The Philadelphia offense came up with 14 largely unnecessary runs in support of All-Star Cole Hamels to rout the Braves on Sunday and finish the first half 57-34.
Hamels gave up just one run and three hits in improving to 11-4 this season. He has a 2.32 ERA and a 0.93 WHIP, but he was officially scratched from the All-Star Game roster because he pitched today.
Derek Lowe surrendered four runs over six innings for Atlanta. The Phillies did most of their damage against the underbelly of the Braves bullpen, roughing up Cory Gearrin and Scott Proctor for 10 runs in two innings.
Raul Ibanez hit a three-run homer and drove in six runs for Philadelphia. John Mayberry Jr. doubled three times and knocked in four runs. Even Rule 5 pick Michael Martinez had four hits, raising his average from .192 to .229.
The Phillies won two out of three in the series to open up a 3 1/2-game lead on the Braves in the NL East. The Braves, though, are five games ahead in the wild card as play shuts down for the next three days.
Royals’ Opening Day starter Danny Duffy weathered a minor scare during Saturday’s Cactus League game against the Diamondbacks. The left-hander was removed from his final spring training start after experiencing some left shoulder tightness in the second and third innings. No lasting damage appears to have been done — Duffy told reporters that he simply felt a slight ache, nothing more — and it looks like he’ll remain on track to open the season with the team next Thursday.
The 29-year-old southpaw is coming off one of his best performances to date. Despite losing a few weeks to an oblique strain and elbow soreness, he went 9-10 in 24 starts and finished the 2017 season with a 3.81 ERA, 2.5 BB/9 and 8.0 SO/9 over 146 1/3 innings. While Duffy entered camp with a clean bill of health, he struggled to execute against his spring training opponents and racked up 13 runs, four homers, seven walks and 11 strikeouts in 13 innings of Cactus League play.
The Royals are scheduled to kick off their home opener against the White Sox on Thursday, March 29 at 4:15 PM ET. Barring any further complications with his shoulder, Duffy will take the mound for the Royals, while James Shields is expected to make his first Opening Day appearance for the White Sox.