rally, hand Phillies ninth loss in a row
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[June 23, 2016]
MINNEAPOLIS -- In a seesaw game
between two struggling teams, it was the Minnesota Twins who struck
the final blow.
Max Kepler's seventh-inning sacrifice fly provided the Twins with
the winning run in a 6-5 victory over the Philadelphia Phillies on
Wednesday night at Target Field.
With the game tied at 5, the Twins got back-to-back, one-out singles
from Trevor Plouffe and Eduardo Escobar to put runners on the
corners. Kepler lifted a fly ball to medium-deep left field, and
Plouffe tagged up and beat left fielder Cody Asche's throw home for
the lead run.
"One of those games where we had to fight," said Twins manager Paul
Molitor. "I thought we swung the bats well. We didn't capitalize too
much, we left some guys out there, but we got some hits with runners
in scoring position."
Taylor Rogers (3-0) earned the win for Minnesota, pitching one
shutout inning in relief of starter Kyle Gibson.
Ryan Pressly and Fernando Abad combined to retire the final six
Phillies to secure the victory. Abad earned his first career save,
working 1 1/3 innings.
The Phillies lost their ninth consecutive game, their longest streak
in exactly one year, when they were also mired in a nine-game skid.
Every hitter in the Minnesota lineup had at least one hit, led by
Plouffe, who had three hits, an RBI and two runs. Escobar and Robbie
Grossman had two hits apiece, and Escobar and Kepler each knocked in
Andres Blanco and Cameron Rupp each homered for the Phillies. Blanco
had three hits and drove in two runs.
Gibson allowed five runs (four earned) on eight hits and two walks
in six innings. He struck out five.
"(The stuff was) A little hit or miss at times," Gibson said.
"Except for the fifth inning, I was able to make pitches when I
needed to. Consistency with all my pitches was there."
Phillies reliever David Hernandez (1-2) was charged with the loss
after allowing one run on two hits and a walk in one inning.
Philadelphia starter Adam Morgan got a no-decision after giving up
five runs (four earned) on 11 hits and a walk in five innings. He
Morgan has allowed five runs or more in four of his last six starts
and saw his season ERA bloom to 6.55.
"Yeah, there's not much I really have to say, the only thing I know
to do is to keep going," Morgan said. "You go through these times
and the only way to get out of them is to keep going."
In the Minnesota first inning, after back-to-back, one-out singles,
Plouffe singled home the first run of the game.
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Rupp's solo homer in the second tied the game before Minnesota took
advantage of an errant pick-off throw by Morgan. Byron Buxton drew a
two-out walk, then drew the attention of the left-hander, who fired
wide of first baseman Tommy Joseph on a pickoff try. Buxton
scampered to second and scored on Eduardo Nunez's ensuing single.
The lead was again short-lived, as Blanco's solo blast in the third
tied the score at 2.
The Phillies moved in front in the fifth. One-out singles by Peter
Bourjos and Odubel Herrera set up Blanco, who ripped a single to
right field, where it skipped under the glove of Kepler and rolled
to the wall. Bourjos and Herrera scored, and Blanco wound up at
After an intentional walk to Maikel Franco, Ryan Howard snapped an
0-for-17 skid with an RBI single to center field, giving the
Phillies a 5-2 lead.
Minnesota got all three runs back in the bottom of the inning.
Escobar drove in a pair with a two-run triple that got over the head
of Bourjos in right, and he scored on Kepler's RBI single.
"It's nice to get a three-run lead, but then when you give it right
back to them that changes the whole momentum of the game. That was
tough to take," said Phillies manager Pete Mackanin. "Our pitching
has been our mainstay early in the season and not it's eluding us.
But it is good to see signs of life from the offense. Guys are
swinging the bats a little bit better."
NOTES: The start of the game was delayed 1 hour, 10 minutes by rain.
... Phillies INF Andres Blanco started his fifth consecutive game on
Wednesday. He was in the lineup at second base and batted second.
... Twins LHP Glen Perkins will undergo season-ending surgery on his
throwing shoulder on Thursday in Southern California. Perkins
pitched in just two games this season and has been on the 15-day
disabled list since mid-April. ... Twins OF Miguel Sano will begin a
rehab assignment with Triple-A Rochester on Friday. Sano, who has
been on the DL since June 1 with a strained hamstring, is expected
to spend a week-to-10 days with Rochester before returning to the
big league club. ... Philadelphia and Minnesota will conclude their
three-game series on Thursdayafternoon at Target Field. Phillies RHP
Jerad Eickhoff (4-9, 3.49 ERA) will oppose Twins RHP Ricky Nolasco
(3-4, 4.91 ERA).
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