Target Field.
Phillies left-hander Adam Morgan faces Twins right-hander Kyle Gibson in the second game of a three-game series.
Morgan joined the Phillies' rotation in April when Charlie Morton suffered a season-ending injury. He allowed six earned runs in 12 1/3 innings in starts earlier this month against the Cubs and Nationals before allowing seven runs (four earned runs) in just 4 1/3 innings Friday against the D-backs.
Gibson hopes to build on Thursday's start against the Yankees, when he allowed three runs in 6 1/3 innings.
Things to know about this game
• Look for Peter Bourjos to start again for the Phillies in right field. Phillies manager Pete Mackanin is trying to play the hot hand, and Bourjos has been the Phillies' hottest hitter for more than a week.
• The Twins are 9-7 all-time against the Phillies.
• Twins first baseman Joe Mauer has hit safely in 12 of 13 games against the Phillies.

Short set in Arlington ends with Straily facing Hamels

Rangers left-hander Cole Hamels will square off against Reds right-hander Dan Straily on Wednesday night at Globe Life Park in the finale of the two-game set.
Hamels threw 7 2/3 scoreless innings, struck out six and picked up his seventh win of the season in the Rangers' 1-0 victory over the Cardinals last Friday. It was his longest scoreless outing since he no-hit the Cubs on July 25 last season. He is 2-0 with a 1.88 ERA in four June starts and has gone at least seven innings in each.
Straily was roughed up in his most recent start, against the Braves on Thursday, allowing a career-high six runs on seven hits through 4 1/3 innings. Other than that outing, he's been solid in his first season with the Reds, and has held opponents to a .211 average -- ninth best in the National League.
Three things to know about this game:
• Reds right-hander Michael Lorenzen -- on the 15-day disabled list with a mild strain in his right elbow -- is expected to be activated before Wednesday's game. He is likely to replace right-hander Alfredo Simon on the roster; Simon is back in Cincinnati as he continues to nurse an injured right shoulder.
• Flu-like symptoms kept Cincinnati first baseman Joey Votto out of the lineup on Tuesday for just the second time this season, though he could return for the finale. Votto is batting .150 in 20 career at-bats against Hamels.
• Rangers center fielder Ian Desmond is slated to sit on Wednesday in his first day off since April 17. He is expected to be replaced by Ryan Rua.

Archer looks to turn Rays' tide vs. Tribe

Chris Archer agreed that the results the Rays starters are getting need to improve, particularly if the team is to escape its current funk.
Archer will get the chance to lead the way Wednesday when he starts the finale of the Rays' three-game series with the Indians at Progressive Field. He'll be opposed by Trevor Bauer.
Rays starters have shown glimpses of the ability that observers forecast for them this season, which should have translated to better results at this juncture of the season. Archer appreciates the fact that the starting pitching could be the catalyst that rights the Rays' ship, and he thinks the unit's fortunes are due to change based on what he's seen from the group lately.
"I truly believe that it's going to turn around for us, and we're going to get the results that go along with the intention with how we're actually throwing the ball," said Archer, who admitted that the group's results, given its talent level, have been frustrating.
"Some teams, hitters don't hit," Archer said, "and our pitchers, we weren't very consistent early. ... I think we're throwing the ball really well [now]. ... I'm encouraged about our starters, for sure."
Bauer will be making his 11th start since moving into the starting rotation. He began the season in the bullpen after losing a Spring Training battle to Josh Tomlin for the fifth spot in the rotation. He moved into the rotation after Carlos Carrasco suffered a hamstring injury on April 24 at Detroit.
Bauer pitched a scoreless inning of relief against the Rays on April 14 when he allowed two hits but struck out three.
Three things to know
• Archer is 7-16 with a 4.24 ERA in his last 30 starts, dating back to his work after last season's All-Star break. Prior to the break, he went 9-6 with a 2.74 ERA in 19 starts.
• Opposing hitters are hitting .308 against Archer on the road as opposed to .204 when he's on the mound at Tropicana Field.
• In four June starts, Bauer is 1-0 with a 2.12 ERA, which shows improvement from May, when he went 2-2 with a 3.86 ERA in five starts.

