Hernandez has go-ahead hit for Phillies in win over Nats
Apr. 11, 2015
PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Freddy Galvis could be the leader the Philadelphia Phillies are looking for in their lineup.
Galvis had three hits and an RBI, and Cesar Hernandez had a go-ahead, two-run single in a wild four-run seventh, leading Philadelphia to a 4-1 victory over the Washington Nationals on Friday night.
"When he just calms down and doesn't try to do too much with the bat, that's when he can be a quality hitter," Philadelphia manager Ryne Sandberg said. "That's what he's worked on all spring."
Sandberg preached contact during the spring to Galvis, who is using a larger bat to cut down on his swing. A career .218 hitter entering the season, he is 5 for 13 through four games.
"I feel good and my approach is much better," Galvis said. "If I keep working, everything is going to be alright."
Michael Taylor homered for the Nationals, the preseason favorites in the NL East who have lost three of four to open the year while scoring just seven runs.
Jonathon Papelbon, two days after saying he doesn't "feel much like a Phillie," pitched a 1-2-3 ninth for his second save in as many chances. Papelbon is five saves away from becoming Philadelphia's all-time saves leader.
Chase Utley added an RBI for the Phillies, who were helped by a pair of walks and two hit batters in their rally.
"We took what they gave us," Sandberg said.
Luis Garcia (1-0) pitched a scoreless seventh inning in relief of Jerome Williams. Williams settled down after allowing Taylor's leadoff homer to yield one run and five hits with six strikeouts and a walk in six innings.
"It felt good to get back to where it needed to be, down in the zone — except for the homer," Williams said.
Washington's Gio Gonzalez (0-1) gave up three runs on five hits in 6 1-3 innings with four strikeouts and four walks. It was a disappointing debut for Gonzalez, whose 3.57 ERA last year was his worst since 2009.
He missed a month due to a left shoulder injury but was feeling good entering this season and pitched well in spring training.
Gonzalez breezed into the seventh, getting Jeff Francoeur to fly out to open the inning before everything unraveled.
Manager Matt Williams visited the lefty after consecutive walks put runners on first and second but left him in. Gonzalez was chased after he hit Andres Blanco to load the bases.
"I was trying to be too perfect," Gonzalez said.
Hernandez drilled Xavier Cedeno's first pitch into right field for two runs, with slow-footed Cameron Rupp sliding home after Bryce Harper's throw from right field went slightly up the third-base line. Cedeno was lifted after hitting Ben Revere. Galvis singled in a run, and Utley had a sacrifice fly.
Once regularly sold out, Citizens Bank Park isn't expected to have its usual, raucous atmosphere this season. The Phillies announced a crowd of 19,047, which is the lowest in the 12-year history of the park. When Taylor homered to lead off the game, one Phillies fan in the lower level put his head down and trudged to his seat while muttering, "It's going to be a long season."
WHAT A CATCH
The best catch of the night was made by a Phillies vendor. Grady Sizemore fouled a ball back in the seventh inning and it caromed off the façade between the first and second deck and down to the lower level. The vendor snared the ball with one hand while steadying two beers with the other, drawing loud cheers from the Phillies fans.
Nationals: OF Jayson Werth was scheduled to make a rehab start at Class-A Potomac for the second straight day, but the game was rained out. Werth, who had offseason shoulder surgery, went 0 for 2 with a walk at Potomac on Thursday. He is expected to play for Potomac on Saturday and could return to the Nationals lineup on Monday.
Phillies: RHP Chad Billingsley struggled during a rehab start at Triple-A Lehigh Valley on Friday, allowing three runs on four hits in 3 1-3 innings. Two of the hits were homers. Billingsley is attempting to come back after two right elbow operations limited him to 12 innings in 2013 and cost him all of last year. In eight seasons with the Dodgers, Billingsley was 81-61 with a 3.65 ERA. He could rejoin Philadelphia's rotation later this month.
Nationals: RHP Doug Fister makes his season debut on Saturday against Philadelphia after a career-best season last year when he went 16-6 with a 2.41 ERA in 25 starts. Fister is 2-2 with a 2.60 ERA in four career starts against the Phillies.
Phillies: LHP Cole Hamels (0-1, 7.20) looks to regain his winning form against the Nationals when he takes the hill on Saturday. The Phillies ace dominated Washington prior to last season, going 15-6 with a 2.58 ERA in 28 starts. But Hamels was 0-2 in four starts against the Nationals last year.