Phillies win fifth in a row with victory over Brewers, 5-1
MILWAUKEE — Four weeks ago, Tyler Cloyd pitched into the seventh inning of his first major league game of the season, holding the hot-hitting Arizona Diamondbacks to two runs. Before the night was over, he was optioned to Triple A Lehigh Valley.
Cloyd wasn't guaranteed anything on that night and he might not be around a month from now, either.
John Lannan was scheduled to make his first rehab start last night in Clearwater before rain washed out the game, and tonight in Reading, Carlos Zambrano will try to impress in his quest for a return to the big leagues.
But like J.A. Happ and Vance Worley before him, Cloyd can carve out a place for himself on a major league roster if he keeps proving the doubters around him wrong and continues to get big-league hitters out.
Cloyd did that last night at Miller Park in Milwaukee.
On the night Major League Baseball held its annual amateur draft, where high school kids with big arms get in line to receive big-dollar bonuses, Cloyd, a former 18th-round pick with more brain than brawn, flirted with a shutout in the Phillies' 5-1 win over the Brewers.
"He did an outstanding job," manager Charlie Manuel said of his rookie starter.
Cloyd kept Milwaukee off the scoreboard for 6 2/3 innings while the Phils' offense scored early and often. The victory extended the Phillies' season-high winning streak to five games.
The win also pushed the Phils (31-30) over the .500 mark for the first time in 2013.
Since taking over Roy Halladay's place in the rotation - which included a brief demotion back to Triple A when the Phils didn't need a fifth starter - Cloyd is 2-2 with a 3.68 ERA. He has held the opposition to two earned runs or less in four of his five starts.
Although he walked five batters, Cloyd limited the damage by holding Milwaukee to four hits - all singles. His outing was all the more impressive since he had just faced he same Brewers lineup 5 days earlier.
"It's fun," Cloyd said of the challenge that presents. "For me, it's definitely changing it up, mixing it up a lot, not going over the same sequences that I have. That was the biggest thing. Mixed it up a lot, threw a lot of different sequences and different pitches to hitters and really kept them off balance."
After a month of starts, and with the aforementioned veteran starters on the comeback trail at Clearwater and Reading, it would seem Cloyd and fellow rookie righthander Jonathan Pettibone may force the Phillies into tough decisions in the next month.
Zambrano will make his third minor league start tonight. He has a July 1 out clause in his contract.
Lannan's return isn't imminent, but, barring a setback, it isn't out of the question to see him back in the rotation before the end of the month.
"I don't focus on any of that," Cloyd said. "I'm up here obviously to help, to keep these guys in the game whatever I go out there. For me, that's all I concentrate on, what I have got to do the next start out, and mentally and physically prepare for that outing, get their hitters and see what they like to do. And go out and compete every day. That's the biggest thing for me."
Fresh off a productive homestand that saw them score six or more runs in each of the last four games, the Phillies' offense was still brewing in Milwaukee.
Michael Young, John Mayberry Jr. and Jimmy Rollins began the game with consecutive hits. Ryan Howard scalded a line-drive out to centerfield to bring home the first run while the second came in on a wild pitch.
The Phils scored single runs in the second and third, too, beating up erratic starter Wily Peralta. Peralta's night wasn't over until after the fifth, however, an inning that saw Delmon Young tack on another run to the visitors' half of the scoreboard with his sixth home run of the season.
After struggling for the majority of the season's first 2 months, scoring two runs or fewer in 20 of their first 50 games, the Phillies' offense has come to life in June.
They've scored five or more runs for five straight games. It's the first time they've run off such a streak since scoring five or more in six straight games from May 25-30 in 2011.
"We're starting to get more guys on base," Manuel said. "We are starting to work counts better. We're picking up some walks. Tonight, we got a good start out of the gate. That helped us."
Young and Mayberry, slotted in the first two spots of a new-look lineup, each went 3-for-5.
Domonic Brown did not hit a home run for just the fourth time in 11 games, but he did go 2-for-3 with a walk, a run scored and two stolen bases. Brown nearly has as many stolen bases in 60 games this year (6) as he had stolen bases attempts in 147 games in the last three years (7).
Slide for Revere
Ben Revere wasn't in the starting lineup last night, but it was not related to his ill-timed move on the basepaths Wednesday.
After stealing second base, Revere made the first out of the first inning at third base when he over-slid the bag in another stolen-base attempt. It's a cardinal baseball sin, of course, to make the first out of an inning at third.
"Not at all," Charlie Manuel said when asked if Revere's absence in the lineup was related to the previous day's events. "If he makes it, that's good. He made it, but he over-slid the bag. I wasn't upset with him. He's did that three or four times. But at the same time, when he steals, I want him to make it. But no, that's not the reason why."
John Lannan (left knee) was on tap to begin his official rehab assignment last night for Class A Clearwater, but the game was rained out. Lannan has been sidelined since April 18 . . . Carlos Zambrano will make his next attempt at reviving his big-league career tonight at Double A Reading. Zambrano threw six shutout innings at Class A Clearwater on Sunday . . . According to the Elias Sports Bureau: When Cole Hamels struck out 11 while walking just one in his win over the Marlins, it marked the fifth time in his career he struck out at least 11 while walking no more than one batter. Four of those five games have come against NL East opponents (Brewers and Nationals in 2007, Marlins in 2008 and 2013 and Mets in 2010) . . . Cliff Lee (7-2, 2.45 ERA) will pitch opposite Alfredo Figaro (0-0, 3.67) tonight in the second game of the four-game series at Miller Park. Lee is 5-0 with a 1.54 ERA in his last six starts, striking out 40 while walking six in 46 2/3 innings. Lee is 0-1 with a 4.79 ERA in three career starts in Milwaukee.