Talented righties Fulmer, Iwakuma face off

Tigers rookie righty Michael Fulmer had a five-game winning streak and a scoreless streak of 33 1/3 innings snapped Friday at Kansas City. He'll look to return to the win column Wednesday against righty Hisashi Iwakuma and the Mariners in the third game of a four-game series at Comerica Park.
Seattle sends righty Hisashi Iwakuma, who has won five of his past six starts. Iwakuma (6-5, 4.18 ERA) picked up a win at Boston on Friday, allowing four runs in seven innings in one of Seattle's two wins on its 10-game road trip.
Fulmer's streak of 33 1/3 scoreless innings was the longest by a Tigers rookie in franchise history, but fell short of the all-time record of 38 set by Oakland's Brad Zeigler in 2008.
Fulmer (7-2, 2.43) had a bit of a rocky start, but has pushed his way into early American League Rookie of the Year Award conversations after gaining confidence in his changeup. Fulmer lowered his ERA from 6.52 after four starts to 2.52, and holds a 0.36 ERA in June.
He said he has benefited from following Justin Verlander's spot in the rotation and taking advice from the veteran righty.
"I'm learning so much up here, and I'm sure I'll learn a lot more from [Tuesday's] game watching [Verlander]," Fulmer said. "I'm pumped that he's right in front of me in the rotation, because it's easier for me to see what he does to a team. You can see him thinking out there. Like, he thinks three pitches in advance, and everything he does has a purpose."
Fulmer said Verlander has been mentoring him, even during games, on how to approach certain hitters. Fulmer is garnering comparison to the last Tigers rookie to win the award -- Verlander.
Three things to know about this game
• Of Fulmer's 10 career starts, only two have been at Comerica, both of which were wins. Fulmer has a 0.69 ERA and a 0.77 WHIP at home.
• Iwakuma is 1-1 in five career starts against the Tigers. His lone win came at Detroit, and he has a 1.20 ERA in two starts at Comerica Park. 
• The Mariners have homered in 14 straight games and 25 of their past 27. Seattle's 105 homers are second in the Majors, behind only Baltimore (109).

Rodriguez hopes old delivery gets him on track

The last few weeks have been full of frustration for Red Sox left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez. In four starts since coming off the disabled list, he's 1-2 with a 6.97 ERA.
Rodriguez will try to change that on Wednesday when the Red Sox and White Sox, who will start Jose Quintana, square off at Fenway Park.
Since his start on Thursday against the Orioles, in which he allowed five runs on eight hits in 4 1/3 innings for the loss, Rodriguez has gone back to his old delivery.
"It's a natural delivery to him. He's gotten back into it quickly and has a better rhythm and energy in his delivery," Red Sox pitching coach Carl Willis said. "We are hoping that along with that better rhythm and energy comes better command."
While Rodriguez has maintained consistent fastball velocity, topping out at 96 mph, he's lacked the same kind of conviction in his secondary pitches.
"He has confidence in his changeup, just not as much in his breaking pitches," Willis said. "We've made a little bit of an adjustment with that in which he has taken to this past week. Because of that, I think we'll see a lot more effectiveness."
Quintana's also had his fair share of frustration, but for a completely different reason. He's gone 0-6 with a 3.86 ERA over his last seven starts, receiving a total of five runs of support, after going 5-1 with a 1.38 ERA over his first seven starts.
The left-hander allowed two runs on seven hits in 7 2/3 innings on Friday against the Indians for the no-decision. It broke a streak of six straight losses.
"You know, I hope that it changes," said Quintana after his last start. "I'll just try to get it going next start. It's not for me, it's for the team. Just here to try to do my job and keep the games close."
Three things to know about this game
• While Rodriguez has never faced the White Sox, he is 4-0 with a 2.31 ERA in six starts against the American League Central.
• Quintana is 3-0 with a 1.94 ERA and a .184 opponents' average in six career starts against the Red Sox. He's 1-0 with a 2.11 ERA in three starts at Fenway.
• David Ortiz has reached base in each of his last 25 home games, hitting .411 with 23 extra-base hits.

