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Morgan deals Phils past Cards in MLB debut

PHILADELPHIA -- The Cardinals seemed primed to sweep the Phillies this weekend at Citizens Bank Park, but the Phillies managed eight hits and five runs in five innings against Cardinals right-hander Michael Wacha in Sunday afternoon's 9-2 victory.

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The Phillies, who had lost 11 of their last 12, also enjoyed a solid Major League debut from rookie left-hander Adam Morgan, who fared well against a Cardinals offense that had torched the Phillies for 22 runs in the first two games of the three-game series.

"Morgan really stepped up with the opportunity and was outstanding," Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg said. "A lot of composure out there, good stuff, good control, mixed his pitches against a very good offensive lineup. For his debut, to face them and do the job he did, he was terrific."

The Cardinals managed their only run against Morgan in the fourth inning when Jhonny Peralta homered. Jason Heyward added a solo homer for the Cardinals in the ninth off Jonathan Papelbon.

Video: [email protected]: Heyward drives solo homer off Papelbon

Captain Morgan:
Morgan became the first Phillies starter to earn a win since May 23, when Cole Hamels picked up a win in Washington. It snapped a franchise-record 25 consecutive games without a win from a starter. Morgan did it in his big league debut, too. He allowed one run in 5 2/3 innings, which was welcome relief for an overworked bullpen. Sandberg said Morgan has earned another start. More >

"I was more anxious and excited to see how my stuff played," said Morgan, asked if he was nervous at all. "Asking these guys some first-time advice about their debuts, and they're like, 'Don't look up.' [Cameron] Rupp did a good job just telling me, 'Just me and you catching.' That's what I did. I didn't look up and played the game of baseball."

Video: [email protected]: Morgan strikes out six in ML debut, gets win

Should I Jay or should I go?: In the top of the second inning, the Cardinals had runners on the corners with no one out in a 0-0 game and Jon Jay at the plate. Jay grounded to third baseman Maikel Franco, who pivoted and threw to second where Cesar Hernandez was covering. Mark Reynolds, who was standing on third, held up on the crack of the bat but darted toward home when Franco motioned toward second. Hernandez alertly threw home which caught Reynolds in a pickle before Franco tagged him out. The confusion leading to the double play deprived the Cardinals of a run on Tony Cruz's single the following at-bat. More >

"I froze. I saw him throw it," Reynolds said. "I took off. He threw it home. It was just bad baserunning. After I froze, I should've just stayed at third. I should've ran home and had them throw me out at home."

Video: [email protected]: Phillies get Reynolds in rundown to turn two

Wacha's rough start: Wacha never seemed to have his best stuff Sunday. This was evident as early as the second inning, when he allowed three runs on four hits and a walk. Though he still managed to strike out seven, Wacha allowed a season-high five runs on eight hits in five innings of work. More >

"It was one of those days," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. "He, at times, would find the feel for it. And he was having trouble early on establishing the strike zone with his fastball low. He was getting into hitters counts and having to challenge and they were finding the good part of the bat."

Video: [email protected]: Wacha strikes out Asche to end the 5th

An offensive pulse: The Phillies had hit .229 with a .612 OPS in 28 games since May 20, averaging just 2.8 runs per game in that 5-23 stretch. But they jumped on Wacha early and often, and most of the damage came from the Phillies' younger hitters, like Ben Revere (3-for-4) Hernandez (two RBIs), Franco (3-for-5), Domonic Brown (1-for-3) and Cody Asche (1-for-3). It was the most runs for the Phillies in a game since Sept. 5, 2014, when they also scored nine.

Video: [email protected]: Franco knocks in Revere on double to left

"I guess you could think of it like that, but right now it stinks pretty good and you definitely don't want to experience this feeling too many times," -- Wacha, on whether or not he's OK with one bad start amid a year stocked with strong ones

Morgan was the 11th pitcher to start for the Phillies this season, which leads baseball. The Astros and Dodgers each have had 10 pitchers make starts.

Hernandez made his fourth start in seven games at second base, although Chase Utley started two of those four games (once at first base, once as a designated hitter). It will be interesting to see if Hernandez continues to get more playing time. Utley, who is hitting .182, needs 500 plate appearances this season to vest a $15 million club option for 2016. He has 244 through the team's first 71 games. More >

"I'd like to see him play more," Sandberg said about Hernandez. "I've been trying to get him in there."

Video: [email protected]: Hernandez lines single to drive in two runs

Cardinals: After an off-day Monday, the Cards will round out their eight-game road trip with a three-game series in Miami against the Marlins. Carlos Martinez will make his first career start against the Fish trying to continue his success on the road in a 6 p.m. CT start. He has a lifetime ERA of 2.95 as a visitor.

Phillies: The Phillies head to New York to open a short, three-game road trip against the Yankees at Yankee Stadium. Kevin Correia (0-1, 1.69 ERA) faces Yankees right-hander Michael Pineda in the series opener Monday night at 7:05 p.m. ET. Sean O'Sullivan (1-5, 4.79 ERA) and Cole Hamels (5-5, 2.96 ERA) close out the series.

Watch every out-of-market regular season game live on MLB.TV.

Todd Zolecki is a reporter for Read his Phillies blog The Zo Zone, follow him on Twitter and listen to his podcast. Nick Suss is an associate reporter for
Read More: Cesar Hernandez, Michael Wacha, Jhonny Peralta, Adam Morgan