Sunday, July 23, 2017

Phillies bats stay hot; take game, series from Brewers

Nick Williams blast highlights Phillies win
Nick Williams drilled a Junior Guerra pitch into the seats in left to even the contest in the fourth before the Phillies rallied for four more runs in the fifth en route to a 6-3 win over the Brewers in the series finale at Citizens Bank Park.

The offensive output pushes the Phillies streak of games with at least five runs scored to seven, a mark last reached in June of the 2005 season. The Phillies have also homered in six straight contests for the first time since August of last year and are hitting .315 over the last seven games.

"My first year as a coach here was 2009," Phillies manager Pete Mackanin said. "In no way am I comparing ourselves to that team, but it's been reminiscent the way we've been swinging the bats of us coming back from behind and catching up to beat other teams."

Williams' blast was his fourth of the season and was an opposite field shot. He's now hit safely in eight consecutive games and reached base in 15 of his first 17 career starts.

"Hitting is contagious," Williams said. "When one guy does it why can't the next? That's how I think of it. I like to do whatever I can go start guys up and get the momentum going."

Howie Kendrick finished the afternoon with a pair of hits, including a two-run single to center in the fourth. It was a nice showing considering he is one of the Phillies primary trade chips with the trade deadline coming next week.

"If I was scouting for another organization I would recommend him." Mackanin said. "Not only is he a good hitter, but he plays solid defense out there. He doesn't have the greatest range, but he's at least average to maybe even a tick above average. We'll see, I'm sure there's interest in a lot of our guys."

Jerad Eickhoff secured the win, tossing six innings while surrendering just two runs on three hits. He also helped himself out offensively collecting two hits.  He's now lasted at least six innings in four of his last five starts.

Luis Garcia pitched a perfect ninth to secure the save, his first since October of 2015 and just the third of his career.

The Phillies welcome the Astros to Citizens Bank Park tomorrow to begin a three-game set. Houston has the best record in the American League and entering Sunday had a 16 1/2 game lead in the AL West over the second place Seattle Mariners.

"My wife told me to smile when we win," Mackanin said. "She said I haven't been smiling a lot, so I'm going to try and smile today."

On the Mend
Mackanin said Aaron Altherr will return to the Phillies lineup as early as Tuesday when he's eligible to come off the 10-day disabled list. The outfielder injured his right hamstring legging out a double in the Phillies' first game back following the All-Star break. He's hitting .288 this season with a .898 OPS in 79 games.

Streak Continues
Pat Neshek pitched another scoreless inning on Sunday, pushing his streak to 23 appearances at Citizens Bank Park this year without surrendering a run. The streak marks just the third time in the last 10 seasons that any major league reliever began a season with as many scoreless appearances at home. He's the only pitcher in Citizens Bank Park history to have a 0.00 ERA over a minimum of 20 innings pitched.  
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Follow Patrick on Twitter: @PGordonPBR

BY PATRICK GORDON
Managing Editor
pgordon@philadelphiabaseballreview.com

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