Cliff Lee, Freddy Galvis spark Phillies to beat Padres, 4-2
Only one team in the National League has hit fewer home runs than the Phillies and San Diego Padres - the Miami Marlins - but last night in South Philly, the two light-hitting lineups took advantage of the balmy conditions at home run-friendly Citizens Bank Park and had an ol'-fashioned solo home run derby in South Philly.
Tommy Medica broke a scoreless tie in the fifth by collecting his first major league hit by way of a home run off All-Star Cliff Lee. Saturday night home run hero Freddy Galvis tied it in the next half inning.
San Diego's Jedd Gyorko untied it in the sixth, but Jimmy Rollins flipped his bat aside after answering with a solo shot of his own in the bottom half.
A game chock full of homers, however, wasn't decided on a long ball. Instead, the difference came courtesy of a ground ball that barely traveled 75 feet.
After leading off the seventh inning with a double, his third hit of the night, Galvis scampered home from third on a grounder to first off the bat of Cesar Hernandez to help deliver the Phillies a 4-2 win.
"Hernandez avoided the strikeout and put the ball in play and Freddy got a very good jump," manager Ryne Sandberg said of the game-winning run.
Galvis, who finished 3-for-3 with two runs, two RBI and a triple away from the cycle, drove home an insurance run in his final at-bat with a safety-squeeze bunt.
"I just tried to put the ball in play," Galvis said of his final at-bat, which gave closer Jonathan Papelbon breathing room. "I got a good pitch right in the middle and thank God it worked out."
Galvis, who could find a permanent place on a major league bench for the first time in 2014, impressed in his sixth start in seven games since returning from Triple A last week.
"That's his game, situational guy, handles the bat, good hit-and-run guy, safety-squeeze," Sandberg said. "He battled the pitcher real good on outside soft stuff. He's a thinking guy at home plate, maybe thinking with the pitcher. He got an inside fastball and put a short stroke on it for a home run. Those are the types of things Freddy can do and needs to do."
The victory was the fourth for the Phillies in their last five games.
Lee collected his second victory in as many starts. Lee held the Padres to the two solo home runs, allowing five hits while striking out nine and walking one over eight innings.
He hasn't allowed more than three runs in any of his last eight starts. He lowered his season ERA to 2.97, which ranks seventh in the National League.
"Cliff was outstanding," Sandberg said. "He battled and did a good job."
Lee had already thrown 91 pitches when he went back to the dugout after the seventh inning. But when his spot in the order came up after Galvis' double and a walk from John Mayberry Jr., Sandberg decided to stick with his starter and use him to move the baserunners over.
Lee obliged and got the chance to pitch the eighth inning, too.
"A lot of times you get pinch-hit for right there," Lee said. "I was glad he had enough faith in me to get the bunt down and execute, then go back out there in the eighth to put a zero up . . . It looked like a smart move because I got the bunt down. If I hadn't gotten the bunt down and done something stupid like hit into a doubleplay, it would've looked like a bad move. But I made it look like a really good move."
Lee pitched eight innings for the fourth time in his last six starts. He has a 2.25 ERA over that span.
"As a starting pitcher that's what you should do: try to go as deep into the game as you can," Lee said. "The only way I know how to do that is throw strikes, don't walk guys, and make them earn their way on base. Those are things I constantly focus on. I've had a better changeup lately and I think that's helped."
Rollins' game-tying home run in the sixth inning was his first in nearly 2 months.
Before yesterday, Rollins hadn't homered since July 20, a span of 44 games and 181 plate appearances. Going back to June 1, Rollins had one home run in 359 plate appearances.
Rollins has six home runs on the season, the same number as Galvis. He's never hit fewer than eight in a season and hit 23 home runs last season.
"I haven't really seen anything," Sandberg said of Rollins' home run stroke. "He's just missed some, I would say. It was a good swing from the right side [last night]."
Rollins' next home run will be the 200th of his career. When he hits it, he'll will be one of 10 players in major league history with at least 200 home runs and 400 stolen bases, joining Hall of Famers Roberto Alomar, Joe Morgan, Rickey Henderson, Paul Molitor, along with Barry and Bobby Bonds, Craig Biggio, Johnny Damon and Marquis Grissom.
Former Phillie Bobby Abreu finished his career last season with 287 home runs and 399 stolen bases.
On Twitter: @ryanlawrence21