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MLB News

Sep. 17th, 2018

Put the ball in play, good things happen ... sometimes. 

In the third inning of the Blue Jays' 5-0 win over the Orioles on Monday at Oriole Park at Camden Yards, Austin Wynns hit a liner to shortstop Lourdes Gurriel Jr. This presented a problem for the runners, Renato Nunez (on second base) and Wolf 16 Motion White Gray Men's NIKE Gray Shoes UL Running Max Air John Andreoli (on first base), as neither could advance, caught up in no-man's land on a potential lineout.

Arrieta labors through 5 innings, strikes out 6 in no-decision
MLB.com @ToddZolecki
1:20 AM EDT

PHILADELPHIA -- Manager Gabe Kapler said on Monday afternoon that the Phillies no longer can play "good baseball," if they expect to keep their razor-thin postseason hopes alive.

They need to play "great baseball down the stretch."

View Full Game Coverage

PHILADELPHIA -- Manager Gabe Kapler said on Monday afternoon that the Phillies no longer can play "good baseball," if they expect to keep their razor-thin postseason hopes alive.

They need to play "great baseball down the stretch."

View Full Game Coverage

But after Monday night's 9-4 loss to the Mets at Citizens Bank Park, the Phillies must play nearly perfect baseball in the regular season's final 13 games. They trail the first-place Braves by 6 1/2 games in the National League East and are six behind the Cardinals for the second NL Wild Card spot. Atlanta's magic number is seven. Yes, the Phillies and Braves play seven times in the final 11 games, but they are now in a place where they might need to sweep those games and still get a lot of help, too.

"It's just not going well all the way around," Phillies right-hander Jake Arrieta said. "Yeah, the Braves losing is great, but we have to win some games. Haven't done that consistently and that's why we are where we are."

Video: NYM@PHI: Kapler on disappointing loss to the Mets

It is not like the Braves are running away with the division, which the Phillies have not won since 2011. Atlanta has lost three consecutive games, including an 11-6 setback against the Cardinals on Monday night. If the Phils could have somehow played "great baseball" and won on Sunday against the Marlins and Monday against the Mets, they would be 4 1/2 games out of first place.

Still a long road, but slightly more feasible.

If only the Phillies could beat the Mets, as they're now 6-11 against them this season.

"They've just flat out beat us," Kapler said. "They have beat us in good matchups. They have beat us in bad matchups. They have just handled us well."

The Phillies are where they are in part because Arrieta allowed four runs in five innings in the series opener on Monday. Since pitching eight scoreless innings in Arizona on Aug. 3, Arrieta is 1-3 a 6.03 ERA (25 earned runs in 37 1/3 innings) in his last seven starts, raising his season ERA from 3.11 to 3.77.

"Would like it to be a little bit better, but it is what it is," Arrieta said about his season. "You take the ball every fifth day and give your best, the results are what they are. Yeah, I mean, I leave it all out on the field. We'll assess the season later. But, you know, I feel like it could have been better in some areas, but what's done is done. I've got to move forward and just try to be better the next time we go out there."

Video: NYM@PHI: Crawford clears the bases with a triple

J.P. Crawford tripled with the bases loaded in the fifth inning to cut the Mets' lead to one. He later scored to tie the game at 4. But the Phillies did nothing before and little after.

"I think you do have to look at the opposition," Kapler said about Mets starter Zack Wheeler. "He came out really sharp. We were having a hard time finding the barrel against him. And then he found it again quickly thereafter. I thought we did a really good job putting up a big inning against him. That's not an easy thing to do. Certainly I don't think there's anything to point to from an offensive side, an approach side or a mechanics side. I think it was probably Wheeler found his groove again."

Video: NYM@PHI: Conforto notches 3 hits, 6 RBIs to lead Mets

Tommy Hunter allowed a run in the seventh on a go-ahead double by Michael Conforto, who had a career-high six RBIs. Hector Neris and Austin Davis allowed four runs in the ninth as Conforto hit a three-run homer to ice it.

MOMENT THAT MATTERED
Phillies third baseman Asdrubal Cabrera left the game in the sixth inning with a Grade 1 strain of his left calf. Crawford and Scott Kingery could man the left side of the infield while Cabrera recovers. Maikel Franco is still recovering from a fall into a camera well last week.

Video: NYM@PHI: Cabrera leaves game with left calf strain

"After the top of the fifth inning, he came in and complained of a little bit of soreness, but he was pretty tough and strong, and said he wanted to test it and go back out there," Kapler said. "Once he got hit by that pitch, and was on first base, we thought the right thing to do was to get him out of there and put a faster runner out there, and use Scott Kingery at the appropriate time. We're going to check on him tomorrow and see how he's doing."

SOUND SMART
Carlos Santana's second-inning walk was his 100th of the season. He is the first Phillies player to walk 100 times in a season since Pat Burrell (102 in 2008). Santana previously walked at least 100 times in 2014 and '15, becoming the 12th switch-hitter to accomplish the feat at least three times.

Video: NYM@PHI: Santana draws his 100th walk of the season

HE SAID IT
"I looked at his numbers prior to the game and he's pretty much the same soldier that he was in Chicago last year. If you look at it from a strikeout perspective, especially after getting some whiffs tonight, pretty close to where he was last year. If you look at it from a walks perspective, about where he was last year with the Chicago Cubs. He's given up fewer home runs this year than he did last year. He's kept us in baseball games, he's taken the ball, he's made his starts, he's given us a lot of innings. He's been a horse for us." -- Kapler, on Arrieta

UP NEXT
Phillies right-hander Aaron Nola (16-5, 2.42 ERA) will start against Mets lefty Steven Matz (5-11, 4.18 ERA) at 7:05 p.m. ET on Tuesday in the middle game of the series at Citizens Bank Park. Nola's chances to win the NL Cy Young Award have taken a hit recently, after posting a 5.60 ERA in three starts this month.

