Sandberg earns first win as skipper after walk-off
Phils cap rally from two down with Wells scoring on Young's hot shot
PHILADELPHIA -- Ryne Sandberg entered the Citizens Bank Park media room, sat down, looked at his lineup card and finally had a reason to smile.
The Phillies used a quirky ninth inning to beat the Dodgers, 3-2, on Sunday. It was the first career Major League managerial victory for Sandberg, who was named interim skipper Friday.
Two ninth-inning errors from Dodgers shortstop Hanley Ramirez helped the Phillies snap a four-game skid. Though it was not a textbook win, it was still a win. Sandberg was pleased to achieve the milestone and also happy to deny the Dodgers their 11th straight win.
"Doing it against the Dodgers, and the way they're going right now, to salvage one win out of the series is big," Sandberg said. "We have a night off, come back tomorrow and stay after it."
Career victory No. 1 was not the only monkey Sandberg shed from his back in his third game since taking over for Charlie Manuel. He also saw his lineup score a run for the first time.
Darin Ruf launched a solo home run to left field in the fourth inning to snap a 21-inning scoreless streak the team carried since Friday. The Phillies were shut out in each of the first two games of the series on the strength of shut-down starts from Zack Greinke and Clayton Kershaw, respectively.
Sandberg was just the third manager in Major League history to see his team blanked in his first two games, joining Miami's Mike Redmond (2013) and Jack Chapman of Louisville (1876).
"It's nice to get a win in general," Ruf said. "But to have it as Ryne's first as manager, he had to wait a few games here, but hopefully we'll get rolling here and get him a few more, as well."
The Phillies scored a run in the sixth inning and got another quality start from Cole Hamels to take a 2-2 tie to the ninth.
With the bases loaded and one out in the decisive frame, pinch-hitter Michael Young hit a grounder to Ramirez on a ball that looked like it could've been an inning-ending double play. However, the shortstop bobbled the ball, and everyone was safe on the play.
"We've got Young running, definitely, we're going to turn it," Ramirez said. "I anticipate everything. I know who's running."
Casper Wells -- who reached on a Ramirez error to start the rally -- crossed the plate to seal just the Phillies' sixth win since the All-Star break.
"We don't care how they come. We'll take them any way we can get them," Young said. "I'd say the same if we were on top of the division. Wins are wins."
Before the Phillies were able to capitalize on Ramirez's sloppiness, Hamels turned in seven strong innings. He made a mistake to Andre Ethier in the second inning -- which resulted in a homer -- and allowed another run in the fourth, but he recorded eight strikeouts on 118 pitches.
Hamels had an underwhelming start to the season, and his ERA was 4.86 after 12 starts. But he said he made some slight mechanical adjustments and has turned a corner.
The lefty has gone at least six innings in 13 of his last 14 outings, and has a 2.66 ERA in that span.
"I guess they're getting back to normal," Hamels said about his numbers. "That's kind of the thing in baseball -- you have to keep pushing yourself. You can't be satisfied with what's gone on in the past, you have to keep preparing for the next game and you have to keep expecting to do things well."
Sunday was only one win for Sandberg -- who tallied 439 wins as a manager during six years in the Minor Leagues -- but it was in the Majors, and he said he would probably keep his lineup card as a memento.
Sandberg has 39 more chances to win this season before the Phillies evaluate his performance and make a choice on a full-time manager in the offseason. Sandberg does not seem caught up in his win-loss record, but with a depleted lineup and games with little meaning, he still wants to see his team get better by the season's end.
"It's about competing. It's about improvement. It's about good play," Sandberg said. "And wins are certainly something we all shoot for. This is a game against a very good team -- a hot team -- that we'll take for now and hopefully build from that."