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Slider making talented Giles stand out in bullpen

While fastball lights up the radar gun, rookie drawing rave reviews for secondary pitch

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PHILADELPHIA -- The first pitch Ken Giles threw in the Majors -- a fastball that clocked in at 100 mph, according to the scoreboard in right field -- was met with rapturous applause from the Citizens Bank Park crowd. His second offering -- a 98-mph fastball -- drew sarcastic boos. And so it was quickly established.

Giles' heater is what fans and players alike think of when they hear his name. It's his weapon of choice, his go-to pitch, his bread and butter.

But it's not the key to Giles' success at the highest level.

Giles was summoned for a single out on June 12, the day he was recalled from Triple-A Lehigh Valley. Yasmani Grandal welcomed him to the big leagues with a solo home run that came off of a 3-1 fastball -- a gentle reminder in a 7-2 ballgame that in the Majors, it takes more than three-digit cheddar. Hence the development of a wipeout slider spawned from the same arm slot as his fastball. It baffled Alex Amarista for Giles' first career out, a swinging strikeout.

Giles slider Padres

"When he throws his hard slider with two strikes, the bottom just falls out of it," Phillies manager Ryne Sanbderg said.

Giles' slider, which sits at 87-89 mph, has been responsible for several more strikeouts this season -- 32 of his 48, to be exact.

"I've been working on that for years now. I just started to figure it out about a year ago -- probably less than that," said Giles, who has a 1.34 ERA, a 0.95 WHIP and 12.8 K/9 through his first 33 2/3 innings. "From there, it was just getting the reps in and making myself throw it, and that's all it took -- the more I threw it, the better it got."

Cole Hamels even went as far as to compare the 23-year-old rookie to one of the most dominant closers in recent history.

"He's got a power slider, so he's definitely kind of a Brad Lidge in the making, because he's the only guy that comes to mind that threw hard and had an incredible slider," Hamels said.

Phillies fans remember the 2008 version of Lidge, who helped the Phils win their first World Series title in 28 years. By then, Lidge was flaunting a polished slider that he had established a few years earlier.

Lidge slider to Hinske

When Lidge was at his best, the slider was the key. It has and will continue to be the key for Giles. In that regard, Hamels' comparison has some merit.

Ironically enough, Giles has had Lidge in his ear for a few months now, receiving guidance and advice on how and when to use his slider to milk it for all its worth. Not directly, of course, but through a surrogate.

"When I got the Triple-A, [Justin] De Fratus was a big part -- he gave me a better understanding of when to use it and how to use it," Giles said.

De Fratus, who spent a few weeks with Giles in Triple-A earlier this season before Giles joined him in the Phillies' bullpen, crossed paths with Lidge in 2011 and developed a rapport with the veteran. Lidge helped coach De Fratus on his slider, and now the 26-year-old reliever is paying it forward.

"When I had gotten sent down, at that point in my career, I began thinking, 'You know what, if this is what it's going to be, then I'm going to make sure that I'm helping other people along the way,'" De Fratus said. "So when [Giles] came there, I immediately talked to him and asked, 'What do you think you need to work on?' I knew it wasn't the fastball."

And so Giles told him about his developing slider.

"So we went after it. Every day, working on it," De Fratus said. "I learned a lot from Lidge about it, and I basically told him the same types of things that Brad had told me. So really, it was Brad's voice going to him. It wasn't really mine."

It was exactly what Giles needed to hear as he neared his debut in the bigs.

"It's just little things about how to stay on top of it and where to throw it, when to bury it, when not to," De Fratus said. "With Ken, he's so gifted, he throws so hard that with two strikes, if you're going to throw a slider, just make sure it's down."

And that's precisely what Giles has done. The results are Lidge-like.

Lidge slider to Giants

Giles Duda

Like Lidge, Giles has used an overwhelming fastball to maximize the effects of his slider. But there's reason to believe that the apprentice may one day eclipse the master, as Hamels continued his comparison of the two: "Giles throws a little bit harder than Brad did, which makes his slider even more dramatic and devastating to hitters."

Lidge never averaged the 97-mph heater that Giles is averaging in his rookie season. As one pitch plays off another, Giles' slider has the potential to appear even more unhittible to opposing batters than Lidge's ever did.

"Everything comes off the fastball," Phils pitching coach Bob McClure said. "So the better you are at commanding that, it makes it harder to hit the other stuff, because they have to gear up for No. 1. And if they gear up for No. 1 and you throw that slider ... tough to hit."

"It's still not perfect," Giles said of his slider. "It's been a work in progress since the start of my career. But once I got up here, everything just kind of clicked on it. I really figured it out up here."

That much has been made clear. On Monday, Giles began the eighth inning by getting Anthony Rendon swinging on a 99-mph fastball before getting Jayson Werth to lunge at an 89-mph slider in the dirt.

"If he throws a good one, you're probably not going to hit it," Werth said.

In the next at-bat, Ian Desmond knew exactly what to expect, but he still only made contact on one of three swings.

Desmond barely got a piece of a 99-mph fastball to begin the at-bat. On the next offering, same pitch, same speed, same location, and Desmond swung right through it.

And then, the slider.

Giles fans Desmond

"I feel like I can rely on it in any count, in any situation in the game," Giles said. "I'm becoming 100 percent confident throwing that slider."

For a Phillies team that has not had much to cheer about, that's music to their ears.

"He's come a long way," Sandberg said. "If you talk about a major bright spot this year, it'd be him. The way he's handling everything and the experience that he's gaining. He's a lot more comfortable and confident and mature than maybe I was expecting when I first saw him. But I kind of expect it now."

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Phils acquire Arano to complete Hernandez deal

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The Phillies have completed the Roberto Hernandez trade by acquiring right-hander Victor Arano from the Dodgers on Thursday.

Arano, 19, was the Dodgers' No. 14-ranked prospect, according to MLB.com, and he was 4-7 with a 4.08 ERA in 22 games (15 starts) for the Class A Great Lakes Loons this season. He's currently on the Minor League seven-day disabled list.

The right-handed Arano will be assigned to Class A Clearwater.

Arano came from the same Mexico City club and was signed in April 2013. Almost immediately, Arano impressed his new team with his feel for pitching. He worked as a starter and as a reliever in 2014, pitching all year at age 19 in the full-season Midwest League, and he was more effective as a reliever.

The 6-foot-2 right-hander has two above-average offerings in his fastball and slider. His heater will touch 94 mph at times and his breaking ball has improved this year, becoming a harder offering. He throws his changeup, but it's behind the other two. He does have solid command, and most feel the changeup will improve to the point where he'll have a three-pitch mix that should allow him to stay in a rotation full time.

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Phillies announce Montgomery taking medical leave

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Phillies announce Montgomery taking medical leave

PHILADELPHIA -- The Phillies made a surprising announcement Thursday afternoon when they revealed general partner and president David Montgomery is taking an immediate medical leave of absence while he recovers from jaw cancer surgery.

Pat Gillick has assumed Montgomery's responsibilities.

Gillick, who served as the organization's general manager from 2005-08 and continued to work as a senior advisor, issued a statement that said, "I have the highest regard for David Montgomery, as does everyone in our industry. I am glad to be of assistance to the Phillies."

The team added in its statement: "The club looks forward to David returning to his roles as General Partner, President and Chief Executive Officer when he is fully recovered."

Montgomery, 68, had surgery May 19 to remove cancer from his right jaw bone. He had been undergoing treatment following the surgery. Montgomery has kept a low profile since, although he was first in line Wednesday to shake hands on the field with the Taney Little League team during a pregame ceremony at Citizens Bank Park.

Montgomery had been unavailable to reporters in recent weeks, although he spoke to a fan group last week at the ballpark. He also recently made the team's road trip to Washington before the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline.

