Carlos Santana drives in 5, Phillies beat Giants 11-3
PHILADELPHIA (AP) Carlos Santana’s line drives are starting to find open ground.
The Phillies, who are 20-11 since a 1-4 start, will try to sweep the four-game series Thursday afternoon.
Santana raised his batting average to .191 and tied a career best with the five RBIs. He has struggled in his first season with the Phillies after signing a $60 million, three-year contract. But manager Gabe Kapler never lost confidence in the slugger because he was hitting the ball hard.
”It’s huge to see Carlos break out and get some breaks,” Kapler said. ”We knew if he continued to strike the ball with authority, the ball is going to fall. We never had a doubt.”
Pivetta (2-2) bounced back from an awful start against the Nationals in which he lasted only one inning and allowed six runs. He scattered four hits and didn’t walk anyone.
Giants starter Chris Stratton (3-3) gave up five runs and five hits in 4 2/3 innings.
Santana ripped an RBI double to right field in the first inning and scored on Maikel Franco’s single to left. Franco drove his seventh homer to deep left-center for a 3-0 lead in the fourth.
”He’s crushing the ball,” Kapler said. ”It’s nice to see his bat come alive the last couple weeks.”
Santana’s two-run single in the fifth made it 5-0. He added another two-run single during a six-run sixth against San Francisco’s bullpen.
”I just try to focus and make contact,” he said. ”It’s been a big difference.”
The Phillies have outscored the Giants 26-5 in the first three games. San Francisco had won four in a row and seven of eight before coming to Philadelphia.
”You’re not quite pitching as well, and you’re not getting hits with runners in scoring position. You look flat,” manager Bruce Bochy said.
Several Phillies players gathered in the clubhouse to watch the final minutes of the Philadelphia 76ers’ elimination loss to the Boston Celtics in the NBA playoffs. Players were cheering wildly when the Sixers took a lead but they walked away disappointed after the final buzzer.
Odubel Herrera walked with two outs in the first, extending his streak of reaching base safely to 38 games dating to last season. It’s the longest run by a Phillies player since Jimmy Rollins had a 38-game streak from 2005-06. Hall of Famer Mike Schmidt has the team record with a 56-game streak from 1981-82.
Giants: RHP Mark Melancon could begin a rehab appearance depending on how the closer’s bullpen session Friday turns out. Melancon began the season on the disabled list because of a right elbow flexor strain.
Phillies: RHP Pat Neshek’s status is uncertain after the veteran reliever had a setback during a bullpen session. Kapler called it a ”mild flexor strain” in Neshek’s right elbow and said he won’t throw for at least another week. Neshek hasn’t pitched this season because of a strained right shoulder. … RHP Mark Leiter Jr. (strained right forearm) struck out five batters and walked one in 1 2/3 innings during a rehab appearance Wednesday with Class A Clearwater.
Phillies RHP Vince Velasquez (2-4, 5.14 ERA) faces Giants LHP Ty Blach (3-3, 3.60) in the series finale Thursday afternoon. Velasquez has only faced San Francisco once, allowing two runs over five innings in a no-decision. Blach tossed his lone career shutout in Philadelphia on June 2, 2017.
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