Pirates aim to solve Samardzija in rubber game

After facing Madison Bumgarner and Johnny Cueto to begin the series, the Pirates will face another tough Giants pitcher in 2014 All-Star Jeff Samardzija on Wednesday.
In 14 outings this season, Samardzija has posted an 8-4 record with a 3.14 ERA. The right-hander is coming off his eighth career complete game in San Francisco's 5-1 win vs. Tampa Bay, in which he allowed one run on four hits.
Samardzija has a 4-4 record and 2.25 ERA in 21 career games (10 starts) vs. the Pirates.
Francisco Liriano will start for the Pirates and try to snap his four-game losing streak. Pittsburgh broke San Francisco's eight-game winning streak with a 1-0 win Monday before losing, 15-4, on Tuesday.
Things to know about this game
• The Giants have lost 10 of their last 14 regular-season games at PNC Park and have not won a series there since 2011.
• Pirates left fielder Starling Marte, who ranks second in the National League and third in the Majors with 20 stolen bases, left Tuesday's game with a foot injury.
• San Francisco is 23-14 on the road this season and has the third-best road record in the Majors.

Johnson, Jimenez set to wrap Interleague set

Since last weekend, Orioles manager Buck Showalter has spoken repeatedly about just getting to the O's off-day Thursday. A combination of activating two players Saturday, losing Manny Machado from Sunday through Wednesday while he serves his suspension and a one-game road trip to Texas created a hectic week.
But perhaps the trickiest day of the week is the game before the off-day, the second and final game of the Orioles' brief series with San Diego. The O's sent righty Mike Wright down after his last start, leaving them without a scheduled starter for Wednesday's contest.
Showalter didn't announce his starter for the game until after Tuesday's 10-7 loss, as he wasn't sure who he would need out of the bullpen in the games leading up to Wednesday.
Right-hander Ubaldo Jimenez will make his return to the rotation after he was moved to the bullpen June 14.
The Padres will start right-hander Erik Johnson for the third time since acquiring him from the White Sox for James Shields. The 26-year-old is 0-4 with a 7.66 ERA in four starts between the two clubs this season.
Things to know about this game
• The series against San Diego marks the Orioles' first Interleague games of the season. The O's and Padres are meeting for the first time since 2013, when they split the series, 2-2, and will play two more games next week in San Diego.
• Despite playing parts of the past four seasons with the White Sox, Johnson has never pitched against the Orioles in his career.
• Showalter said after Tuesday's game that lefty reliever Brian Duensing is probably headed to the disabled list with an elbow injury. The Orioles may call someone up for him before Wednesday's contest to provide more depth in the 'pen with Jimenez starting.
• Padres center fielder Jon Jay is day to day with a bruised right forearm after being hit by a fastball during Sunday's game. He's doubtful for Wednesday's contest, but the Padres remain hopeful Jay will avoid a stint on the disabled list.