Montgomery has been the public face of the Phils' ownership group since 1997, when he became president. He started in the organization in 1971, when he sold season and group tickets. Montgomery advanced to marketing director and director of sales, before becoming executive vice president following the 1981 season.

Montgomery became chief operating officer in 1992. He acquired an ownership interest in the team in 1994.

Montgomery is very popular with his employees. Former players often cite the organization's "family atmosphere," and it is something that starts with Montgomery, who makes a point to know everybody in the organization, regardless of their stature or importance.

Montgomery grew up in the Roxborough section of Philadelphia. He graduated from William Penn Charter School in 1964 and the University of Pennsylvania in '68. Montgomery received his MBA from the Wharton School in '70.

Montgomery and his wife Lyn have three children: Harry, Sam and Susa. They have two grandchildren: Elizabeth and Cameron.

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Buchanan gets the call as Phils go for fifth straight win

Rookie struggled in return from DL; Buchanan starts for Philadelphia

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Buchanan gets the call as Phils go for fifth straight win play video for Buchanan gets the call as Phils go for fifth straight win

In his first start after returning from a brief stint on the disabled list on Saturday against the Dodgers, Mets rookie Jacob deGrom was far from convincing.

The right-hander, who was sidelined because of pain in his throwing shoulder, compiled one of the worst outings of his young Major League career, surrendering five earned runs on five hits over six innings to suffer his sixth loss of the season and first since July 2. His ERA also jumped above 3.00 for the first time since July 22.

In the series opener against the Phillies on Friday at Citi Field, deGrom will have an opportunity to rebound from his performance and quell any doubts about his health moving forward.

"I felt good," deGrom said after his start on Saturday. "It's just a lot of outings come down to a few pitches, and tonight I didn't make those pitches when I needed to."

After throwing just 86 pitches on Saturday following his two-week layoff, deGrom will attempt to reach a higher pitch count on Friday in New York to test the strength and endurance of his shoulder. However, it would be unlikely for manager Terry Collin to let the right-hander roam too far past 100 pitches.

deGrom last faced the Phillies on May 31, when he surrendered three runs in 6 1/3 innings while striking out a career-high 11. On Friday, the rookie will face off against Philadelphia right-hander David Buchanan, who is 6-7 with a 4.21 ERA on the season.

Buchanan has shown promise during his most recent stint in the Majors, compiling a 3.75 ERA over four August starts. He went at least five innings and didn't surrender more than three runs in each outing during that span.

Phillies: Mayberry likely to be activated Monday
John Mayberry Jr. will likely be activated from the 15-day disabled list on Monday, according to manager Ryne Sandberg.

Mayberry worked out with the Phillies on Wednesday afternoon at Citizens Bank Park. He's been sidelined since July 21 with inflammation in his left wrist and began a Minor League rehab assignment with Triple-A Lehigh Valley on Aug. 19.

He's scheduled to return to Lehigh Valley for three more days, and then join the Phillies for Monday's series opener in Atlanta.

Mets: Banged-up club playing shorthanded
The Mets have been playing in effect with a 21-man roster against the Braves. David Wright (neck) and David Murphy (calf) both sat out the first two games against Atlanta, while relievers Josh Edgin (elbow) and Vic Black (neck) remained unavailable.

Edgin was "iffy" for Wednesday, according to Collins, and he ended up not appearing in the game. Wright was hopeful he'd see some action before the Phillies arrive in Queens, while Murphy's and Black's issues sound as if they could linger into the weekend.

Wright was upbeat after taking batting practice Wednesday afternoon.

"I can't explain how bored I am sitting on the bench doing nothing. It's always good to get back out here and run around," Wright said. "I'm hopeful, but by no means have we discussed [playing on Thursday]. I think they've guarded against kind of giving me timelines because I always want to rush things. Of course, I'd like to be in there tomorrow, but probably rightfully so, that's kind of been taken out of my hands."

Worth noting
• Black underwent an MRI on his neck Wednesday. The right-hander said he has bone spurs growing on his vertebrae, but he doesn't expect to miss any significant time.

• The Phillies honored the Taney Dragons before Wednesday night's game against the Nationals with a ceremony that included a video tribute. The whole Little League team threw out first pitches to Phillies players. Star pitcher Mo'ne Davis tossed hers to closer Jonathan Papelbon.

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Sizemore's pinch-hit blast drives Phils' sweep

Outfielder delivers go-ahead homer as Philadelphia tops Nationals

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Sizemore's pinch-hit blast drives Phils' sweep play video for Sizemore's pinch-hit blast drives Phils' sweep

PHILADELPHIA -- The Phillies signed Grady Sizemore to a Minor League contract on June 24 because they had some of the worst production of any outfield in baseball, and if they could find a way to compete, they wanted options.

The Phillies never came close to a Wild Card run, but Sizemore joined the team July 11 and has played pretty well since.

He hit a pinch-hit, two-run home run with two outs in the sixth inning on Wednesday in an 8-4 victory over the Nationals at Citizens Bank Park. It gave the Phillies a one-run lead on their way to a three-game sweep as the Phils finished 7-2 on their homestand against the Mariners, Cardinals and Nationals.

"Yeah, just a ball up in the zone and I was able to do something with it," Sizemore said about the 0-2 curveball from Nationals right-hander Doug Fister.

Sizemore is hitting .307 (35-for-114) with nine doubles, two triples, two home runs, nine RBIs and an .815 OPS in 120 plate appearances with the Phillies.

"He's a quality at-bat, that's for sure," Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg said. "He puts the bat on the ball. He has done a nice job against some left-handed pitching in a pinch. He gives a quality at-bat. He really does. He stays right in there. And obviously he can play the outfield."

But what does it all mean? Sizemore is a free agent following the season, but sources have said the Phillies think Sizemore could be part of their 2015 roster. While it would be risky to count on him as an everyday player considering his extensive injury history -- he missed much of the 2010-11 seasons and the entire 2012-13 seasons because of injuries -- the organization believes Sizemore has value in a potential platoon in left field with Darin Ruf.

Of course, that only happens if the Phillies move on from Domonic Brown.

"I think everyone wants to play every day," Sizemore said. "I'll see what's out there. Honestly, I'm just trying to finish this year and worry about next year, next year."

As far as his health, Sizemore said, "Things have been good, real good. I feel strong, feel like I'm getting better and stronger as time goes on, so that's a good sign. I honestly don't know what [100 percent healthy] is going to feel like. I don't know what the limit is or where the ceiling is. I'm just trying to improve and stay strong and build off each day."

But at least the Phillies have something to think about, because at the moment they have no outfield prospects in the farm system close to competing for a job in Spring Training.

Sizemore saved Phillies right-hander Kyle Kendrick, who allowed seven hits and four runs in six innings. Kendrick, who has allowed at least four runs in each of his last four starts, entered the night with a 4.93 ERA, which was the fourth-highest ERA among 93 qualifying pitchers in baseball.

His first-inning struggles continued. Kendrick allowed a leadoff single to Denard Span, who scored on Anthony Rendon's double to left field to hand the Nationals a 1-0 lead just two batters into the game. Rendon eventually scored to make it 2-0.

Kendrick has a 10.00 ERA (30 earned runs in 27 innings) in the first inning this season, which is the highest mark in baseball for pitchers with 20 or more starts and on pace for the highest mark in franchise history.

"Jimmy [Rollins] said I might have tipped [my pitches] a little bit, so I changed some things in my glove," Kendrick said about his first-inning struggles.

The Phillies tied the game in the bottom of the first. Rollins hit his 17th homer of the season, a solo shot that landed in the first row in right field. Chase Utley scored the tying run with help from an error from Span in center field.

