Altherr's grand slam lifts Phillies over Kershaw and the Dodgers

Aaron Altherr grand slam lifts Phillies past Kershaw and the Dodgers.
Aaron Altherr respects Clayton Kershaw, so it was even more special when he cranked a grand slam to the second deck in left field Monday night as the Phillies toppled the Dodgers 4-3 at Citizens Bank Park.

The grand slam was the first ever surrendered by Kershaw.

"That's obviously pretty special to be the first one to do that," Altherr said. "I definitely don't take it for granted. He's obviously a really good pitcher. I just thank God I was able to get a pitch to hit."

Kershaw cruised through the first five innings before running into trouble in the sixth. Ty Kelly worked a walk to open the frame and Freddy Galvis reached on a bloop single. Rhys Hoskins then worked a seven-pitch walk to load the bases for Altherr who crushed a slider into the seats in left.

“You try to make it just another game,” Altherr said. “But deep down you know it’s really not because of how good he is and how good he’s been over the years. He’s a future Hall of Famer.”

The Dodgers jumped ahead early with Chris Taylor and Justin Turner hitting back-to-back homers to open the contest off Phillies starter Nick Pivetta. The rookie calmed down though, allowing only two more hits over the next six innings. The victory was just his second since August 1.

“I wouldn't have gotten that win if Altherr hadn't hit that grand slam and it wouldn't even have started if Ty didn't get that walk and Freddy didn't get that hit and we didn't get another walk, so the guys putting up good (at-bats) in that situation was really nice to see,” Pivetta said. “This win goes out to the team around me and not just me. I mean, yes, I put in five shutout innings after that but just having those guys pick me up at the end, I think that's what really contributed to this win.”

Though it means nearly nothing as far as standings are concerned, Monday's win was significant for the Phillies. Five rookies were in the starting lineup and the average age of the starting nine was 25. There's inexperience all over the roster and questions abound about who'll be starting and in what position come next season. Through all that, the club competed against one of the best teams in baseball and hung a loss on one of the greatest pitchers of the last quarter century.

“We have a lot of talent on this team," said Jorge Alfaro. "I feel like we can play with anybody and get a win. It’s just a matter of things coming together. Lately, they have been. It's definitely a bright future looking forward.”

Manager Pete Mackanin feels the same way.

“You want to play in the big leagues, let’s play in the big leagues,” he said before the game. “We don’t want platoon players. We want everyday players.”

Since the All-Star break the Phillies are 30-33 and have a winning record (16-14) over their last 30 games. Stars are emerging and there's a certain level of confidence beginning to emulate from the clubhouse.

Baseball in Philadelphia appears to finally be on an upswing.

“Everyone is full of energy,” Mackanin said, “and it’s a lot of fun going down the stretch.”
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Follow Patrick on Twitter: @PGordonPBR

BY PATRICK GORDON
Managing Editor
pgordon@philadelphiabaseballreview.com

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