Light-hitting Galvis leads Phillies past Indians
PHILADELPHIA — Two bloops fell for the Philadelphia Phillies. Two blasts by the Cleveland Indians were caught.
That was ultimately the difference Saturday night, as the Phillies beat the Indians 4-3 for their fifth straight victory.
The second of the bloops, off the bat of light-hitting shortstop Freddy Galvis, fell in right field for the go-ahead RBI single in the seventh inning.
The game wasn’t decided, however, until Philadelphia’s Peter Bourjos snagged a smash to deep right field by Jason Kipnis for the final out, after Cleveland put runners at second and third against Phillies closer Jeanmar Gomez in the ninth.
It’s the way things have been going of late for Philadelphia, which has won eight of nine to improve to 14-10. It is the first time the Phillies, who lost their first four games this year, have been four games over .500 since the end of the 2011 season. They finished 63-99 in 2015, the major leagues’ worst record.
“It’s a good feeling, especially with the 0-4 start,” manager Pete Mackanin said. “Starting off the season, coming off last year, we figured that our pitching was going to be better and after those first four games it didn’t look like it. But everyone settled in place.”
Galvis also hit a two-run homer in the first inning for Philadelphia, though Mackanin said it concerns him when the 5-10, 185-pounder goes deep, as he then tends to overswing.
“We’re constantly telling him about shortening his swing and not hitting the ball too hard,” Mackanin said. “Then he comes up and hits a changeup (from Indians starter Trevor Bauer) out of the ballpark. I’ll take it.”
With the score tied at 3-3 in the seventh, Galvis batted with two outs and David Lough at second. Lough, batting for winning pitcher Andrew Bailey (1-0), had led off with the inning’s first bloop, a single to center. He then advanced on Bourjos’ bunt.
One out later Galvis dropped an 0-1 pitch from reliever Tommy Hunter (0-1) into right for his decisive hit.
For that at-bat, at least, there was no concern about overswinging.
“It’s something that happens,” Galvis said, “but right now I just try to work to put the ball in play and put the ball on the ground.”
He was asked which at-bat enjoyed more — the one that resulted in his homer or the one in the seventh.
“I’ll take both,” he said.
Then he laughed.
“The one in the seventh inning is much better,” he said, “because I knocked in the winning run.”
The Indians put runners at second and third in the eighth, but Philadelphia center fielder Odubel Herrera caught Juan Uribe’s drive to the wall. And in the ninth the Indians again threatened before Kipnis sent a screamer to right.
Bourjos said he broke on the ball, then hesitated for a split-second just to make sure there wasn’t top spin on it, which would have caused it to drop in front of him.
“It took off,” he said. “A couple steps into it I realized I had a pretty good bead on it, and as long as I had enough room to catch it I would.”
It was a particularly gratifying moment, considering he is hitting just .164.
“You make a catch in the ninth inning to save the game, it makes you feel a little bit better,” he said. “That’s something I take a lot of pride in — my defense. I do take a lot of pride in my offense. That needs to start coming along.”
Kipnis drove in two runs for Cleveland, which has dropped four of five, all by a single run.
“Uribe hit it as well as he could hit it, and the kid in right field made a nice play (on Kipnis’ ball),” manager Terry Francona said. “That was two really good at-bats. Sometimes you have to tip your hat. Uribe’s didn’t go out, and the right fielder made a nice play. That’s the way it goes.”
Philadelphia starter Jerad Eickhoff went six innings and yielded three runs and six hits while striking out four. He did not issue a walk.
Bauer made his first start of the season in place of an injured Carlos Carrasco, going four innings and allowing three runs and five hits while striking out four and walking two.
Herrera lined Bauer’s first pitch in the bottom of the first into center field for a single, extending his hitting streak to 11 games and his on-base streak, already a career best, to 21.
Galvis then hit his third homer of the season, giving the Phillies a 2-0 lead.
Eickhoff made it 3-0 with an RBI single in the second. The hit scored Darin Ruf, who opened the inning with a double.
Kipnis’ sacrifice fly in the third drove in the Indians’ first run of the night, and Cleveland scored twice in the fifth to tie it.
Tyler Naquin led off the inning with a triple and came home on a sacrifice fly by Roberto Perez. Lonnie Chisenhall then singled off Eickoff’s glove and one out later stole second. Kipnis then concluded a nine-pitch at-bat by lining a run-scoring single to center, making it 3-3.
Philadelphia missed an opportunity to take the lead in the bottom of the fifth when Herrera attempted to score from third after reliever Joba Chamberlain bounced a 1-2 breaking ball to Ryan Howard. Perez, the Indians’ catcher, blocked the ball, recovered it when it bounced a few feet away and tagged Herrera as he made a headfirst dive toward the plate.
NOTES: Philadelphia’s pitchers recorded five strikeouts in the game and finished April with an average of 10.19 per nine innings. They joined the 2013 Detroit Tigers as the only teams to ever average more than 10 per nine innings in a full calendar month. The Tigers averaged 10.27 in September of that season. ... The Phillies placed RHP Dalier Hinojosa on the 15-day disabled list because of a bruised right hand and recalled RHP Colton Murray from Triple-A Lehigh Valley. ... First baseman Ryan Howard’s walk-off home run in the 11th inning of Friday’s 4-3 victory over Cleveland was the sixth such homer he has hit in his 13-year career with the Phillies. Five have come in extra innings, the most in franchise history and third-most among active major leaguers, according to Elias. Albert Pujols of Anaheim has eight and Alex Rodriguez of the Yankees has six. ... The home run was the 362nd of Howard’s career, moving him past Joe DiMaggio and into sole possession of 81st place on the all-time list. ... Cleveland has three walk-off losses this season, all coming in the last four games. The other two came Monday and Tuesday in Minnesota.