Kendrick allowed a leadoff double to Span in the third. He scored on Jayson Werth's one-out single to left to make it 3-2. Span then crushed his second home run of the season to right field in the fifth inning to make it 4-2.

But Brown's double to right-center field in the sixth scored Marlon Byrd to make it 4-3. Three batters later, Sizemore hit his homer to take the lead.

Byrd hit a two-run homer in the seventh and Ryan Howard added an RBI single in the eighth to give the Phillies a cushion.

"I think we played well the last couple series, a lot of big hits and a lot of good pitching performances," Sizemore said. "Guys are playing with a lot of energy. It's fun when you win."

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Taney Dragons get big league salute in Philadelphia

LLWS club, including star pitcher Mo'ne Davis, honored on field, throw first pitches

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Taney Dragons get big league salute in Philadelphia play video for Taney Dragons get big league salute in Philadelphia

PHILADELPHIA -- The Phillies rolled out the red carpet for the Taney Dragons on Wednesday night.

After a parade down Broad Street, the Dragons were showered with gifts and admiration at Citizens Bank Park. Taney has been the toast of the town this summer with a captivating run to the Little League World Series, becoming the first team from Philadelphia to reach the tournament.

The Dragons were led into the stadium by the Phanatic and the University of Pennsylvania marching band. The team descended from the center-field stands and walked down the red carpet, where the Phillies greeted them.

A video tribute followed as the Dragons were introduced to the crowd from a stage on the infield. After speeches by Mayor Michael Nutter, Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard and Taney manager Alex Rice, the Dragons took a lap around the field, shaking hands with adoring fans.

The Dragons then threw out first pitches as a team, which were caught by Howard, Jimmy Rollins, Chase Utley, Carlos Ruiz, Cole Hamels, A.J. Burnett, Marlon Byrd, Ben Revere, Domonic Brown, Cody Asche, John Mayberry Jr. and Jonathan Papelbon.

"It was really cool," said Mo'ne Davis, the star pitcher who graced the cover of Sports Illustrated last week. She threw her first pitch to Papelbon.

In addition, the Phillies presented all 12 Dragons with personalized Phillies jerseys.

"It was pretty awesome, just really amazing," said Zion Spearman.

"This team won our hearts," public address announcer Dan Baker told the crowd. "Tonight, we would like to say thanks for the excitement and the fun."

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Ryno, players going through 'growing pains'

Some are frustrated with manager, but he says he has a good handle on clubhouse

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Ryno, players going through 'growing pains' play video for Ryno, players going through 'growing pains'

PHILADELPHIA -- It certainly looks and feels like Ryne Sandberg has a problem percolating in the Phillies' clubhouse.

Cole Hamels became the latest player to express his frustrations about Sandberg, when he pulled Hamels from Tuesday's game in the eighth inning. Hamels looked disgusted as Sandberg approached and handed him the ball as he walked off the mound. Hamels made a point after the game to sidestep questions about Sandberg.

Sandberg recently met with Domonic Brown and David Buchanan following comments they made regarding playing time. A week earlier in San Francisco, he met with Kyle Kendrick after he nearly left the mound before Sandberg could remove him from a game. Sandberg had closed-door meetings with Ryan Howard last month following his announcement he wanted to see others play more at first base, saying he could not care less about Howard's salary because he wanted to win games. Sandberg benched Jimmy Rollins in Spring Training, but ruffled feathers when he offered a "no comment" when asked about Rollins' energy and influence in the clubhouse.

"I just deal with it and have conversations," Sandberg said Wednesday.

Does he feel he has a good handle on the clubhouse?

"Yes," he said. "Yeah."

But sources said some players are frustrated, either with how Sandberg handles the game or how he handles players. Of course, much of this has to do with losing. Problems fade on winning teams. They fester and grow on losing ones.

So is there a good or bad relationship between players and manager?

"There are those relationships, then there are relationships that work themselves out," Rollins said. "First year, figuring each other out. And that's all you can do. You play ball, you figure out their style. Some things you're going to agree with. Some things you're not. Different personalities bring different questioning.

"[Former manager Charlie Manuel] was such a happy guy. He said what he meant, so you knew where he stood when he answered the media. Then things he chose not to talk about [publicly], you wouldn't know. Then you've got the complete opposite of a guy, who's very introverted. You're not quite sure when he answers questions what you're going to get. That brings another set of questions.

"It's growing pains. The first year is a tough one, especially when you're losing. It's tough. It doesn't matter who the manager is. If you're losing, you're pulling guys out, they're going to be upset. That's just the honest truth. But other than that, going from 9 1/2 years of one guy to a new guy, it's an adjustment for everybody."

Phillies right fielder Marlon Byrd said he does not see a disconnect or lack of communication between the players and Sandberg.

"It is really up to the veteran guys to make sure there is communication that is getting back to the manager," Byrd said. "So if there is a disconnect, it's not the manager's fault. It's the veterans' fault. We try. Chase [Utley], Jimmy, Ryan. Ryne had the conversation with Ryan as far as playing time and all that. I've talked to Dom. I've said, 'Have a conversation with us or go and talk to Sandberg.' There's not a disconnect, but it may seem like it because of comments. It's frustration of their job. If it looks like it's a distrust or hate toward the manager, it's perceived incorrectly."

Byrd said he thinks "the relationship is great" between players and manager.

"Motivation is good. That's us. Communication is good. That's us," Byrd said. "It's not him. That's the way I perceive it. That's the way I look at it, and that's my opinion. Other guys might have different opinions."

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Phils will likely activate Mayberry on Monday

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Phils will likely activate Mayberry on Monday play video for Phils will likely activate Mayberry on Monday

PHILADELPHIA -- The Phillies expect to activate outfielder John Mayberry Jr. from the 15-day disabled list on Monday, according to manager Ryne Sandberg.

Mayberry worked out with the Phillies on Wednesday afternoon at Citizens Bank Park. He's been sidelined since July 21 with inflammation in his left wrist and began a Minor League rehab assignment with Triple-A Lehigh Valley on Aug. 19.

The Phillies have a crowded outfield, so it makes sense for the club to be patient with Mayberry and activate him once rosters expand on Monday. He's scheduled to return to Lehigh Valley for three more days, then join the Phillies for Monday's series opener in Atlanta, Sandberg said.

Mike Adams is also rehabbing with Lehigh Valley as he attempts to return from inflammation in his right shoulder. Adams pitched a perfect inning on Tuesday, striking out one and getting two groundouts.

"It was clean, it was good," Sandberg said of Adams' first rehab outing. "He has a couple days off, and he will do one inning again and then repeat that. I just heard that he did fine."

Adams hopes to pitch for the Phillies at some point in September. He's been on the disabled list since June 7.

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Phils clinch series with help from overturned call

Revere creates go-ahead run in eighth after reaching due to challenge

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Phils clinch series with help from overturned call play video for Phils clinch series with help from overturned call

PHILADELPHIA -- Ben Revere knew he was safe. With a little help from replay review, he actually got the call -- and went on to help the Phillies to a 4-3 win over the Nationals on Tuesday night at Citizens Bank Park, giving the Phils their first series win over a National League East opponent since June 18.

With the game tied at 3, Revere led off the eighth inning with a grounder to short. Ian Desmond's throw was high, but first-base umpire Gary Cederstrom ruled that Kevin Frandsen held the bag with his right foot. Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg challenged the out call, and after a review of just under three minutes, the umpires ruled that the throw pulled Frandsen off the bag and called Revere safe.

"I was pretty sure I was safe, but I knew it was close," Revere said. "I kind of snuck a look into the dugout, like, 'We should try it.' It was a tough play; he had to rush it."

"I thought it was a base hit, actually," said Sandberg. "That was a tough play, for a guy that's chasing a batting title. That was bang-bang. It was an easy one to look at, and obviously a big play in the game."

