It takes extras but Phillies beat Braves via Santana sac-fly

Carlos Santana sac-fly lifts Philadelphia past Atlanta
Gabe Kapler stood just outside the Phillies' clubhouse late Friday night and offered a grin, having secured the first victory of the season and his first as Phillies manager with a 5-4, 11-inning result over the Braves at SunTrust Park.

"Pretty exhilarating," Kapler said. "I think it was a really shared victory. There were a lot of contributions. A tremendous performance by our bullpen. We've discussed this and continue to say it: It's the strength of our club, a major strength of our club. We're going to continue to lean on those guys."

Carlos Santana collected his first Phillies hit with a homer in the fifth to even the contest at 3. He drove in three runs on the evening, including the game-winner in the 11th with a sacrifice fly to score J.P. Crawford. Santana looked lost at first against Braves reliever Shane Carle, flailing at two pitches and falling behind 0-2, but he battled back to launch a fly-ball to left field allowing Crawford to scamper home with the winning run.

"Unbelievable at-bat," Kapler said of Santana in the 11th. "Incredible at-bat. Down 0-2 on swings that weren't perfect Santana swings, but he grinded, he battled, he saw pitches and then he was able to get the fat part of the bat on the ball and drive the ball out to left field. A really exceptional at-bat."

Kapler used nine pitchers in the contest. Starter Nick Pivetta needed 78 pitches and lasted just four innings, surrendering three runs on five hits. Victor Arano, Hoby Milner, Edubray Ramos, Adam Morgan, Yacksel Rios, Luis Garcia, Hector Neris, and Drew Hutchison all contributed in relief to record the final 21 outs with Hutchison notching the win.



The nine pitchers were the most used by the Phillies in a non-September game since Aug. 24, 2013,

"I'm well aware that we can't use everybody every night if that's what you're asking me," Kapler said. "But I can also tell you that we'll be creative and we'll be flexible and we'll find ways to put together a bullpen that's going to be protective."

Rhys Hoskins blasted his first homer of the season to get the Phillies on the board in the third. He finished the night with two hits.

Scott Kingery made his Major League debut, collecting his first hit with a dart up the middle in the fourth. He added another single to center in the eighth. Both balls traveled at 108 mph off the bat, according to Statcast. With the two singles, he became the first Phillies rookie to have two hits in his debut since Domonic Brown on July 28, 2010.

"Getting that first one out of the way kind of lifts a big weight off your shoulders," Kingery said.

Did You Notice?
Scott Kingery started the game at third base and was involved in the game from a defensive perspective in the opening inning. He had to track down and go a long way to snag a pop-fly in the first and also because a shift was on make a tag at second base on a steal attempt.

The only miscue in the field he made came in the eighth when he failed to cover third on a chopper, allowing Freddie Freeman to go from first to third.

Player of the Game
Based on Fangraphs Win Probability Added statistic, Drew Hutchison had the highest on the night for the Phillies at .344. He tossed two innings to secure the win, surrendering just one hit. He struck out two and walked one.

Offensively, Cesar Hernandez finished with a WPA of .317 while Carlos Santana ended with a .273. Hernandez singled in the ninth pushing Crawford to third setting up Santana to drive him home via the sacrifice fly.

Game Ball
Drew Hutchison sat the baseball that recorded the final out on Gabe Kapler's desk. Kapler also kept the lineup card.
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BY PATRICK GORDON
Managing Editor
pgordon@philadelphiabaseballreview.com

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