ABOVE PHOTO: John Mayberry Jr. was 3-for-4 with three runs batted in against the Cleveland Indians Tuesday night.
By Chris Murray
For the Chris Murray Report and the Philadelphia Sunday Sun
For the third time in as many games, the Philadelphia Phillies actually scored enough runs to go along with a solid effort from a starting pitcher.
Is it the beginning of the end of their hitting woes?
“I think it’s a matter of time,” said Phillies manager Charlie Manuel. “I think we can end up having a good offense, but we have to stay at it and keep going.”
In any event, the Phillies will be happy they came away with a 6-2 win over a Cleveland Indians team that mercilessly bludgeoned them into submission by scoring 19 runs in two games two weeks ago.
Center fielder John Mayberry Jr. was 3-for-4 with three runs batted in and said it was good to get a win over the Indians after the beating the Indians gave the Phillies in Cleveland.
“You try to forget about it, but it’s definitely in the back of your mind of how the series went in Cleveland,” Mayberry said. “We definitely wanted to come here in front of our home fans and play well. We did that (Tuesday) night.”
Tuesday night, the Phillies offensive performance supported a solid effort on the mound by 22-year-old fifth starter Jonathan Pettibone (3-0), who allowed just two runs on four hits in six and two-thirds innings of work. He also had three strikeouts and two walks.
“Pettibone pitched brilliantly, I thought,” said second baseman Kevin Frandsen, who had a solo homer in the first inning. “He kept us in there when were 2-1 down and he kept fighting, fighting and made great pitches. That’s a stud right there. He’s a rookie, but he didn’t back down.”
Pettibone’s biggest challenge came in the Indians half of the third inning when he hit two straight Indians batters-first baseman Nick Swisher and catcher Carlos Santana-to load the bases with two outs. He got out of the inning by getting third baseman Mark Reynolds to fly out to second to end the threat.
“It’s big, after escaping with no runs, especially after second inning, giving up two you don’t want to dig yourself too big of a hole that early in the game,” said Pettibone, who retired the last 13 men he faced. “Getting out of that inning, I was able to build off that and go from there the rest of the game.”
The Phillies bullpen came up huge as well. With Antonio Bastardo pitching in the Indians half of the eighth inning, shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera tripled off the wall in right center field. Bastardo struck out Swisher, but walked Santana.
Manuel brought in reliever Justin De Fratus who got Reynolds to pop out to second. Jeremy Horst replaced De Fratus and then struck out Brantley to strand Cabrera at third to end the threat.
“Our bullpen did a real good job,” Manuel said. “De Fratus and Horst got some big outs. Bastardo, I thought, pitched good. We started the eighth with a triple and we left him there. That was good.”
Meanwhile, Frandsen got things going for the Phillies offense in the first inning when he smacked a solo home run to the left field seats off Cleveland left-handed starter Scott Kazmir (2-2).
The Indians took a 2-1 lead in their half of the second inning on a single by left fielder Michael Brantley that scored Santana, who reached on a double and Swisher, who singled to start the inning.
In the bottom of the fourth, the Phillies would take the lead for good on a double by Mayberry that brought home catcher Carlos Ruiz, who reached on a walk and Domonic Brown, who got on base with a lead-off single.
In the sixth inning, Brown, who was 2-for-4 with an RBI and two runs scored, added to the Phillies lead with a frozen-rope of a home run to right field. Mayberry and Freddy Galvis added a pair of RBI singles in the bottom of the eighth to put the game out of reach.