Grandal stuns Nats, slugs LA to 5th straight win

Yasmani Grandal slugged a three-run homer in the bottom of the eighth inning Tuesday night as the Dodgers rallied for a 3-2 win over the Nationals, extending their win streak to a season-high five games.
"It's a grind for Yazzy," said Dodgers manager Dave Roberts. "He's doing a great job behind the plate and that's priority No. 1. Offensively, he's been squaring a lot of balls up but maybe right at guys and he's getting frustrated. You know a few days ago he had that big at-bat, the walk-off walk, so to win it again today for us in fine fashion, that was fun."
Grandal, batting .177 at the time, homered off starter Tanner Roark (6-5), who was given a two-run lead on solo homers by Bryce Harper in the first inning and Danny Espinosa in the fifth off Dodgers starter Scott Kazmir. Harper's opposite-field home run (No. 15) was his third off a lefty this year. Espinosa's home run (No. 13) came on an 0-2 pitch.
"When you get guys in scoring position, it's your job to bear down and make pitches and get out of the inning," said Kazmir, who stranded five runners in scoring position. "You're one pitch away from giving up a run. It's a matter of bearing down, that's what good pitchers do and that's what I was able to do tonight."
Joc Pederson led off the eighth inning with the first walk of the game issued by Roark.Yasiel Puig, in his first game back from the disabled list, hit a line drive that tipped off the glove of leaping shortstop Espinosa for a single. Grandal cleared the center-field fence on a 1-2 fastball for his sixth home run.
Louis Coleman was credited with the win and Kenley Jansen his 21st save one night after setting the franchise career saves record.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Unconventional Utley:
 After Roark's fifth-inning double, Ben Revere bounced to second baseman Chase Utley, who threw across the infield and nailed Roark sliding into third base. The Nationals went on to load the bases, but lefty Kazmir struck out the right-handed Ryan Zimmerman after intentionally walking the left-handed Daniel Murphy to escape.
"Daniel is one of the best hitters in baseball; not only slugs but drives runs in," said Roberts, explaining the strategy. "He's pretty much an even-split guy. No disrespect to Ryan Zimmerman, but to load the bases and get an out anywhere, I'll take our chances with Kaz there, so I just thought it was a gamble and could have backfired, but I felt confident."
Too many left on base: The Nats went 1-for-10 with runners in scoring position and that has frustrated manager Dusty Baker for most of the season. Their best chance to score in Tuesday's game occurred in the fifth inning. They had runners on first and second with one out against Kazmir. But Harper grounded out and, after Murphy was walked intentionally, and Zimmerman struck out to end the threat.
"We didn't hit with runners in scoring position. This is what we have to get better at," Baker said. "We had runners in scoring position the first four innings. We just couldn't get the hit. We hit a couple of balls hard. We have to get better picking up runners. I know the guys are trying. It's not because of lack of effort. We have to keep fighting. It's a tough stretch. We lost some tough ballgames."
Kendrick clutch: With two out in the top of the eighth inning, Roark singled to left field. Catcher Wilson Ramos tried to score from second base, but left fielder Howie Kendrickcharged and threw out Ramos at the plate to keep the Washington lead at 2-0.
"To pick up a position like that after pretty much his whole career in the infield, that diving catch and play at the plate were huge," said Kazmir. "But I really expected that from Howie. He's a selfless guy and an athlete."
Power punch: Espinosa hammered his 13th homer of the season in the fifth inning, his 10th home run since May 26. Only two shortstops -- Colorado's Trevor Story (18) and Los Angeles' Corey Seager (15) -- have more homers than Espinosa this season.
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
The Dodgers have homered in 12 consecutive games, their longest streak since they had 12 in 2002.
Harper is hitting .333 [8-for-24] with two home runs and five RBIs during the first six games of the Nationals' road trip.
WHAT'S NEXT
Nationals: It's rare that Joe Ross, 23, is the veteran pitcher in his outing, but he will be compared to his Dodgers counterpart when the Nationals wrap up a three-game series in Los Angeles on Wednesday night. Ross owns a 5.82 ERA in three starts this month. First pitch is scheduled for 10:10 p.m. ET.
Dodgers: Julio Urias, 19, gets the ball Wednesday night in the series finale with a 7:10 p.m. PT start. Urias is coming off his best start of five scoreless innings with eight strikeouts. But he's still looking for his first Major League victory.

Blue Jays, D-backs close out two-game set

The D-backs will send Robbie Ray to the mound on Wednesday afternoon as Arizona concludes a brief two-game Interleague series with Toronto.
The left-hander has won his previous two starts, allowing two earned runs in 13 2/3 innings. In his last start, against the Phillies, Ray (4-5, 4.44 ERA) surrendered two runs while striking out seven over six innings of work. The 24-year-old averages 10.2 strikeouts per nine innings pitched -- seventh highest in the NL.
Toronto will counter with J.A. Happ (8-3, 3.41 ERA). The 33-year-old left-hander has won his last two starts, surrendering four earned runs over 14 innings. Happ tossed seven innings of one-run ball his last time out against the Phillies, striking out five in a 13-2 win.
Three things to know about this game
• Arizona right fielder Yasmany Tomas has reached base safely in 25 of 26 road games. On Tuesday night, he gave the D-backs a 3-0 lead, smacking his 10th home run of the season off Marco Estrada in the fourth.
• D-backs second baseman Rickie Weeks Jr. is a career 8-for-19 (.421) hitter against Happ. Weeks has two home runs, three RBIs and three doubles.
• Blue Jays third baseman Josh Donaldson, last week's AL Player of the Week, has hits in 11 of his last 12 games.

