Freddy Galvis, Darin Ruf power Phillies past Nationals
THE INNING began with Cole Hamels serving up a game-tying home run, being greeted by his manager, and handing the ball over with nary a word or even eye contact.
It ended with the rookie reliever hopping off the same mound in celebration, after striking out all three hitters he faced on 13 pitches.
The score remained the same, but a game Hamels had owned for six innings was suddenly going Washington's way, before Ken Giles entered and quieted the Nats' bats. Giles' latest dominating performance awakened the sleepy crowd at Citizens Bank Park.
"A big moment," manager Ryne Sandberg said afterward of the top half of the eighth inning. "Those are all big outs. It's all part of the energy he puts on the ball when he pitches; it's part of what he does."
The momentum carried over into the bottom half of the inning.
Ben Revere led off with a single, stole second, moved to third on a Jimmy Rollins fly ball and scored on a Carlos Ruiz sacrifice fly as the Phillies rallied to take a 4-3 victory last night. It was the Phillies' second straight one-run win over first-place Washington.
The Phillies (60-72) have won three consecutive series for the first time in 2014. It's actually the first time they've reeled off three straight series wins in more than a year: The last came July 2-13, 2013, when they won four straight against Pittsburgh, Atlanta, Washington and the Chicago White Sox, just before the All-Star break.
"Good energy," Sandberg said. "Guys are playing hard."
The win was the third of Giles' young career.
The 23-year-old future closer took over for Hamels after Asdrubal Cabrera's game-tying home run. The heart of Washington's order was due up.
Giles used a 99-mph fastball to dispatch Anthony Rendon, went to his slider to get Jayson Werth and then needed only three pitches - two fastballs and a slider - to strike out Ian Desmond. Giles has struck out 47 of the 121 batters he's faced this season, which should at least garner some attention of National League Rookie of the Year voters.
"Being able to see Giles go out there and pitch like he has all year, it's impressive," Hamels said of the reliever who helped saved the game.
Hamels had a lot less to say about the pitching change that brought Giles into the game and took him out. Asked after the game - twice - whether he was upset either with himself for the home run or with Sandberg for pulling him from the game, Hamels avoided the topic altogether.
"It was a good game that we won today," answered Hamels, who threw a season-low 84 pitches.
"I haven't talked to him yet," Sandberg said after the game. "He knew he was out there, hitter-by-hitter [in the eighth]."
Hamels needed only 59 pitches to get through six shutout innings, then allowed two runs on four hits and a walk in the seventh. Sandberg gave the pitcher a chance to rebound in the eighth, but his final frame lasted all of three pitches.
"Cole cruised for six innings and had some problems with location in the seventh," Sandberg said. "His pitches were up a little bit."
Did he consider taking out Hamels before the eighth inning began, with his team holding a 3-2 lead and Giles and Jonathan Papelbon able and ready?
"There was talk about it," Sandberg said. "I think he had 79 or 80 pitches. There was talk about it, but then again to send him out, hitter by hitter."
Before the Hamels-Sandberg handoff, and before Giles and Revere fueled the late-inning win, two former spring-training bench hopefuls helped Hamels put the Phillies in position for what once looked like an easy victory.
Freddy Galvis (2-for-3) had as many hits last night as he had in a monthlong stay with the Phillies at the beginning of the year. One of Galvis' hits was a home run.
Darin Ruf (2-for-3) also homered off Washington's Gio Gonzalez. Ruf was trying to make the most of what was only his seventh start of the month.
"I just wanted to try to be aggressive and I think that showed in my first couple of at-bats," Ruf said. "Swinging at strikes, trying to be aggressive and put the ball in play. Good things happen when that happens."
Five months earlier, with a week left in spring training, Ruf and Galvis, considered the top bat and glove for the bench, training, suffered season-altering injury and illnesses.
Galvis, who was diagnosed with a MRSA infection, played in only 16 games with the Phillies this season before rejoining the team this weekend. Ruf suffered a rib-cage injury in late March and appeared in only seven games with the Phillies before the All-Star break.
Both were hurt at Triple A Lehigh Valley, too, missing more significant time. Both Galvis and Ruf found spots in the starting lineup last night and helped the Phillies win for the sixth time in their last eight games.
"Freddy has been dealt a tough hand this year, too," Ruf said. "He's been positive throughout the whole thing. I got to spend some time with him in Florida when he was rehabbing from his collarbone. He's stayed positive, did well in Lehigh, got some at-bats and got his rhythm back. We all know Freddy can play. Freddy can hit, he picks it better than anybody. It's nice to have him contribute and show what he can do."
On Twitter: @ryanlawrence21