This holiday weekend has been very kind to the Phillies as they welcomed the Royals, the defending World Series champs, into town. The Phillies are starting to turn things around again as they won another series by taking two out of three games against Kansas City at Citizens Bank Park.
After sweeping the Arizona Diamondbacks the previous series, the Phillies looked to extend their win streak to four games on Friday night. Jeremy Hellickson (6-6; 4.06 ERA) took the mound against Ian Kennedy (6-7, 4.04 ERA). The Phillies took an early 1-0 lead as Odubel Herrera hit his first career leadoff home run. The lead would not last long as the Royals tied it up in the top of the second inning with an RBI single from Cheslor Cuthbert. The Phillies would fight back and score three unanswered runs throughout the third, fifth, and sixth innings. With Philadelphia up 4-1 in the bottom of the eighth inning, Kendrys Morales brought the game to within one run as he hit a two-run home run off of David Hernandez (1-2; 4.76 ERA). Luckily Jeanmar Gomez (3-2; 2.75 ERA) came in the top of the ninth inning and closed out the game for this 22nd save of the season. The Phillies fans enjoyed a 4-3 victory with a beautiful fireworks display to follow.
The Royals showed why they were World Series champs on Saturday. Aaron Nola (5-8; 4.69 ERA) continues to struggle as it was announced today he will skip his scheduled start on Thursday to “clear his head”. With the Phillies winning 1-0 in the top of the second inning, he was hit up for five earned runs. Nola gave up an RBI single to starter Danny Duffy (4-1; 3.11 ERA) and Whit Merrifield before Morales hit a three-run home run to close out the scoring that inning. While Nola did not give up another run for his remaining three innings, it would not be enough as Philadelphia was only able to score one more run the entire game. The Phillies would fall to the Royals, 6-2.
Sunday was the rubber match for the weekend series. Vince Velasquez (7-2; 3.34 ERA) was the starter for Philadelphia and gave the club a scare within his first five pitches of the game. After his fifth pitch, he was checked out by the Phillies training staff in what many thought was a set back from his previous injury this season. He told the staff he was fine and went on to pitch six strong innings of two-run baseball. Cameron Rupp started things early on Sunday with a three-run home run in the bottom of the first inning. Cody Asche joined in on the fun in the third inning with a solo shot of his own. The Royals brought the game to within two runs in the fifth inning due to Alex Gordon‘s two-run home run. With the game 4-2, the Phillies went on to score three unanswered runs, including Maikel Franco, who knocked in runs 1st w/ a rare infield single, and then a solo shot to deep left center field, throughout their final five frames as they went on to beat the Royals, 7-2.
The Phillies welcome the Atlanta Braves into town for a three-game series. Game 1 of the series is tomorrow, our nation’s birthday, at 4:05pm.