Flores hits game-ending, 2-run homer, Giants sweep Phillies

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SAN FRANCISCO – Carlos Rodon is hardly counting as his strikeouts pile up, even as the comparisons to Tim Lincecum keep coming.

Rodon reached the 200-strikeout mark for the first time in his career, then watched as Wilmer Flores hit a two-run homer with two outs in the ninth inning to send the San Francisco Giants over the Philadelphia Phillies 5-3 on Sunday for a three-game sweep.

The wild card-contending Phillies lost for the sixth time in seven games, wrapping up their weeklong trip to Arizona and San Francisco. Monday will mark the club’s first Labor Day off in 24 years, since 1998.

Yes, Rodon saw the scoreboard flash with the recognition of his 200 Ks. He struck out 10 over six scoreless innings.

“I’ve never done it, it’s a cool feat,” Rodon said, “but there’s a handful of games left so just keep going.”

He also tied two-time NL Cy Young Award winner Lincecum and Jason Schmidt for most double-digit strikeout performances over a single season in franchise history with nine.

Rookie Bryce Johnson, who got his first major league hit and RBI earlier in the game, drew a leadoff walk in the Giants ninth. David Robertson (3-2) struck out the next two batters before Flores hit his 17th home run.

J.T. Realmuto hit a tying, three-run homer in the Phillies eighth. Camilo Doval (5-6) pitched the ninth.

San Francisco had a chance in the eighth. LaMonte Wade Jr. singled with two outs off Robertson and Brandon Crawford walked to load the bases, but pinch-hitter Evan Longoria struck out swinging.

Wade broke up a scoreless game with a single in the fourth. Johnson’s RBI single capped a three-run inning, but the Giants bullpen couldn’t hold a 3-0 lead once Rodon exited.

Rodon bounced back from his first defeat in more than a month last Monday against San Diego. His nine double-digit strikeout games this season are a career best and match Angels star Shohei Ohtani for most in the majors.

“It doesn’t really tell the story of how good a player is but it certainly tells the story of how durable a player is,” manager Gabe Kapler said. “And Carlos inching towards the finish line, that complete season is really, you can see it, you can see the light at the end of the tunnel. And this is an indication that he’s really had a durable and consistent and very impressive overall season.”

The right-hander allowed five hits and walked two as San Francisco won its third straight following a seven-game losing streak. He heard the crowd support when he got through a tough sixth.

“We lost seven straight before,” the All-Star pitcher said. “It’s nice to still have fans in the stands.”

Realmuto connected for his 15th homer after the Phillies rallied against John Brebbia. Alec Bohm and Bryce Harper hit consecutive one-out singles.

Ranger Suarez was done after four innings for the Phillies and saw his winless stretch reach five starts since beating the Nationals on Aug. 6.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Phillies: RF Nick Castellanos went on the 10-day injured list in an expected move after he was injured on a swing Friday night here. An MRI exam revealed a mild right oblique strain, according to manager Rob Thomson. The move is retroactive to Saturday and Castellanos is expected to be back when eligible Sept. 13 and likely without playing in any minor league games. Regarded prospect INF/OF Dalton Guthrie was selected from Triple-A Lehigh Valley and will make his major league debut when he plays. … RHP Seranthony Dominguez, dealing with tendinitis in the triceps of his throwing arm, is scheduled to throw live batting practice Tuesday in Philadelphia after tossing a bullpen session Saturday. He could go on a rehab assignment from there.

Giants: 1B Brandon Belt was transferred to the 60-day injured list a day after undergoing arthroscopic surgery to repair cartilage in his right knee. The procedure was performed by Dr. Ken Akizuki. Belt, who hit a career-high 29 home runs in San Francisco’s 107-win 2021 season that ended with an NL West title, is expected to be sidelined for 8 to 10 weeks. … OF Austin Slater, who dislocated his left pinkie finger Tuesday night, . “This is ultimately going to be a pain tolerance thing,” Kapler said. “He’s not at risk.”

ROSTER MOVE

The Phillies designated INF Luis Garcia for assignment to make room for Guthrie on the 40-man roster.

San Francisco claimed INF/OF Jose Rojas off waivers from the Angels and optioned him to Triple-A Sacramento.

UP NEXT

Following an off day Monday, RHP Aaron Nola (9-11, 3.43 ERA) takes the mound Tuesday night at home against the Marlins having gone 1-3 over his last four outings.

RHP Logan Webb (11-8, 2.89) tries again for his career-best 12th victory and to snap a three-start skid when he pitches the series opener at Dodger Stadium on Monday night.

Royals fire manager Mike Matheny after 65-97 end to season

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Manager Mike Matheny and pitching coach Cal Eldred were fired by the Kansas Cty Royals on Wednesday night, shortly after the struggling franchise finished the season 65-97 with a listless 9-2 loss to the Cleveland Guardians.

The Royals had exercised their option on Matheny’s contract for 2023 during spring training, when the club hoped it was turning the corner from also-ran to contender again. But plagued by poor pitching, struggles from young position players and failed experiments with veterans, the Royals were largely out of playoff contention by the middle of summer.

The disappointing product led owner John Sherman last month to fire longtime front office executive Dayton Moore, the architect of back-to-back American League champions and the 2015 World Series title team. Moore was replaced by one of his longtime understudies, J.J. Picollo, who made the decision to fire Matheny hours after the season ended.

Matheny became the fifth big league manager to be fired this year.

Philadelphia’s Joe Girardi was replaced on June 3 by Rob Thomson, who engineered a miraculous turnaround to get the Phillies into the playoffs as a wild-card team. The Angels replaced Joe Maddon with Phil Nevin four days later, Toronto’s Charlie Montoyo was succeeded by John Schneider on July 13 and the Rangers’ Chris Woodward by Tony Beasley on Aug. 15.

In addition, Miami’s Don Mattingly said late last month that he will not return next season.