Desmond was charged with an error on the throw.

Revere stole second -- his 39th steal of the season -- and Jimmy Rollins followed with a fly ball to right field that moved Revere to third. Carlos Ruiz followed with a sacrifice fly to center, and Revere trotted home with the go-ahead run.

"I wanted to take off early," Revere said. "I thought they might pitch out, but when I figured they were going after [Rollins], I had to get that stolen base. Jimmy came up big, getting me over."

With Tuesday's win, the Phillies took a series from an NL East opponent for the first time since sweeping the Braves in Atlanta from June 16-18. The Phillies had lost 29 of 44 games against the NL East since May 11. The Phillies have now won three consecutive series for the first time since June 2-14. They had to overcome a rare stumble by Cole Hamels to do it, and Hamels wasn't exactly in the mood to discuss it afterward.

Hamels has been one of the best pitchers in baseball the last three months, entering this start with a 1.77 ERA since June 1. He dominated the Nationals for six innings but faltered in the seventh. After giving up two runs and escaping a bases-loaded jam in the seventh, Hamels came back out for the eighth and gave up a game-tying home run to Asdrubal Cabrera. Sandberg immediately came to get him, and Hamels looked agitated on the mound.

Asked if he was upset at himself or at being removed from the game, Hamels said: "I just think it was a good game and we were able to win."

Asked if that meant he was upset at himself or at being removed from the game, Hamels said: "It was a good game that we won."

Sandberg, asked about Hamels' mood, said: "I haven't talked to him yet.

"Cole cruised for six innings, but he had some problems with location in the seventh. Then he went out in the eighth in a hitter-by-hitter situation. I gave him a verbal [indication that he was hitter-by-hitter]. I don't think it made a difference. There was some talk about [not letting him pitch the eighth], but sending him out hitter-by-hitter with [Ken] Giles behind him was the route to go."

Hamels allowed just three hits over the first six innings, but then gave up five hits to the last nine batters he faced.

"He had everything working," Desmond said. "He had a good tempo going. Everything was working for him. But that's a testament to us, rattling off three runs -- that's a big homer by Cabby right there."

In fairness, Sandberg was having a game where he could do little wrong. Hamels' early run support came from a Sandberg move to put Freddy Galvis and Darin Ruf in the lineup in place of Chase Utley and Ryan Howard. Galvis hit a two-run homer off Nationals starter Gio Gonzalez in the fifth to break open a scoreless game, and Ruf added a solo shot in the sixth.

Utley is 3-for-17 lifetime against Gonzalez, while Howard is hitless against Gonzalez in 11 at-bats with six strikeouts. Utley is also 3-for-29 on this homestand. Galvis and Ruf each had two hits Tuesday.

"Gio is tough against some of our left-handed bats, so we wanted to get after him with some of our right-handed hitters," Sandberg said.

For five innings, Gonzalez was tough on everybody. The Phillies got a runner to third base in the second, but stranded Ruf when Andres Blanco hit into an inning-ending 6-4-3 double play. But Grady Sizemore led off the fifth inning with a triple to center, and Galvis followed with his homer. Ruf's homer in the sixth made it 3-0.

That's when Hamels faltered -- in the top of the seventh, Anthony Rendon led off with a single. Jayson Werth topped a ball in front of home plate for one out, but Desmond singled off the glove of Blanco and Scott Hairston walked. Wilson Ramos singled to right to score one run, and the Nationals had Hamels in real trouble for the first time.

Frandsen singled to right and the Nationals cut the lead to 3-2, with the bases still loaded. Pinch-hitter Danny Espinosa scorched a line drive right at Rollins for the second out and Hamels got Denard Span to bounce out to first to end the threat.

Giles, who relieved Hamels after the Cabrera homer, picked up the win, striking out all three batters he faced in the eighth, and Jonathan Papelbon finished for his 33rd save. It was Papelbon's 100th save as a member of the Phillies, tying Brad Lidge for fourth place on the team's all-time saves list.

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{"content":["replay" ] }

Phils score go-ahead run after winning challenge

Revere creates decisive tally after reaching on overturned call, the second of the game

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Phils score go-ahead run after winning challenge play video for Phils score go-ahead run after winning challenge

PHILADELPHIA -- The Phillies won their second challenge of Tuesday's night's 4-3 victory over the Nationals in the eighth inning, which led to the go-ahead run scoring.

With the game tied at 3, Ben Revere led off the eighth inning with a grounder to short. Ian Desmond's throw was high, but first-base umpire Gary Cederstrom ruled that Kevin Frandsen held the bag with his right foot. Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg challenged the out call, and after a review of just under three minutes, the umpires ruled that the throw pulled Frandsen off the bag and called Revere safe.

"It is what it is," Nationals manager Matt Williams said. "We can see it one way, it doesn't mean that they're going to see it the same. They made the decision."

"I don't think it matters what I think," Frandsen said. "Replay showed what they thought. It's what we've got to live with. It's what I've got to live with -- not being tall enough."

"I was pretty sure I was safe, but I knew it was close," Revere said. "I kind of snuck a look into the dugout, like, 'We should try it.' It was a tough play; he had to rush it."

Desmond was charged with an error on the throw.

"I thought it was a base hit, actually," said Sandberg. "That was a tough play, for a guy that's chasing a batting title. That was bang-bang. It was an easy one to look at, and obviously a big play in the game."

"I don't really think there was a whole lot else I could do," Desmond said. "He hit the ball sharp to my backhand side, it was a little bit too close to backhand. Don't really have time to aim, so I just tried to get rid of it as quick as I could, make a good throw, you know. But he's safe by -- if he is safe -- by an inch at the most. But speed never goes in a slump and he used it right there.

"Beyond making a lower throw, I don't really think there was anything I could do differently. I didn't really have a whole lot of time to aim. Just tried to get a good throw off within an inch difference."

Revere stole second -- his 39th steal of the season -- and Jimmy Rollins followed with a fly ball to right field that moved Revere to third. Carlos Ruiz followed with a sacrifice fly to center, and Revere trotted home with the go-ahead run.

"I wanted to take off early," Revere said. "I thought they might pitch out, but when I figured they were going after [Rollins], I had to get that stolen base. Jimmy came up big, getting me over."

Sandberg won his first challenge early in the game. With two outs in the first inning, Anthony Rendon hit a dribbler in the hole between third and short. Third baseman Andres Blanco charged it and fired to Darin Ruf at first base, where Rendon was called safe.

The ruling on the field was Ruf had come off the base while stretching to make the catch, but upon review, it was revealed that he kept his foot on the bag while extending. The call on the field was overturned, and Rendon was ruled out, ending the inning.

{"content":["replay" ] }
{"event":["prospect" ] }

Quinn among Phillies prospects headed to AFL

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Quinn among Phillies prospects headed to AFL play video for Quinn among Phillies prospects headed to AFL

PHILADELPHIA -- Pitchers Colton Murray, Ryan O'Sullivan, Ethan Stewart and Nefi Ogando will be pitching for Scottsdale in the Arizona Fall League. Catcher Logan Moore and outfielder Roman Quinn will also be in Scottsdale. The Phillies have one more open spot for the AFL that is still to be determined.

Murray is 1-5 with a 2.30 ERA at Double-A Reading, after he posted a 2-2 record with a 2.04 ERA at Class A Advanced Clearwater. He's held opposing hitters to a .207 batting average and struck out 74 in 72 1/3 innings combined between the two levels.

O'Sullivan is 5-8 with a 4.23 ERA at Reading, making 35 appearances (10 starts), and Stewart is 5-7 with a 4.88 ERA at Clearwater in 26 games (16 starts). Ogando was 5-1 with a 6.62 ERA and five saves at Reading.

