The Phillies used timely hitting and good starting pitching to go 4-3 on last week’s West Coast trip. They did it again on Tuesday night, this time in Philadelphia, winning 6-2 over the Indians behind Jonathan Pettibone. John Mayberry Jr. provided most of the offense for the Phils, knocking in three runs on three hits. The victory gave them their third three-game win streak of the season. They have yet to win four in a row.
PETTIBONE DOES IT AGAIN
– Despite being squeezed all night by home plate umpire Brian Knight, Pettibone delivered yet another quality outing. He didn’t have his best stuff (only three Ks) and was wild for the second consecutive start (two walks, two HBPs), but Pettibone battled through 6.2 innings and only gave up four hits and two earned runs. This high wire act has been the norm for the rookie in his first month as a major leaguer, but to his credit he has given the Phillies a chance to win in all five of his starts (they’re 4-1 behind him).
– The only blemish for Pettibone on Tuesday night was a one-out, two-run single off the bat of Michael Brantley in the second inning. The Indians really made the rookie work in the early going, forcing him to throw 59 pitches in the first three innings. After escaping unscathed from a bases loaded jam in the third, Pettibone cruised through the next three frames, throwing only 29 pitches in the process. Pettibone was pulled after getting two outs in the seventh, making Tuesday night’s start the longest of his career.
MAYBERRY, LONG BALL THE DIFFERENCE FOR PHILS OFFENSE
– Lefty killer John Mayberry Jr. had the decisive knock for the Phils, lacing a two-run double off Indians southpaw Scott Kazmir into the left center gap in the fourth inning. Mayberry, whose double gave the Phils a 3-2 lead, had a much-needed three-hit night. He had three hits in all of May headed into Tuesday, which was good for an abysmal .143 average.
– Solo home runs by Domonic Brown and Kevin Frandsen were also critical. Brown’s dinger, a laser to right off Kazmir, was his seventh, tying him with Chase Utley for the team lead. Brown hit the ball hard all three times against Kazmir. His two hits raised his average against left-handers to an impressive .314. Three of his seven home runs have also come off lefties.
– While the solo shots did the job on Tuesday night, the Phillies need to figure out a way to get some runners on base. Incredibly, Brown’s bomb was the Phillies’ 16th straight home run with no one on. Their last non-solo HR came on April 27 at Citifield, also from Brown.
BULLPEN SHUTS THE DOOR
– With Mike Adams again unavailable, the Phillies bullpen got the job done in relief of Pettibone. Channeling his inner-Tony LaRussa, Charlie Manuel used a combination of Antonio Bastardo, Justin De Fratus and Jeremy Horst to get four outs and put the ball into the hands of Jonathan Papelbon, who put the Indians down in the ninth.
– A leadoff triple made for a nerve-racking eighth inning for the young trio. De Fratus and Horst each got a huge out with two runners on base. It would seem, for the time being, that De Fratus has passed Phillippe Aumont on the Phillies bullpen depth chart.
DID YOU NOTICE?
– Brantley’s two-run knock came shortly after a Carlos Santana fly ball down the left field line fell in for a double. It appeared that Domonic Brown could have had a play on the ball if he would have dove. Had he missed, a run definitely would have scored.
– The Indians loaded the bases in the third inning without a hit. Pettibone walked a batter and hit two before getting Mark Reynolds to pop up to end the inning. On the previous pitch, Reynolds fisted a flare over a diving Ryan Howard that was called a foul ball. It appeared to hit Howard’s mitt very, very close to the foul line. Regardless of where it would have landed, the Phillies were fortunate the call went their way.
– The base running woes continued for the Phillies, as Frandsen was doubled up in the fifth inning on a shallow fly ball into centerfield. Frandsen, who was off from first on the no-out, 3-2 pitch, did not appear to be duped by the Indians infielders. It looked like he simply misread the ball off the bat.
– Manuel pulled Pettibone in the seventh with two outs and no one on base. The rookie had thrown only 92 pitches.