Settling the Score: Friday’s results

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Outfielder Carlos Beltran saved the Yankees from ignominy on Friday night, slugging a pinch-hit, go-ahead, three-run home run in the eighth inning against reliever Aaron Sanchez in a 4-3 win over the Blue Jays. Chase Headley had knocked in the Yankees’ first run of the game against starter David Price with a ground-rule double earlier that inning, marking the first time the Yankees had scored against the Blue Jays since the second inning on August 7, the first game of a three-game series. The Blue Jays had held them scoreless for 33 consecutive innings before Headley’s double.

The Blue Jays’ 11-game winning streak also ended on Friday night. Since shortstop Troy Tulowitzki’s first game with the Blue Jays on July 29, the club had won 14 of 15 games. They went from 51-51 in third place and seven games out of first place to 64-52, leading the AL East by half a game over the Yankees entering Friday’s action. They’re now a half-game behind the Yankees.

Katie Sharp of River Ave Blues provided some interesting trivia from the game. Beltran’s pinch-hit homer was the second of his career, with the other occuring on May 18, 2003 against the Blue Jays. Beltran became the first Yankee with a go-ahead home run when trailing in the eighth inning or later on the road since Don Mattingly on July 24, 1994 against the then-California Angels.

Your Friday box scores and recaps:

Cubs 6, White Sox 5

Athletics 6, Orioles 8 (13 innings)

Pirates 3, Mets 2 (10 innings)

Yankees 4, Blue Jays 3

Diamondbacks 2, Braves 3

Mariners 1, Red Sox 15

Phillies 1, Brewers 3

Rays 3, Rangers 5

Marlins 1, Cardinals 3

Angels 1, Royals 4

Padres 9, Rockies 5

Indians 6, Twins 1

Tigers 1, Astros 5

Reds 3, Dodgers 5

Nationals 5, Giants 8

Phillies walk off winners thanks to a poor decision by Marcell Ozuna

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The Phillies’ bullpen, which has not been good as of late, gift-wrapped Monday’s game for the Cardinals. Starter Nick Pivetta was brilliant, fanning 13 while allowing two runs in 7 1/3 innings. But things unraveled after he left the game. Victor Arano took over for Edubray Ramos to start the ninth inning with the Phillies leading 4-2, but he allowed a one-out single and a double. After striking out Harrison Bader, Arano appeared to strike out Yairo Munoz for the final out of the game, but the ball trickled through the legs of catcher Andrew Knapp, allowing a run to score and the tying run to move to third base. Lefty Adam Morgan came in to face pinch-hitter Kolten Wong. Wong tied the game up, sneaking a single into center field.

In the 10th inning, Jake Thompson gave up the go-ahead run on a leadoff home run to Tommy Pham. It seemed like it was just going to be another one of those losses that have become increasingly common for the Phillies lately. But the Phillies’ offense didn’t go down quietly, even though it hadn’t put a runner on second base since the start of the second inning when J.P. Crawford doubled. In the bottom half of the 10th, Hoskins blooped a single into shallow left-center to start the inning. Hoskins moved to second base on a ground out from Odubel Herrera. Matt Bowman intentionally walked Carlos Santana, then struck out Jesmuel Valentin. That brought up Aaron Altherr, who replaced Nick Williams after Williams took a baseball to the face off of the right field fence. Bowman fell behind 2-1, then threw a 90 MPH fastball that Altherr lined into left field. Rather than keep the ball in front of him, Marcell Ozuna decided to dive for the ball to make the final out, but he missed. The ball trickled past him, allowing the tying and the game-winning runs to score, giving the Phillies a come-from-behind win.

On the list of people happy to see Ozuna miss that ball are Altherr (of course), Arano, Morgan, and Thompson. But perhaps no one was happier than manager Gape Kapler. The win might help take the heat off of him somewhat after another poor performance from the bullpen. When a team struggles, everyone wants a scapegoat and Kapler is an easy target. He has been all year, undeservingly.

Phillies radio broadcaster and former major league reliever Larry Anderson said after the bullpen meltown, “Not everybody can pitch in the ninth inning. And I know Gabe Kapler thinks they can, but they can’t.” Aside from Ramos and Seranthony Dominguez (who was unavailable after throwing 52 pitches between Saturday and Sunday in Milwaukee), no one in that bullpen has been reliable. The closer, Hector Neris, just got optioned to Triple-A. You work with what you have, and right now, Kapler doesn’t have a whole lot. Thankfully for him, he wasn’t punished with another loss thanks to Ozuna.