Evan Gattis was the Braves’ only source of offense this afternoon against Cole Hamels in the series finale in Philadelphia. The Braves scored two runs on two hits, both Gattis solo home runs — one in the second inning, and one in the seventh, giving him 18 on the season. The Phillies scored twice in the first inning against Braves starter Paul Maholm on an RBI double by Chase Utley and an RBI single by Darin Ruf.
After Hamels tossed a scoreless eighth inning, running his pitch count to 99, Darin Ruf cracked a tie-breaking solo home run to right field against Braves reliever David Carpenter. B.J. Rosenberg was called on in the ninth to lock down the save, and he retired the Braves in short order for his first career save. The Phillies complete a sweep for the first time since June 3-5 against the Marlins. The Braves were last swept August 22-24 against the Cardinals.
The first home run by Gattis, which landed in the concourse area in left-center at Citizens Bank Park, was measured at 486 feet, the longest of the season according to ESPN Stats & Info. Logan Morrison hit one to right-center at Marlins Park on Friday that measured at 484 feet.
The Mets have begun working outfielder Jay Bruce and second baseman Neil Walker at first base as potential insurance in the event Lucas Duda continues to experience back discomfort, Mike Puma of the New York Post reports. Duda has been sidelined recently due to back spasms and missed all but 47 games last season as a result of a stress fracture in his lower back.
Manager Terry Collins spoke about Bruce’s work at first base on Sunday, saying, “I liked everything I saw today. “It looks like he’s got the athleticism, he’s got the hands, he’s got the arm angle. He made some throws in our drills that you wouldn’t expect an outfielder to be able to make, but yet he does. If that’s where we have to go, I think we’ll be fine.”
Bruce has only three games’ worth of experience at first base at the major league level, but still has high expectations for himself. He said, “I am going to work at it. I want to give myself a chance and the team a chance. I am not going to go over there and be a butcher. It’s just not the way I go about my business on the baseball field and it wouldn’t be fair to the team if I wasn’t capable to do it, so I am going to work at it and we’ll see what happens.”
The Mets made Bruce available via trade over the offseason but didn’t get an offer that whet their appetite. As a result, Michael Conforto appears to be the odd man out in the Mets’ crowded outfield.
Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis has been diagnosed with a strained rotator cuff in his right shoulder, MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian reports. Kipnis has received a cortisone shot and will be shut down from throwing for the next four to five days.
There’s a lot of spring left, so it’s perfectly sensible for the Indians to play it safe with their star player. The club already had Kipnis on a shoulder strengthening program.
Kipnis, 29, helped the Indians to the playoffs after batting .275/.343/.469 with 23 home runs, 92 RBI, 91 runs scored, and 15 stolen bases in 688 plate appearances during the regular season last year. He then helped the Indians reach Game 7 of the World Series against the Cubs, where they were eventually stopped, as he provided a .741 OPS including four homers and eight RBI in 15 playoff games.