Todd Zolecki has covered the Phillies since 2003, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow him on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

Philadelphia Phillies, Jake Arrieta
MLB.com @brianmctaggart
1:36 AM EDT

HOUSTON -- The Mariners finally hit a ball where Astros high-flying center fielder Jake Marisnick couldn't catch it.

After watching Marisnick make a pair of diving catches in the eighth inning, including a spectacular grab on a Robinson Cano sinking liner, the Mariners stunned the Astros when Daniel Vogelbach clubbed a pinch-hit grand slam off Hector Rondon to steal a 4-1 win over the defending champs at Minute Maid Park.

View Full Game Coverage

HOUSTON -- The Mariners finally hit a ball where Astros high-flying center fielder Jake Marisnick couldn't catch it.

After watching Marisnick make a pair of diving catches in the eighth inning, including a spectacular grab on a Robinson Cano sinking liner, the Mariners stunned the Astros when Daniel Vogelbach clubbed a pinch-hit grand slam off Hector Rondon to steal a 4-1 win over the defending champs at Minute Maid Park.

View Full Game Coverage

"That's kind of how baseball works," Marisnick said. "Our pitchers have done a great job carrying us all year and doing some big things for us. Things like that are going to happen."

Rondon entered the game with a 1-0 lead in the eighth and allowed the Mariners to load the bases with two outs -- both coming on what at the time appeared to be game-saving catches by Marisnick to rob Ryon Healy and Cano. Seattle loaded the bases on a leadoff single by Nelson Cruz, a one-out bloop single by Kyle Seager and a walk to Denard Span with two outs.

Three pitches later, Vogelbach turned on a 98 mph fastball and hit a rocket into the Astros' bullpen in right-center field for the first grand slam hit against the Astros this year.

Video: Must C Clutch: Vogelbach's go-ahead grand slam in 8th

"Jake has done that to us a few times," Mariners manager Scott Servais said. "He's a really good defender, no question about it. The ball that Healy hit and the one that Cano hit, you're thinking, 'Gosh, it may not be our night.' But we figured out a way to hit one where he couldn't catch it."

Sore ankle takes Reddick out early

The loss trimmed the Astros' lead in the American League West to four games over the second-place A's with 12 games remaining.

"We lived on the edge all night," Astros manager AJ Hinch said. "They left a lot of guys on base. We made nice pitches to get out of a couple of messes, and when Jake makes those two good catchers -- great catches -- you feel pretty good about it. … We fall behind Vogelbach and then he gets the fastball to hit. Bad inning."

Video: SEA@HOU: Hinch discusses lack of offense in 4-1 loss

Rondon, who has elevated into one of Hinch's main back-end bullpen weapons, has allowed 12 hits and seven earned runs in four innings in his last four outings.

"Most of the time it's a lot of bad luck, little bloop hits," Hinch said. "Even tonight, Seager gets the bloop hit to left and Jake rescues a couple of those hits. Cruz hit the ball hard up the middle and then one big pitch that got him beat. So there's been a couple of outings where some bloops have led to bigger innings, and then when the pitch needs to be made or you need that last pitch to get out of a mess, he's been on the other end of it. He'll be fine."

Consecutive two-out doubles by Yuli Gurriel and Marwin Gonzalez off Mariners starter Wade LeBlanc in the fourth was the only offense the Astros could manage. Their only other hit was a one-out single in the fifth by Martin Maldonado, who was thrown out by a mile trying to stretch it into a double.

Video: SEA@HOU: Haniger throws out Maldonado from deep right

"It didn't look like we were picking the ball up very well," Hinch said. "LeBlanc always does this cat-and-mouse game of moving the ball around. We've had pretty good success against him and for whatever reason we weren't really taking great swings against him. We weren't swinging at a ton of pitches outside the strike zone, but we weren't centering the ball up all that much."

Video: SEA@HOU: Gonzalez drives an RBI double off the wall

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
The Astros wriggled out of a bases-loaded jam in the seventh inning. Lefty reliever Tony Sipp allowed a pair of batters to reach before Ryan Pressly loaded the bases by walking Mitch Haniger. Pressly got Jean Segura to hit a weak chopper back to the mound, which he fielded with ease and flipped an underhanded throw to first to end the inning. They weren't so fortunate with the bases loaded in the eighth.

Video: SEA@HOU: Pressly gets groundout to escape jam in 7th

SOUND SMART
Vogelbach's grand slam was the first the Astros allowed since Oakland's Marcus Semien took Luke Gregerson deep on Sept. 8 of last year.

YOU GOTTA SEE THIS
Marisnick's ability to make the great defensive plays in the eighth were the product of Cruz's leadoff single to center in the inning. Marisnick thought he had a good jump on Cruz's ball and pulled up and watched it fall to the grass. He told himself that wasn't going to happen again.

"I got in that mentality and got some pretty good jumps on those ones coming in," he said.

Video: SEA@HOU: Marisnick discusses diving catches in 8th

HE SAID IT
"That was a lot of fun to be able to run those down. Those are two consecutive catches, I don't know if I've made two like that back to back." -- Marisnick

UP NEXT
Rookie Josh James (0-0, 4.22 ERA) will make his second big league start and fourth appearance when the Astros meet the Mariners at 7:10 p.m. CT Tuesday at Minute Maid Park. James has struck out 17 batters in 10 2/3 innings this year. Right-hander Mike Leake (10-9, 3.99 ERA) will start for Seattle.

Brian McTaggart has covered the Astros since 2004, and for MLB.com since 2009. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter and listen to his podcast.

Houston Astros, Jake Marisnick, Hector Rondon, Framber Valdez
   
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