Moore is hitting .213 with three homers at Reading after hitting .238 in 32 games at Clearwater. Quinn, the Phillies' No. 5 prospect, is hitting .252 with 30 stolen bases as a center fielder at Clearwater.

"As bad a season as it's been in terms of wins and losses, I'm very happy with a couple guys in Clearwater," Phillies director of player development Joe Jordan said. "Quinn has gotten healthy, and he's developed as a player so much. He hasn't lost anything foot-speed-wise after rupturing his Achilles, and for me, he's going to be an impact player. He gets better and better in center field every day. We're very excited about him.

"He's grown on the bases as far as his willingness to let it go -- where he's saying, 'I'm taking this bag and everybody in the ballpark knows it.'"

{"event":["prospect" ] }
{"event":["prospect" ] }
{"event":["prospect" ] }

Nola a bright spot in tough year for pitching prospects

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Nola a bright spot in tough year for pitching prospects play video for Nola a bright spot in tough year for pitching prospects

PHILADELPHIA -- Phillies director of player development Joe Jordan didn't mince words when he talked about the state of the team's Minor League pitching prospects Tuesday, saying with a shrug: "It's been a tough year for our starters." But he did note some bright spots, particularly right-hander Aaron Nola, the Phillies' first-round pick in the 2014 First-Year Player Draft.

Nola, the Phillies' No. 2 prospect, is 1-0 with a 3.32 ERA for Double-A Reading.

"Nola is scheduled for one more start Friday in Trenton," Jordan said. "He's done very well. We set a target of 170 innings, and it was just the best-case scenario. We've kept him on a six-day rotation. This past time was the first time he's gone on five; we'll have him do that one more time just to expose him to that routine. The way he works, his delivery, the way he executes pitches -- it's different from other guys."

This winter the Phillies are set to shut him down to get him ready for Spring Training.

"He will not pitch competitively," Jordan said. "There are some things we want to cover, like improving his time to home plate and things like that that we want to address. But he's been as advertised. He's very polished, and he knows what he needs to do. He's got things to improve upon, but he's done very well.

"We haven't talked about [an invite to Major League camp], although I'm sure there will be some interest in that."

Maikel Franco, on the other hand, is headed for winter ball. Jordan said that a September callup would be a good experience for Franco, but also noted that the team has other considerations -- not the least of which are two players entrenched at the positions Franco plays.

Franco, the Phils' No. 3 prospect, entered July hitting just .209 with five home runs, but the third baseman has batted .330 at Triple-A Lehigh Valley since.

"His struggles had nothing to do with ability. He got exposed as far as his willingness to swing at bad pitches," Jordan said. "The biggest adjustment he's made in the last six or eight weeks is that he's made them throw the ball over the plate. He's waiting for a good pitch to hit instead of just hacking. He's almost 22 years old; he's not ready to be good every day. But he's getting there."

Other highlights from the Phillies' Minor League system:

At Reading, Kelly Dugan, the team's No. 17 prospect, fouled a ball off his left foot and suffered a small fracture. Dugan is hitting .296.

"He probably won't be playing anymore this year," Jordan said. "It sounds like it's a minor thing. Hopefully, some time off will take care of it, because we do want him to play this winter, and he needs that."

Larry Green, the team's first-round pick in 2011, is hitting .177 at Lakewood.

"It's been a bad year," Jordan said. "We're disappointed he hasn't been able to turn it around. Nothing much to say, it's just really disappointing. He looks great physically. He's just not making enough contact."

Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez, signed by the Phillies as a free agent last year, is progressing at Triple-A Lehigh Valley.

"I saw him last night and he was a Major League pitcher last night," Jordan said. "That was exciting. He went right through them. I've seen it every step of the way, and last night was the best I've seen him.

"Right now, it's about getting him in a role where he can have success. I'll tell you one thing this guy can do: He'll get to the best hitter in their lineup, and he'll find another gear. It's impressive."

Jordan mildly disagreed that No. 4 prospect Jesse Biddle took a step back with his 3-10 record and 5.03 ERA at Reading. But the 2010 first-round pick has had a number of injuries (most recently a quadriceps injury in his left leg) and hasn't progressed the way the team hoped. His arm is healthy, Jordan said.

"It's definitely been a downer," Jordan said. "Last year, for me, was not a negative year. He had only one stat in 2013 that I felt was a negative and that was walks. He did a lot of good things in his overall season in 2013."

Biddle will pitch in the instructional league, Jordan said.

{"event":["prospect" ] }

Giles won't close as long as Papelbon is around

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Giles won't close as long as Papelbon is around play video for Giles won't close as long as Papelbon is around

PHILADELPHIA -- While many people talk about Ken Giles as the Phillies' closer in waiting, manager Ryne Sandberg said he'll still be waiting a while as long as Jonathan Papelbon is here and available to pitch. The Phillies have no plans to run Giles out into some save situations in September.

"Papelbon is our closer," Sandberg said. "I don't think it would be a problem; I have confidence in Kenny. But we haven't even talked about that."

Giles had a 1.42 ERA and 44 strikeouts in 31 2/3 innings entering Tuesday. Even if Papelbon wasn't available due to his workload, it's not a lock that Giles would have the ninth in a save situation.

"We have a couple choices," Sandberg said. "It would depend on the scenario. Jake Diekman has done it. There would be a choice there."

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{"content":["top_pitching_performances" ] }

Burnett fans 12 in dominating win over Nationals

Phils righty cruises vs. NL East's top team to halt post-break struggles

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Burnett fans 12 in dominating win over Nationals play video for Burnett fans 12 in dominating win over Nationals

PHILADELPHIA -- A.J. Burnett pitched on Monday like a man not quite ready for retirement.

Maybe he will pitch in 2015, after all.

"You go out there and do that tonight and it makes you wonder," Burnett said following a 3-2 victory over the Nationals at Citizens Bank Park.

Burnett allowed one run, three hits and one walk and struck out 12 in seven innings against a team that had won 12 of 13 to take a commanding lead in the National League East. Burnett hasn't had many starts like that lately. He went 0-5 with a 7.52 ERA in his previous five starts, 0-6 with a 7.41 ERA in seven starts since the All-Star break and 4-13 with a 5.23 ERA in 20 starts since May 3.

"It's the first time I felt like me in a long time," Burnett said. "I wish I could have found that little glitch about a month, two months ago."

Burnett, who said he fixed a mechanical flaw in his delivery, said following his last start last week that he would "probably not" pitch next season, which has been a topic of conversation recently because the Phillies have serious starting-pitching issues heading into 2015 and Burnett has a hefty player option. If he was pitching well, the option might not be such a big deal, but he hasn't been for much of the season.

The Phillies have about two days following the 2014 World Series to decide if they want to pick up their half of a $15 million mutual option. It is a near certainty they will decline. Burnett has about two more days to decide if he wants to pick up his option, which currently is worth $10 million. It jumps to $11.75 million after his 30th start and $12.75 million after his 32nd start.

Burnett made his 28th start Monday. He is on pace for 34.

"No, I don't," Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said when asked if he has any inkling about Burnett's intentions. "I haven't discussed it with him or his agent."

Asked if a string of starts like the one he had Monday could get Burnett leaning in the other direction, Burnett said, "Let's just talk about this year right now, all right?"

Burnett found himself in a similar position last season with the Pirates. He indicated he would retire if the Pirates did not re-sign him. But he said as Spring Training approached he still had a desire to pitch. He ultimately signed a one-year, $16 million deal with the Phillies.

"I have some options next year, of course," said Burnett, who had his two sons in the clubhouse after the game. "But I signed a one-year deal for a reason. Those little rug rats you saw running around here and Karen, my wife, is a big reason for that. I've been away from them for a long time, but minds do change. I was in the same spot last year and my mind changed. We'll just see how I feel at the end of the season."

