Phillies’ second Charlie Manuel era off to an auspicious start

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Hours before the Phillies opened up a three-game home series against the Cubs on Tuesday, the club announced that hitting coach John Mallee was fired. Former manager and then-senior advisor to the GM Charlie Manuel was hired to replace him.

Mallee was hired as part of rookie manager Gabe Kapler’s coaching staff last year. In 2018, the Phillies ranked 14th in batting average (.234), 10th in on-base percentage (.314), and 11th in slugging percentage (.393). In those same respective stats this season, the Phillies ranked 12th (.245), 10th (.322), and 12th (.417).

Manuel didn’t take his new role until Wednesday evening for game two of the Phillies’ series against the Cubs. The second Manuel era got off to an auspicious start as the Phillies’ offense battered Cole Hamels, making his first start in Philadelphia since being traded at the deadline in 2015. In two-plus innings of work, Hamels coughed up eight runs on nine hits and two walks. Reliever Alec Mill forked over a pair of runs in the third inning in relief of Hamels as the Phillies jumped out to a 10-0 lead after three frames. The crowd chanted, “Charlie! Charlie! Charlie!”

Bryce Harper opened the scoring in the bottom of the first inning with a two-run home run to left-center field. Starter Aaron Nola helped his own cause with an RBI single in the second and Rhys Hoskins later tacked on another run with a sacrifice fly. In the third, César Hernández and Adam Haseley both had RBI singles before J.T. Realmuto broke the game open with a grand slam off of Mills. Harper slugged a no-doubt solo homer off of Mills in the sixth for his second dinger of the game. Once again, the crowd at Citizens Bank Park erupted in chants of, “Charlie!”

Hard to draw it up any better than that if you’re the Phillies. They have the chance to go on a run as their upcoming schedule is not terribly difficult. After wrapping things up with the Cubs tomorrow, they’ll host the Padres before going on the road for five games against the Red Sox and Marlins. They’ll end August with home series against the Pirates and Mets, then head to Cincinnati for four games.

McCutchen’s sacrifice fly lifts Pirates to 5-4 win, extends Athletics’ road losing streak to 15

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PITTSBURGH – Andrew McCutchen’s tiebreaking sacrifice fly in the eighth inning lifted Pittsburgh to a 5-4 victory over Oakland on Monday night, extending the Pirates’ win streak to six games and sending the Athletics to their record-tying 15th consecutive road loss.

The 15 straight defeats away from home matches the Athletics’ record since they moved from Kansas City in 1968. Oakland set that mark in 1986.

The major league-worst Athletics (12-50) have lost five games in a row overall. They are on pace to finish the season exactly 100 games under .500 at 31-131.

“It’s tough,” Athletics manager Mark Kotsay said. “Tonight’s game, we didn’t play well enough to win the game. I don’t want to say we gave the game away but there were a lot of instances where we had a chance to capitalize on opportunities and didn’t do it.”

McCutchen also singled and drew three walks to go with two RBIs. The 2013 NL MVP now has 1,998 career hits.

With the score tied at 4, Ji Hwan Bae led off the decisive eighth inning with a single off Sam Moll (0-3) and advanced to third on Austin Hedges’ one-out single. McCutchen’s sac fly plated Bae.

“I was just trying to get the job done. I understand the situation there,” McCutchen said. “We just need to get the run. I was trying to bear down against a hard thrower and trying to get that run in as much as I can, and I was able to do it and have a good at-bat.”

Angel Perdomo (1-0) retired both hitters he faced. and Colin Holdeman pitched a scoreless ninth inning for his first career save. It was an eventful inning for Holderman as the first three batters reached base, but he struck out Carlos Perez with runners on the corners to end it.

“I began my career as a starting pitcher in the minor leagues but ever since I was switched to relief, this has been the goal, to get a save in the big leagues,” Holderman said.

Pittsburgh starter Johan Oviedo gave up three runs and four hits with five strikeouts and two walks.

Oakland left-hander JP Sears did not allow a hit until Mark Mathias’ leadoff single in the fifth but was unable to make it through the inning. Sears was charged with one run in 4 2/3 innings while allowing two hits, walking five and striking out six.

Sears has not allowed more than two runs in five consecutive starts. His nine no-decisions are the most in the major leagues.

Ryan Noda and Brent Rooker had two hits each for the Athletics.

The Athletics tied the score at 4-4 in the eighth inning on pinch-hitter Aledmys Diaz’s run-scoring double. Oakland left the bases loaded, though, when Nick Allen hit an inning-ending flyout.

Consecutive bases-loaded walks keyed a three-run sixth inning that put the Pirates 4-3. McCutchen and Bryan Reynolds each worked bases on balls off Shintaro Fujinami to tie the score at 3-all and pinch-hitter Jack Suwinski followed with a sacrifice fly.

The Athletics opened the scoring in the first inning when rookie Esteury Ruiz reached on catcher’s interference, stole his MLB-leading 30th base of the season and scored on Noda’s single. Seth Brown doubled in a run in the third and came home on Perez’s sacrifice fly to push Oakland’s lead to 3-0.

Connor Joe hit an RBI double for the Pirates in the fifth.

The Pirates drew 10 walks, their most in a game in nearly two years.

“We had a bunch of opportunities that we didn’t capitalize (on), but the thing I think I was most proud of is we got down and we didn’t rush to get back,” Pittsburgh manager Derek Shelton said. “We were still patient.”


Athletics: LHP Kirby Snead (strained shoulder) is expected to pitch in the Arizona Complex League on Tuesday, which will be his first game action since spring training. … RHP Freddy Tarnok (strained shoulder) will throw a bullpen on Tuesday.


Pirates catching prospect Henry Davis was promoted to Triple-A Indianapolis from Double-A Altoona. In 41 games at Double-A this season, the 23-year-old hit .284 with 10 home runs and seven stolen bases.

“He was performing offensively at a level where we felt like he was more than ready to meet the challenges,” Pirates general manager Ben Cherington said. “He improved as an offensive player even since spring training, focusing on the things we were challenging him on. Defensively, he’s made strides too.”

Davis was the first overall selection in the 2021 amateur draft from the University of Louisville.


Athletics RHP James Kaprielian (0-6, 8.12 ERA) will make his first start in June after taking the loss in all four starts in May and face RHP Mitch Keller (7-1, 3.25). Keller has eight or more strikeouts in seven consecutive starts, the longest streak by a Pirates pitcher in the modern era (since 1901).