Squeeze bunt helps San Diego Padres beat Philadelphia Phillies

By Gordie Jones, The Sports Xchange  |  April 12, 2016 at 1:30 AM
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PHILADELPHIA -- The San Diego Padres, scoreless in their first three games of the season, are now finding all kinds of ways to push runs across the plate.

Alexi Amarista drove in the go-ahead run with a seventh-inning squeeze bunt and Wil Myers homered as San Diego beat the Philadelphia Phillies 4-3 Monday afternoon, the Padres' third victory in four games.

Jon Jay added an RBI double for San Diego, which also benefited from two replay reviews to improve to 3-4.

"Guys are playing good baseball, but it's a funny game," said Padres manager Andy Green, whose team also scored 34 runs during a three-game weekend series in Colorado. "We're not going to get on a high just winning three of four."

Cesar Hernandez scored two runs and Maikel Franco had three hits for Philadelphia, which fell to 2-5 by dropping its home opener.

"It's coming along -- our starting pitching and our bullpen has given us opportunities to go out there and win," said veteran Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard. "It's been like a play, or maybe a pitch, or something that just didn't go our way, where we could easily be (better). We're in the situation we're in right now, and just come back tomorrow."

San Diego's Derek Norris doubled off Aaron Nola (0-1) with one out in the seventh. Alexei Ramirez hit a hard grounder that was back-handed by Franco, the Phillies' third baseman, behind the bag. Franco's throw to Darin Ruf at first beat Ramirez, who was initially called out by umpire Angel Hernandez. After a replay review, however, it was ruled that Ruf had been unable to hold the bag.

That left runners at first and third, and Amarista delivered Norris with his squeeze bunt, which Nola fielded up the first base line.

Nola said he considered going home with the throw, then thought better of it.

"I feel like if I would have flipped it, it would have had to be perfect," he said. "That was just my view, but I just thought throwing to first would have been the safest bet to get the out."

Kevin Quackenbush, the third of six Padres pitchers, earned the victory to move to 1-0. Fernando Rodney worked a scoreless ninth for his first save.

Nola went seven innings and surrendered four runs and six hits. He struck out a career-high nine without walking a batter.

Padres starter Andrew Cashner was saddled with a no-decision, going five innings and allowing three runs and seven hits while striking out five and walking one.

San Diego scored twice in the third, when Jay and Cory Spangenberg drove in runs with a double and groundout, respectively.

Myers made it 3-0 when he led off the fourth by lining Nola's 2-2 curveball into the left-field seats for his second homer of the season.

Hernandez opened the bottom of the fourth with a triple and scored on an opposite-field single by Odubel Herrera, on an 0-2 fastball from Cashner.

Cashner gave up another RBI on an 0-2 pitch in the fifth, this time a slider that Peter Bourjos grounded inside the third-base line to score Cameron Rupp, who had doubled to start the inning. That narrowed the San Diego lead to 3-2.

The Phillies drew even in the sixth. A leadoff walk to Hernandez and singles by Herrera and Franco loaded the bases. Brad Hand relieved Cashner, and Ruf pinch-hit for Howard.

Ruf popped up Hand's first pitch into short left field. Ramirez, the San Diego shortstop, retreated, and the infield-fly rule was called, meaning the batter is automatically out and the runners can advance at their own risk.

The ball, however, fell untouched behind Ramirez. Hernandez tagged up and scored, but Herrera was tagged out when he attempted to advance to third.

Phillies manager Pete Mackanin argued that the infield-fly rule should not have been invoked, and challenged whether Amarista, the Padres' third baseman, tagged Herrera.

"Let's put it this way -- I didn't like the call, but we've got to live with it, just get past it," Mackanin said. "We had opportunities after that. ... (Crew chief Ted Barrett) just explained to me that in the umpire's judgment he was under the ball. I didn't agree, but it is what it is."

Barrett told a pool reporter that the criteria for an infield fly is whether a fielder can make the play "with ordinary effort," and third base umpire Will Little believed that was the case.

"Of course, the confusion a lot of times is people think that the depth of the fly ball into the outfield comes into play," Barrett said, "and that's not a factor. It's actually (whether it can be) easily caught by an infielder, with ordinary effort."

That is not reviewable, but the Phillies' question about whether Herrera was tagged or not can be. And Barrett said the replay showed Amarista did in fact tag him.

NOTES: The Phillies' victory in the weekend series over the Mets was their first in Citi Field since May 9-11, 2014. ... Philadelphia RHP Jeremy Hellickson, who has pitched 11 2/3 innings while allowing six hits in his first two starts, is the third Phillies pitcher in the last 20 seasons to strike out an average of eight or more batters per nine innings while limiting opponents to a batting average of .150 or lower through two starts. The others were Curt Schilling in 1998 and Vance Worley in 2011. ... Ryan Archidiacono and Daniel Ochefu, the senior captains from Villanova's national championship men's basketball team, threw out the ceremonial first pitches. ... Padres RF Matt Kemp entered the game with a .362 average and 14 RBIs in 18 career games in Citizens Bank Park, but went hitless in four at-bats.

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