The Phillies have starting-pitching problems, particularly a lack of depth for 2015. Asked if he would like to have Burnett be part of the future, Amaro said, "Obviously, when we signed him, that was the idea. We have the ability to bring him back. Obviously, there's going to be a challenge for us, with [Cliff] Lee being out, we're hopeful he'll be ready for Opening Day next year. We've got obviously Cole [Hamels] and [David] Buchanan. Beyond that, we have a lot of open spots. So pitching is going to be a priority. Starting pitching is going to be a priority for us next year."

Burnett struck out 10 batters through five scoreless innings before he gave up a solo home run to Anthony Rendon in the sixth inning to cut the Phillies' lead to 2-1. Burnett struck out Jayson Werth and Adam LaRoche to end the inning. He then bailed out Domonic Brown in the seventh. Brown flat-out missed a ball hit to left-center field, which allowed Ian Desmond to reach second base.

The ball hit Brown's glove, but it was ruled a double.

"Looked like he got it," Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg said. "It went off his glove."

Burnett got Bryce Harper, Wilson Ramos and Danny Espinosa to all fly out to end the inning.

Burnett patted Brown on the back in the dugout afterward.

"He hit it good in the gap," Burnett said about Desmond's ball. "[Brown] almost came up with it. That's what guys do. You try to pick each other up. He didn't drop it on purpose. He ran a long way to try to get to that ball. To leave that guy stranded out there was big."

The Phillies took a 1-0 lead in the fourth when Ryan Howard scored on a single from Brown. Cody Asche's home run to right field in the fifth made it 2-0.

Carlos Riuz's homer in the seventh made it 3-1.

Jonathan Papelbon allowed a home run to Ramos in the ninth before locking down his 32nd save.

{"content":["top_pitching_performances" ] }

Amaro pleased with Sandberg's first full year thus far

Phillies general manager touches on a number of topics with media on Monday

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Amaro pleased with Sandberg's first full year thus far play video for Amaro pleased with Sandberg's first full year thus far

PHILADELPHIA -- Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg has had his share of closed-door meetings and issues with players this season, but Ruben Amaro Jr. said Monday he likes the way Sandberg has handled his first full season on the job, although he acknowledged a learning curve.

"I didn't expect Ryno to come in here and be the greatest manager of all time," Amaro said before the series opener against the Nationals at Citizens Bank Park. "This is a process. He's learning. By and large, he's done a good job. You're a smart manager when teams win and you're not so smart when you don't have success."

Sandberg recently met with Domonic Brown and David Buchanan following comments they made regarding playing time. A week earlier in San Francisco, he met with Kyle Kendrick after the righty nearly left the mound before Sandberg could remove him from a game. He had closed-door meetings with Ryan Howard last month following his announcement that he wanted to see others play more at first base, which he backed off a few days later. He benched Jimmy Rollins in Spring Training, but ruffled feathers when he offered a "no comment" when asked about Rollins' energy and influence in the clubhouse.

"He's addressing these things," Amaro said. "That's all I can ask of the manager. Some unfortunate comments, I think. In some cases, some inappropriate comments on the player's part. But I think that's been handled."

Sandberg has been criticized for some of his in-game decisions and how he handles the lineup, but a big part of a manager's job is communicating and motivating players. Amaro said he believes Sandberg is improving in those areas.

"He was given a tough task right out of the chute," Amaro said. "There was an expectation for us to win. We have a lot of veterans who were, in some cases, underperforming. We had some young guys we were giving opportunities who we expected more from. It's been challenging for him. It's a great learning experience for him. He's still learning and learning different ways to motivate and move the club forward. He's addressing things. He's learning how to handle the players on a daily basis. He's utilizing the staff well. We still have over a month to go. I'll know more about how he's done. So far I'm pleased with how he's handled things."

Amaro touched on other topics Monday:

• The waiver Trade Deadline is Sunday. Players like Cole Hamels, Marlon Byrd and Grady Sizemore have been claimed and subsequently pulled back from revocable waivers, meaning they cannot be traded. But others like Jonathan Papelbon and A.J. Burnett have cleared and can be traded. Is there a chance anybody will be moved?

"I think there still may be something that happens," Amaro said. "But who knows? A lot depends on what teams' needs may be in the next five or six days. We've been in contact with some clubs."

Amaro declined to discuss the possibility that Papelbon is moved before the end of the month.

• Domonic Brown's .612 OPS as a left fielder entering Monday is on pace to be the lowest of any qualifying left fielder in baseball since Kansas City's Chuck Knoblauch posted a .582 OPS in 2002. Brown also has played below-average defense.

"We're still in the process of assessing what he is," Amaro said. "I think he's better than what he's been the bulk of the season. I think he's a more talented player than that. At the same time, we're still trying to assess where he is. We just don't ... we don't have a crystal ball. We're still assessing."

• Sources have said the Phillies believe Darin Ruf is more of a platoon player than an everyday player, but Amaro said, "We haven't made a final decision on that yet."

• Ben Revere entered Monday tied with Colorado's Justin Morneau for the National League lead in batting average at .314. But is he the Phillies' future in center field? He was hitting .368 with an .800 OPS in 51 games since June 25. He hit .270 with a .617 OPS in 68 games before that. It mirrored last season, when he hit .243 with a .558 OPS in 53 games through June 4, 2013, before hitting .392 with an .881 OPS in 35 games before suffering a season-ending foot injury.

"He has played well enough to [be the future center fielder]," Amaro said. "Again, we have to keep our minds open on every aspect of our club, because this is clearly not good enough to contend. We haven't played good enough to contend, so while some areas are probably things we have to address at the top of the list, like pitching, starting pitching in particular ... and our offense, those are two things that have to get better."

• The Phillies are expected to have a few September callups. It could come from a group that includes Cesar Hernandez, Cameron Rupp, Maikel Franco, Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez, Luis Garcia and Hector Neris. But who will play and how often?

"A lot of it depends on who gets called up, who we decide are the priority guys as far as playing time is concerned," Amaro said. "We have time to decide that."

{}
{"content":["injury" ] }

Adams focused on finishing season healthy

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Adams focused on finishing season healthy play video for Adams focused on finishing season healthy

PHILADELPHIA -- Injured Phillies reliever Mike Adams just wants to finish the season healthy and on a mound in the Majors. He says it's the most important thing for his career right now.

Adams is on the disabled list for the second time this season, the result of inflammation in his right rotator cuff. He's set to begin a Minor League rehab assignment on Tuesday with Triple-A Lehigh Valley. Adams has been limited to 19 appearances this season but is optimistic he can pitch for the Phillies in September.

"Hopefully, I can continue on the same path with everything and hopefully it all holds up," said Adams, who estimated he had only 20 percent off his rotator cuff still intact. "There's still a month left. It's a long month."

Adams had been working out in Clearwater, Fla., where he threw two live batting practice sessions and four bullpen sessions. During that time, he changed his mechanics to take some stress off his shoulder, shortening his delivery and staying more in line with the catcher.

"I can tell my shoulder is getting stronger and stronger every time I get on a mound," he said.

Adams is in the final year of a two-year, $12 million contract. He has pitched just 42 innings over the past two seasons, including 17 innings this year.

"When I signed here two years ago, I expected a lot more than what I've done," Adams said. "There's probably nobody more disappointed about that whole situation than myself. I didn't want to steal money, and that's exactly what happened. So right now, the most important thing is to try and stay healthy and finish this next month."

{"content":["injury" ] }
{"content":["injury" ] }
{"event":["prospect" ] }

Phils mulling over September callup for Franco

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Phils mulling over September callup for Franco play video for Phils mulling over September callup for Franco

PHILADELPHIA -- Maikel Franco is putting up some impressive numbers for Triple-A Lehigh Valley, but the Phillies say they have not decided if the corner infielder will be called up to the Majors once rosters expand Sept. 1.