A's look to get behind Mengden vs. Brewers

The A's hope to provide more support to rookie right-hander Daniel Mengden on Wednesday in the finale of a two-game series with the Brewers at the Coliseum, something they struggled to do in his first two starts.
Mengden's 0-2 with a 2.25 ERA. He was working on a shutout on Thursday against the Rangers before allowing two runs (one earned) in the seventh inning. He was upstaged by Texas righty Colby Lewis, who no-hit the A's for eight innings.
Oakland manager Bob Melvin said his team "wasted" Mengden's start. He's only the fifth pitcher in A's history to take the loss in each of his first two career games, as the club has scored two runs in his two outings. The righty, who features an old-fashioned windup to go along with his Rollie Fingers-esque mustache, has 12 strikeouts in 12 innings.
Milwaukee counters with Junior Guerra, who is 3-1 with a 3.81 ERA. The righty earned a no-decision in his last start, an 8-6 Brewers win over the Dodgers on Thursday, giving up five runs on five hits in 5 1/3 innings.
Unlike Mengden, Guerra has received significant support from his offense. Milwaukee is 7-2 in his nine starts this season and has scored at least five runs in five of those nine games. The 31-year-old has been a mainstay in the Brewers rotation since being recalled from Triple-A on May 1.
Things to know about this game
• Guerra has struggled on the road at times this season, allowing four homers in four starts while posting a 4.84 ERA.
• Guerra has never faced Oakland, and opponents are batting .231 off him this season. Mengden, likewise, has never faced Milwaukee in his brief career, and opponents are hitting .222 against him.
• The A's called up utility man Arismendy Alcantara on Tuesday, and Melvin said he hopes to give the switch-hitter a start "over the next couple of days."

