In Phils' home opener, Padres squeeze out win

April 11th, 2016

PHILADELPHIA -- The Padres squeezed and replayed their way to a 4-3 victory over the Phillies on Monday afternoon at Citizens Bank Park, spoiling Philadelphia's home opener.

Padres third baseman Alexi Amarista dropped a perfect bunt between the mound and first-base line to score Derek Norris from third with one out in the seventh inning to give San Diego the lead. Wil Myers' solo home run to left field in the fourth inning handed the Padres a three-run lead before the Phillies scored a run each in the fourth, fifth and sixth to tie the game.

The Padres won a replay challenge at first base in the seventh, which allowed the Padres to squeeze with one out. The Phillies lost a replay challenge on an infield fly play in the sixth, which stunted a potential rally.

"I didn't like the call, but we have to live with it," Phillies manager Pete Mackanin said. "We just have to get past it. We had opportunities after that."

Interpretation of infield fly rule irks Mackanin

The Padres' bullpen combined for four scoreless frames, capped by Fernando Rodney's first save with San Diego. Starter Andrew Cashner, who allowed three runs over five innings, consistently dialed up his fastball to the high 90s, and he was ahead of Phillies hitters all afternoon.

"I always try to take aggressiveness out there," Cashner said. "I think sometimes it maybe gets me in a little bit of trouble, but I think it was a lot better today."


Infield fly? With the bases loaded and no one out in the bottom of the sixth, the Padres called on lefty reliever Brad Hand, who got pinch-hitter Darin Ruf to pop up to shallow left. That was only the beginning. Left fielder Myers never saw the ball off the bat, and shortstop Alexei Ramirez couldn't make the play as he backtracked. But third-base umpire Will Little ruled it as an infield fly, and -- although a run scored -- Ramirez threw to third for a double play, which was confirmed by review.

"It's the umpire's call," Ramirez said. "We're the players. We have to react to what's going on on the field. If that's the call they're going to end up making, then that's what they're making. You just react and have to make the play." More >

Said crew chief Ted Barrett: "The criteria for an infield fly is a batted ball in the air that a fielder can field with ordinary effort. And that's what the third-base umpire ruled. ... Of course, the confusion a lot of times is people think that the depth of the fly ball into the outfield comes into play. And that's not a factor. It's actually [whether it can be] easily caught by an infielder, with ordinary effort."

Nola commands: The Phillies set up their rotation to have right-hander Aaron Nola pitch the home opener. He allowed four runs in seven innings, walking none and striking out a career-high nine. In 14 innings, Nola has struck out 17 and walked none. Entering Monday, no pitcher in baseball had double-digit strikeouts without allowing a walk.

"Nothing affects him," Phillies catcher Cameron Rupp said. "Nothing fazes him out there. He doesn't show emotion at his highest point or when he's down in the ditches. He battles and he knows how to pitch and stay within himself." More >

Fresh squeezed: With runners on the corners in the seventh, Amarista dropped a perfect bunt up the first-base line, allowing the go-ahead run to score. Amarista, making his debut, also singled and hit a fly ball that was tracked down by center fielder Odubel Herrera at the wall.

"Alexi Amarista, that was great execution on his part," said Padres manager Andy Green. "That's not the easiest thing in the world to do -- bunt a curveball that's down. He got a great bunt down there."

The bunt plated Norris, whose one-out double sparked the rally. More >

The platoon is real: Mackanin pinch-hit Ruf for Ryan Howard with the bases loaded and no outs in the sixth inning, when Padres left-hander Hand entered the game. Mackanin said he would platoon Howard and Ruf this season, but Monday really drove home that point.

"You act like it's the first time it happened," Howard said. "It's not a surprise."

"I thought it was the perfect time to do it, blow the game wide open," Mackanin said.


"I was looking at Wil looking around the whole stadium to see if a fan would tell him where the baseball was. Nobody helped him out -- I don't know if that's just Philly fans for you. But Wil never picked it up, so my eyes were on him the whole time. I didn't even really see where Alexei Ramirez got to there. If he's turned squared to the baseball and hands are up in the air, it's the right call. I honestly didn't see it, so I'm not the one to ask." -- Padres manager Andy Green

"If you're on the bases running it's hard, especially if there are 45,000 people, to hear an umpire yell it. You're certainly not looking for him to point. So when you see the ball drop that far into the outfield, your actual instincts are to try to advance." -- Ruf, on the controversial infield fly call


Phillies leadoff hitter Freddy Galvis went 0-for-4 to drop his batting average to .179 and on-base percentage to .172. Galvis has not walked in 95 plate appearances, including 66 plate appearances in Spring Training. Meanwhile, Cesar Hernandez, Herrera and Maikel Franco went 6-for-11 with one walk, one triple and two runs scored as the Phillies' 2-3-4 hitters.


Green won his first replay challenge as Padres manager, and it proved pivotal. Ramirez was called out on a ground ball, but he noticed that Ruf's foot had come off the first-base bag. Ramirez signaled for Green to challenge, and the Padres won it, rather conclusively.


Padres:Robbie Erlin gets the start against the Phillies on Tuesday at 4:05 p.m. PT, his first of the season after pitching 3 2/3 innings of brilliant relief in Colorado on Friday. Erlin was in competition for the final rotation spot out of camp, but lost out on the final day of Spring Training. He was inserted into the rotation when Tyson Ross went down with a shoulder injury.

Phillies: The only blip for the Phillies' rotation in the first week of the season was Game 3, when right-hander Charlie Morton allowed six runs in 3 2/3 innings Wednesday in Cincinnati. Morton gets the opportunity to bounce back Tuesday at 7:05 p.m. ET against the Padres at Citizens Bank Park.

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