Philadelphia Phillies starting pitcher Jerad Eickhoff delivers a pitch. File photo by Bill Greenblatt/UPI | License Photo
PHILADELPHIA -- Philadelphia Phillies starter Jerad Eickhoff surrendered a lead just minutes after his offense gave him one. To make up for it, he went to the plate and started a fifth-inning rally that gave the Phillies all the runs they needed.
Eickhoff (2-7) collected two hits, pitched six solid innings and was helped by a homer from rookie outfielder Nick Williams as the Phillies beat the reeling Milwaukee Brewers 6-3 on Sunday at Citizens Bank Park.
Williams opened the scoring in the fourth inning after Eickhoff and Brewers starter Junior Guerra were dominant early. After walking Maikel Franco, Guerra (1-4) left a 1-0 fastball up in the zone that Williams hit the other way to left for his fourth homer in his 19th game in the big leagues.
"He's aggressive. I like him," Phillies manager Pete Mackanin said. "That's about pretty much all I can say. He's swinging the bat. He swings at some bad pitches, but he doesn't miss mistakes. That's what makes him a very aggressive, productive hitter. At least so far."
Milwaukee (53-48) evened the score in the top of the fifth on a Jonathan Villar two-run single that scored Brett Phillips and Orlando Arcia, the only two Milwaukee hitters Eickhoff walked.
Eickhoff, who struck out six and allowed two runs and three hits, started the bottom of the fifth with a leadoff single after hitting a ball foul that had home run distance. A walk to Cesar Hernandez and an infield bunt single by Freddy Galvis loaded the bases and ended Guerra's day as Milwaukee manager Craig Counsell summoned Michael Blazek.
Howie Kendrick, activated Friday off the disabled list, chopped a two-run single up the middle to put the Phillies (34-62) ahead 4-2. Two batters later, with reliever Josh Hader pitching, Williams reached on an error by Arcia that allowed Galvis to cross the plate. An Odubel Herrera single then scored Kendrick to extend the lead to 6-2.
After hitting Ryan Braun with a pitch to begin the sixth, Eickhoff struck out Travis Shaw before inducing an inning-ending double play off the bat of Domingo Santana, the last batter Eickhoff faced.
"Eickhoff pitched really well," Mackanin said. "I was concerned about that long inning that we had so I wasn't sure if I was going to send him out. But I did and he did a really good job."
"To get that four-run inning, that was huge," Eickhoff said. "I was able to go out there and relax and just kind of make pitches."
His bullpen took it from there.
All-Star Pat Neshek pitched a clean seventh before the Brewers scraped a run across on a Braun RBI double against Joaquin Benoit in the eighth. The 6-3 deficit brought a save situation. But with normal closer Hector Neris unavailable, Luis Garcia nailed down his first save of the season.
Guerra allowed five runs and five hits in four-plus innings, striking out three while walking the same number. He threw 82 pitches, just 43 for strikes.
"We have to have more strikes," Counsell said. "It's tough to pitch 2-0 or behind in the count. It's going to cause you problems."
Milwaukee, which had a 5 1/2-game lead in the National League Central entering the All-Star break, has dropped seven of its last eight games and has seen its lead evaporate before heading into back-to-back three-game sets with the Washington Nationals and Chicago Cubs.
"We wanted to win the series and we didn't get it done," Counsell said. "Now, we have to move on."
NOTES: The victory gave Philadelphia consecutive series wins for the first time since April. Additionally, the Phillies have scored five or more runs in seven straight games in the same season for the first time since 2005. ... Stolen bases from Brett Phillips and Jonathan Villar upped to club's total for the year to 84, most among all National League teams. ... Milwaukee reinstated RHP Wily Peralta (right calf) from the 10-day disabled list before the game and designated RHP Rob Scahill for assignment. Peralta pitched one scoreless inning of relief. ... The Brewers are off Monday before beginning a three-game series on Tuesday in Washington. ... The Phillies, in the midst of an 11-game homestand, welcome the team with the best record in baseball, Houston, to Philadelphia for a three-game series starting Monday.