Semien's 3 RBIs lead A's comeback vs. Crew

 The A's offense emerged from a dry spell and used a three-run seventh inning, featuring a go-ahead single from Yonder Alonso and a two-run triple off the bat of Marcus Semien, to claim a 5-3 victory against the Brewers on Tuesday night in the opener of a two-game series at the Coliseum.
Semien, who entered the game mired in an 0-for-15 stretch, finished with three hits and as many RBIs to ignite an offense that had totaled only five runs in its previous four games. It was just the A's fifth win of June.
"Early on, it felt like part of the last few days," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "Then all of a sudden, toward the end of the game where it was on the line, our at-bats were a lot more intense, a lot more focused it seemed like, and we got some big hits, certainly from Marcus."
Oakland right-hander Sonny Gray remained winless since April 22 despite allowing one earned run (two runs total) in six innings, with seven hits allowed to match his season-high-tying seven strikeouts. Kirk Nieuwenhuis delivered an RBI double off Gray in the fourth, andChris Carter chipped in with a run-scoring single against his former team in the sixth for his second hit of the night.
Brewers starter Jimmy Nelson needed 105 pitches for five hard-fought innings, yielding one run and six hits. The Brewers fell to 1-7 on their West Coast road trip, with one game remaining.
"We're making enough mistakes to not win, and you can go to all phases of the game, from baserunning to pitching to offensively," Brewers manager Craig Counsell said. "We're just not doing quite enough. We've got to play better. Have there been some close games? Yeah. But we have to make plays in those games. You have to earn the wins." 
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
So close: The A's did their damage in the seventh with two outs, leaving Nieuwenhuis,Jonathan Villar and the Brewers to wonder, "What if?" The inning began with a Stephen Vogt drive to deep center field, where Nieuwenhuis appeared to many of the 14,810 fans on hand to make a spectacular catch as he crashed into the padded wall. But the baseball popped out of his glove, and Vogt had a leadoff triple. The next batter, Danny Valencia, hit a grounder to Villar's backhand side, but the shortstop misplayed it for an error. Those non-outs loomed large when Alonso and Semien delivered their big hits with two outs.
"It was in my glove. I had it. Then I hit the wall," a dejected Nieuwenhuis said. "I was trying to brace myself, but it just popped out. At a big point in the game like that, that's tough." More >
Always Dull: A's right-hander Ryan Dull can do without the drama. The reliever entered a critical situation in the seventh inning, taking over for John Axford in a two-run game with no outs and Ryan Braun standing on second base after a run-scoring double. Dull proceeded to work his magic yet again, inducing a fly ball that moved Braun to third before striking out Carter and getting Aaron Hill to send a pop fly into the glove of second baseman Jed Lowrie, just beyond the infield dirt. Dull has stranded all 30 of his inherited runners this season, and opponents are 1-for-42 against him with runners in scoring position.
"He's been as good as anybody in baseball in those situations," Melvin said. "It looks like he's made for these situations, to come in and get guys out, but it's not that easy. He's got the middle of the order for their guys, and they're all swinging pretty good, too. It's just amazing. His focus is on getting a hitter out. I know he knows there's a runner out there, but he's not focused on that. He's focused on making the pitch he needs to make at the time and doesn't get too much farther out than that."
Wide left: The Brewers' go-ahead run in the sixth was set up by a costly misfire by Gray. Braun legged out an infield hit to open the inning, and after Jonathan Lucroy's loud out to the warning track in center field, Gray's errant pickoff throw moved Braun all the way to third base, courtesy of the spacious foul ground at the Coliseum. Slumping slugger Carter, 0-for-2 in the game and in a 4-for-27 funk, took advantage with A's infielders playing in, smacking a line-drive single off Valencia's glove at third for a 2-1 Brewers lead.
QUOTABLE
"You just keep running. You turn off your internal warning system." -- Counsell, who played at the Oakland Coliseum himself, on how infielders adjust to the sea of foul ground here
WHAT'S NEXT
Brewers: The Brewers are 7-2 when Junior Guerra takes the hill, and will aim to improve that mark when the right-handed splitter specialist starts Wednesday's 2:35 p.m. CT series finale vs. the A's at the Coliseum. Guerra is coming off a no-decision at Dodger Stadium in a game the Brewers won on Villar's ninth-inning home run.
A's: Daniel Mengden (0-2, 2.25 ERA) starts in Wednesday's series finale at the Coliseum, which begins at 12:35 p.m PT. The A's haven't provided the rookie much in terms of run support, scoring two runs in his first two starts. Oakland will travel to Anaheim following the game for a four-game set against the Angels that begins on Thursday.

