Maikel Franco looks to the sky while crossing home plate after hitting a grand slam in the Phillies’ 6-2 win over the Dodgers. (USA Today Images
Jimmy Rollins returned to the Philadelphia Phillies for the 1st time in Los Angeles Dodgers Blue, to a typically excellent tribute by Video Dan Stephenson before what promised to be a huge reception to lead off the game…and what a sustained and moving ovation it was! J-Roll had to step out of the batters box and doff his cap twice to get the phans to sit down. He got cheered even more walking off after Jerome Williams struck him out. After the emotional moment passed, Williams finished the 1st w/ little problem. This and the 2nd would be his only fairly easy innings w/ only a 2 out walk given up in each.
The 1st two innings the Phillies failed to score w/ RISP, going 0/3 in the 1st after Cesar Hernandez stretched his hitting streak to 5 games, w/ a double off the wall in the left center gap, but Alex Wood shut them down after that. In the 2nd, men on 1st and 2nd, one out, was erased as Wood induced a Carlos Ruiz DP ball.
Rollins, w/ a double in the 3rd, tying his best friend, Ryne Sandberg on the all-time hits list @ 122 w/ 2,386 (Carlos Beltran 8 hits ahead), set up a 2nd and 3rd w/ no outs, but Williams slithered out of it w/ a k surrounded by two GO’s.
Phils used that momentum to get on the board 1st on an RBI double by Odubel Herrara just inside the RF line, scoring Hernandez ( aboard on his 2nd hit of the night) from 1st, as the top of the order kept up their hot hitting ways.
Williams continued his Houdini act in the 4th getting out of a bases loaded no out hole this time w/ a K of Alex Guerrero and then a DP ball to Wood.
Williams not so solid in the 5th, as the Dodgers tied it up on the 3rd single of the inning, the last by Andre Ethier, scoring Howie Kendrick, but only gave up the one, earning himself at worse a No Decision as he leaves after 5, throwing 102 pitches, 7 hits, 3 BB’s, but also 6 K’s.
Overall the Phillies pitchers made this hard hitting Dodgers offense look more like the run-challenged Braves team that just left town, though LA, still in 1st place in the West, did have a sub .500 record on the road this season coming into this series. Alex Wood, meanwhile was pretty much in control of the Phillies bats.
The 7th inning would see a change in that as Chooch lead off w/ a single, and excellent base running by Carlos got him to 2nd on a grounder by Domonic Brown that easily could have been a DP or Ruiz out @ 2nd. After an IBB to Hernandez, a strange play this writer certainly has not seen before, occurred where the ball came loose from Wood’s hand on a 3-2 count not even getting out of the infield dribbling between 1st and home, and called a balk, because it did not cross the foul line, so the runners move up to 2nd and 3rd – instead of a walk/wild pitch in which Ruiz could score. Eventually the bases became loaded on a walk to Herrera. This chased Alex Wood from the game.
Thus the scene was set for Maikel Franco who, in his 1st hit in 7 tries w/ bases loaded, blasted a no doubt about it Grand Slam 4 rows deep in LF on a 1-1 hanging curve ball by Joel Peralta, further raising his profile in the Rookie of the Year picture.
In his 2nd inning of work in the 8th, Jeanmar Gomez made it a bit more interesting, giving up a run w/ 2 outs and leaving w/ 2 on board. Ken Giles, in what then was a save opp, got Rollins w/ the ʞ on his 3rd fastball in a row.
Phils got the insurance run right back off of Luis Avilan making the 9th that much easier for Giles w/ Brown knocking in Freddy Galvis.
Giles struggled a bit but eventually set down the Dodgers in the 9th, finishing w/a foul tip 3rd strike on Yasiel Puig. to end the BallGame!
Put another one in the Win Column for Jeanmar Gomez (1-2), his 1st as a Phillie, & the Phightin’ Phils! Give the L to Alex Wood (7-7), and the save to Ken Giles (3/3) in front of 28,733 Phans, on a warm but breezy night @ Citizens Bank Park.
Rollins eventually got two hits to move past Sandberg .Rollins has 2,387 hits and trails the Yankees’ Carlos Beltran by seven hits.
The win was the Phillies 13th in 16 games since the AS break, in which they have yet to lose back-to-back games. Before the break, the Phillies had won consecutive games just three times since May 1.
The last two games of the series will feature Aaron Harang (5-11, 3.97) Vs lefty Brett Anderson (5-6, 3.14), and David Buchanan (2-5 6.44) Vs Zach Greinke (10-2 1.41) in the Thursday Matinee.
Lastly thanks to my PattisonAvenue.comrades Ali Van Norden and Zach Bates for switching up assignments w/ me so I could do the game tonight. It is a pleasure to write about this team right now.