"We haven't made a final decision on it, but we're still discussing it internally," Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said Monday. "There are a lot of different factors. We still have time to make a decision on it."

One of those factors is playing time.

Franco, the organization's No. 3 prospect, could help the Phillies offensively. He hit for the cycle on Saturday and is batting .313 in the second half after struggling at the plate early in the season. Over his last 10 games entering Monday, he had a .375 average with three home runs and seven RBIs.

But Franco, who turns 22 on Tuesday, likely would not play every day in the Majors. He's blocked at first base by Ryan Howard and at third base by Cody Asche.

"The biggest thing for him is playing time, and making sure this is the right thing, the right atmosphere and the right time -- not atmosphere as much as playing time," Amaro said. "We'd like to assess some other things."

{"event":["prospect" ] }
{"content":["top_pitching_performances" ] }

Main squeeze: Williams again stars in Philly's win

Starter goes eight strong, improves to 2-0 with club; Rollins goes deep

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Main squeeze: Williams again stars in Philly's win play video for Main squeeze: Williams again stars in Philly's win

PHILADELPHIA -- Five months and three cities later, Jerome Williams appears to have finally settled in.

The journeyman right-hander proved to be an experiment gone wrong in stints with the Astros and Rangers earlier this year, but he continued to make his case for a spot in the Phillies' future rotation on Sunday afternoon with another stellar outing in the team's 7-1 win against the Cardinals at Citizens Bank Park.

"He could be," Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg said when asked if Williams was a candidate to break into the team's 2015 rotation. "We'll have some time to continue to watch. He's had three outstanding games for us."

Behind a 73/37 strike-to-ball ratio, Williams threw eight innings of one-run ball. He struck out five and limited the Cardinals to five hits, three walks and a 1-for-9 mark with runners in scoring position.

"Just controlling both sides of the plate. Keeping these guys off balance," Williams said.

After posting a 6.71 ERA with the Astros and Rangers prior to arriving in Philadelphia, Williams is 2-0 with a 1.77 ERA and 0.98 WHIP in three starts as a Phillie.

"My stuff was [always] there. It's just I wasn't using it right. I think I'm using it right now," Williams said. "Using every pitch and every part of the zone, just mixing speeds instead of being a one-dimensional pitcher, and using every pitch in every count."

After a 12-inning affair that took 4 hours and 53 minutes to complete on Saturday night, being efficient on the mound and going deep into the game was atop Williams' agenda on Sunday.

"That's my normal thought process every time I go out there. Just to go as long as I can," Williams said. "You know, last night was a long one, and I felt like I really needed to help the ballclub. And I needed to throw a pretty good game, go deep in the game. And that's what I did. That's what I'm going to keep doing."

The offense did its part to assure Williams pitched with a lead. The Phillies grabbed a 1-0 advantage in the first on an RBI single by Chase Utley. They tacked on two in the second, when Williams helped his own cause by laying down a perfectly placed safety squeeze bunt, allowing Domonic Brown to score. A Ben Revere bloop single added another run to make it 3-0.

In the third, Philly plated two more after a wild pitch by Justin Masterson let Ryan Howard cross the plate, and a flare to right by Wil Nieves brought home Philadelphia's fifth run.

The Phillies knocked Masterson out after just three innings and 67 pitches. He allowed five earned runs on six hits and two walks.

The Cardinals broke through for a run against Williams in the fourth that was set up by a bad read on a ball by Revere in center field. Jhonny Peralta hit a cutter from Williams that got plenty of hangtime, but Revere didn't break in initially. The wind carried the ball away from Revere, whose dive came up short as Peralta ended up on second with a double. He came around to score two batters later on a single by Oscar Taveras.

After allowing just one run in seven innings in his last start against the Mariners, Williams credited catcher Carlos Ruiz with helping to make it a seamless outing. On Sunday, Williams pointed to Nieves, who served as his backstop during winter ball in Puerto Rico in the 2008-09 season before catching him again six years later.

"It's fun to have Wil behind there again, because we both know each other," Williams said. "I know how he sets up, I know how he calls the game, and now he knows how I pitch. It was fun back there, to throw with him again. It was just like the days in Puerto Rico."

"I just called the game the way I thought it was good, and he followed it," Nieves said. "When you have something like that going on, not a lot of shaking off and doubting, games like this happen. It was fun."

The Phillies cushioned their lead in the seventh, when Jimmy Rollins launched his third homer of the season from the right side of the plate, 16th overall, to make it 7-1.

The win gave the Phillies back-to-back series wins for the first time since April 21-27. They had played 33 total series without consecutive wins, the longest drought of that kind since they went 53 straight between the 1996-97 seasons.

The victory was personally just as important for Williams, considering the course of his 2014 season. And as for 2015, the 32-year-old isn't viewing each passing start as another audition.

"No. I'm just trying to pitch to do well. And whatever happens, happens," he said. "I'm not thinking about the offseason. I'm thinking about this team right now. Finishing strong as a team."

{"content":["top_pitching_performances" ] }

Phillies can't avoid miscues in extra-innings loss

Cardinals prevail in 12 frames as Philadelphia's errors prove costly

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Phillies can't avoid miscues in extra-innings loss play video for Phillies can't avoid miscues in extra-innings loss

PHILADELPHIA -- There are just five weeks of baseball left in the 2014 season, but the Phillies are still struggling in an area that was highly stressed by manager Ryne Sandberg during Spring Training.

Poor execution of the fundamentals burned the Phillies early on Saturday night against the Cardinals at Citizens Bank Park, and Matt Carpenter's sacrifice fly off Ken Giles in the 12th doomed them late in their 6-5 loss.

Marlon Byrd delivered the game-tying hit in the eighth to send it to extras, but miscues from earlier came back to haunt Philly. A three-run sixth inning born out of two physical errors and a couple of mental ones quickly put a damper on what was another firm display of growth by rookie starter David Buchanan.

Buchanan didn't have his best stuff, and his demeanor on the mound revealed his frustration.

There was a lot of roaming on the hill, a lot of mound meetings and a lot of baserunners. But the end result -- two earned runs in five innings pitched -- spoke volumes about the strides the 25-year-old right-hander has made in his first Major League season.

Buchanan put 10 runners on base (eight hits, two walks) but limited the damage and kept the Phillies even with St. Louis through the first five frames.

He even had a chance to leave with a lead. But in the fifth inning, Ryan Howard bobbled a sure double-play grounder and settled for a single out. A groundout on the next play allowed the Cardinals' second run to score.

Buchanan was on pace to pick up his sixth consecutive quality start, but was pulled after just five innings and 90 pitches.

"That caught me off guard, honestly," Buchanan said. "I didn't expect that. I wasn't too happy about it. But I can't control that. I just do what I'm told. And I go for as long as I can. Unfortunately, that was only five innings tonight."

That's when the Cardinals pounced. Mario Hollands relieved Buchanan in the sixth and surrendered a double to A.J. Pierzynski on his third pitch. Oscar Taveras then lined a ball that Domonic Brown pulled up on in left field, and Brown proceeded to throw it past Cody Asche at third to allow another run to score and Taveras to reach third.

"It definitely wasn't a ball that I think I could have got to. But I should have charged it better than that," Brown said. "I knew it was a wet ground, I didn't know if the ball was going to shoot right or left there, so I was just trying to keep it in front. He took the extra base on me, I short-hopped Cody Asche and they ended up scoring a run, so it was a big play, for sure.

"Usually if a play like that happens, I'm going to, you know, be taken out, but that's a part of the game."

Byrd has been a fixture in right field, Ben Revere's run at a batting title has rendered him a mainstay in center field, and Howard is playing daily at first. That has left Brown, Grady Sizemore and Darin Ruf to split time in left.