Suzuki has 6 RBIs as Twins outslug Phillies

 Kurt Suzuki's season-high four hits and career-high six RBIs, including a two-run homer in the fifth, powered an offensive explosion for the Twins, who set a season-high in runs with their 14-10 victory over the Phillies at Target Field on Tuesday night.
"I feel warm," Suzuki said. "It's not 10 degrees outside and I can feel the bat. It's one of those things -- like they say in baseball, you find that comfort zone and you get a good pitch to hit and you don't miss it."
Every Twins hitter except Eduardo Nunez either scored or drove in at least one run and Phillies starter Aaron Nola was chased after just three innings, during which he allowed eight runs (seven earned). Minnesota added six runs against the Philadelphia bullpen to hold off a four-run Phillies rally in the eighth. Brian Dozier had three hits, including an RBI triple, and two runs scored, while Trevor Plouffe scored two runs and drove in two on a first-inning triple.
"It's unfortunate that you still have to be a little bit uncomfortable after you score 14 runs, but we got out early -- Trevor got a big hit early and Kurt had a big hit early -- but they kept answering," Twins manager Paul Molitor said. "We built the lead back up a little bit through the middle innings and the bullpen did a nice job."
Peter Bourjos hit his second homer of the season in the second inning, and Tommy JosephCameron Rupp and Maikel Franco also went deep as the Phillies hit double digits in runs for the first time since April 23. Bourjos and Cody Asche both recorded three-hit games.
"If you would have told me we were going to score [10] runs tonight with Nola pitching I would have been thrilled," Phillies manager Pete Mackanin said. "I would have bet money on it."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Six for Suzuki: The Twins' catcher has heated up in the month of June, and took it to a whole different level on Tuesday night with a 4-for-5 game that raised his batting average in the month to .365. He had a two-run double in the third, a two-run homer in the fifth and a two-run double in the eighth to record a career-high six RBIs to surpass his previous career-high of five, which came eight years ago on June 20, 2008.
"He has been surging," Molitor said. "We're seeing a little bit of power and he's getting some hits with runners in scoring position, which is something we've been lacking as a unit. You just hope that some of the guys watch these people that are taking good at-bats in those situations and start to get some results." More >
No, no, no, Nola: Nola's struggles are eye-popping. He has allowed 22 hits, 17 earned runs, seven walks and has struck out 10 in 9 2/3 innings in his last three starts. He has a 15.83 ERA in that stretch, becoming the first Phillies' starter to pitch four or fewer innings and allow four or more runs in three consecutive starts since Gavin Floyd in April 2005.
"I'm an even-keeled guy," Nola said. "If you talk to a guy who has three pretty rough starts, it gets kind of frustrating. It gets frustrating after the third one. I feel like it doesn't matter how even-keeled you are. It definitely is frustrating, but I'm going to try to put this one behind me and try to really focus on the positives." More >
Four-mula for success: After seeing Tyler Duffey allow three runs in the top of the thirdto give the Phillies a 6-4 lead, the struggling Twins' lineup fired back with four more in the bottom half of the frame to retake the lead -- this time, for good. Dozier, Plouffe and Max Kepler hit three straight singles to load the bases with nobody out, and a two-run double from the red-hot Suzuki was followed by a sacrifice fly from Byron Buxton and a run-scoring throwing error by Freddy Galvis.
Bourjos stays hot: It might surprise Phillies fans, but Peter Bourjos has been the Phillies' hottest hitter for the past couple of weeks. He hit a two-run homer to left field in the second inning to keep things going. He finished 3-for-4 with three RBIs.
"I was thrilled at the offense," Phillies manager Pete Mackanin said. "A lot of positives to take out of that. Hopefully, the fact that we hit as a team, it'll give us a boost of confidence. We got them and it takes a little pressure off of everybody to feel good going into tomorrow's game."More >
QUOTABLE
"Everybody was convinced that I would have been close, but I wasn't so convinced. I didn't want to make it look like a mockery where you try to go for the cycle and make the last out at third, so I stopped." -- Suzuki, on his eighth-inning double, while needing a triple to complete the cycle
"I was just bragging about him before the game to [Twins broadcaster and Hall of Famer] Bert Blyleven, how his strength is his ability to locate pitches. I looked at the first couple of innings on the monitor -- I came in between innings -- I don't think he hit the mitt more than a couple of times. He was all over the place. He'll get that back. But something is missing right now." -- Mackanin, on Nola
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Suzuki now has 495 career RBIs, giving him sole possession of first place on the all-time RBI list for MLB players born in Hawaii, surpassing Shane Victorino.
WHAT'S NEXT
Phillies: Phillies left-hander Adam Morgan (1-6, 6.49 ERA) hopes to get healthy against the Twins. He appeared to be turning a corner earlier this month, allowing six runs in 12 2/3 innings against the Cubs and Nationals. But then he allowed seven runs (four earned runs) in 4 1/3 innings Friday against the D-Backs. First pitch is scheduled for 8:10 p.m. ET.
Twins: Right-hander Kyle Gibson will make his first career start against the Phillies when he takes the mound for the Twins at 7:10 p.m. CT in the second game of the series on Wednesday night. He is 2-7 with a 6.11 ERA in 10 career Interleague starts but is coming off a quality start against the Yankees in which he allowed three earned runs over 6 1/3 innings, striking out four while walking two.