"I mean, I'm not out there every day, so it's kind of tough coming off the bench," Brown said. "I'm doing the best I can out there. I'm trying to catch every ball, and if I can't catch it, it's gonna fall. But I'm definitely going out there and playing as hard as possible.

"Ryno's doing the best job that he can with the outfielders that we have, just getting us all playing time right now."

After Jon Jay drew a walk, the next play was another showcase of the Phillies' unsound fundamentals. Cardinals starter Shelby Miller laid down a bunt that looked to be trickling foul. Asche charged it, scooped it and threw it away. Two runs crossed home to make it 5-2.

"Yeah, that's a judgment on him," Sandberg said. "The best scenario probably that ball goes foul and make him bunt it again.

"Some of that is experience, no question about it. Game situation, reading the ball like that. That was a tough play."

For the Phillies, Byrd and Brown reached on consecutive singles with one out in the fourth, and Carlos Ruiz brought them both home on a double that split the gap in right field. They scored their third run on a solo shot by Howard, his 19th homer of the year and first off a right-handed pitcher since he hit one off Miller on June 19. And Byrd's two-RBI double in the eighth moved him into sixth in the NL with 75.

That should have been enough offense to spell a Phillies win, but the unearned runs provided the Cardinals enough cushion to survive the Phillies' late rally, prolong the game and win it in extras.

After the loss, Sandberg was asked by a reporter if the mental mistakes have anything to do with the amount of effort given.

"No, I don't question effort with the guys," Sandberg said.

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Phillies call up Galvis, designate Brignac

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Phillies call up Galvis, designate Brignac play video for Phillies call up Galvis, designate Brignac

PHILADELPHIA -- The Phillies recalled Freddy Galvis from Triple-A Lehigh Valley on Saturday as they give the 24-year-old infielder another crack against big league arms before season's end. In a corresponding move, the Phillies designated infielder Reid Brignac for assignment.

Galvis had a brief stint with the Major League club earlier this season, but went just 2-for-42 (.048) prior to his demotion.

"He got off to a slow start with the bat coming out of Spring Training with his injuries, and the last time we saw him, his timing was way off and he was struggling, so a number of at-bats at Triple-A, which he's got under his belt now, has worked a long way with him and he's been swinging the bat pretty well," Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg said.

At Lehigh Valley, Galvis went 36-for-135 (.267) with three homers and 15 RBIs.

"That was important for him to have a number of at-bats, and he's played well on defense," Sandberg said. "He can be a little more versatile, being a right-handed bat, his versatility on defense.

"The task will also be getting him in there with some playing time and get some veteran guys some days off down the stretch -- that will be key for his playing time."

Brignac, meanwhile, delivered two walk-off hits for the Phillies, but hit .222 in 91 at-bats this season.

"Reid Brignac did a good job while he was with us," Sandberg said. "He helped us win some games when he played third base and Cody [Asche] was out and he had a chance to play. It was a little bit difficult with him with all our infielders being left-handed hitters. It's tough to get him some spots, where Freddy will create a little more versatility."

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Adams set to begin rehab assignment at Triple-A

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Adams set to begin rehab assignment at Triple-A play video for Adams set to begin rehab assignment at Triple-A

PHILADELPHIA -- There's still a chance Mike Adams will pitch for the Phillies again this season. The reliever is scheduled to begin a Minor League rehab assignment on Tuesday with Triple-A Lehigh Valley.

Adams has been on the disabled list since June 7 due to inflammation in his right rotator cuff. He had a 2.12 ERA in 19 appearances before the injury. Adams has been working out at the club's Spring Training complex in Clearwater, Fla., and will join the Phils on Monday for a workout at Citizens Bank Park before going to Lehigh Valley.

Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg said he's been surprised "in some regards" by Adams' recovery.

"He was in Florida doing his throwing program and progressed rather quickly, I would say in the last week or so, to actually get him to joining Lehigh Valley," Sandberg said.

Adams is in the final year of a two-year, $12 million contract. He has a $6 million club option for 2015 that vests automatically if he throws 60 innings this season. The option jumps to $6.5 million if he throws 120 innings in 2013-14. Neither will happen. He has worked 42 innings over the past two seasons, including 17 innings this year.

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Phillies mourn loss of part-owner Sara Buck

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Phillies mourn loss of part-owner Sara Buck

Sara L. "Sally" Buck, who along with her late husband Alexander "Whip" Buck had been part of the Phillies' ownership group since December 1981, passed away Saturday morning. She was 83.

"Sally was loved by many in the Phillies organization from front-office staff to players to fellow owners," Phillies president David Montgomery said in a release. "Her passing leaves the club with a profound sense of loss. Her presence at Citizens Bank Park will be missed by all who knew and loved her."

She is survived by her sons, Pete and Sandy, daughters-in-law Nancy and Sissy, as well as her grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

"Sally always put family and others first, ever humble and selfless, and deeply committed to her community, her friends and those in need," her sons said in the release. "She modeled love, strength, virtue, good cheer and wisdom."

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Cards get call confirmed, lose challenge vs. Phillies

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Cards get call confirmed, lose challenge vs. Phillies play video for Cards get call confirmed, lose challenge vs. Phillies

PHILADELPHIA -- In a tied game in the top of the ninth inning between the Cardinals and Phillies, a call was confirmed after a crew chief review was initiated.

Cardinals second baseman Kolten Wong skied a pitch from Phillies closer Jonathan Papelbon to the deepest part of the park in center. Phillies center fielder Ben Revere went back on the ball, but it sailed over his head. After hitting off the wall, the ball ricocheted off Revere's leg and into the hedges beyond the center-field fence. The initial ruling on the field put Wong on second base with a ground-rule double.

A crew chief review for a rules check on a deflected ball was initiated, and shortly, the call on the field was confirmed.

Replay again came into play when, with one out in the 10th inning, the Cardinals' Peter Bourjos hit a ball to Phillies shortstop Jimmy Rollins, who fired the ball to get Bourjos on a close play at first. The Cardinals asked for a review as first-base coach Chris Maloney motioned to first-base umpire D.J. Reyburn that Bourjos was safe.

After a 59-second review, the call was ruled to stand and the Cardinals didn't score in the inning.

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Kendrick recovers to help Phils top Wainwright

Righty settles in after shaky first, while Howard keys four-run third

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Kendrick recovers to help Phils top Wainwright play video for Kendrick recovers to help Phils top Wainwright

PHILADELPHIA -- It was another headache of a first inning for Kyle Kendrick on Friday night. But he wasn't the only pitcher to endure early struggles in the series opener at Citizens Bank Park.

Kendrick allowed four runs in the first three innings, but the 29-year-old right-hander gave the Phillies just enough over his 6 1/3 frames in a 5-4 win over Adam Wainwright and the Cardinals.

"It's nice to get a win, especially against a guy like that," Kendrick said.

The first four Cardinals to face Kendrick reached base, and he fell behind in the count on seven of the first eight batters.

"He was just behind in the count -- four or five close pitches, maybe, resulted in the hitters getting ahead in the count," Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg said. "But he was just off the plate, possibly, or a tight zone, falling behind in the count early on. But just pitching behind."

St. Louis tagged Kendrick for three runs in the opening frame, raising his ERA to 9.69 (28 earned runs in 26 innings) in the first inning. After four more hits, opponents are also hitting .358 against him in the first.

"It's not in my head at all," Kendrick said of his first-inning struggles. "I don't know. It's one of those things this year. It will be gone next year I think."

The Phillies got one back in the bottom half of the first. Ben Revere fell behind in the count 0-2, but he fought off three pitches before slapping a chopper that got past first baseman Matt Adams, who was playing in with Revere a threat to bunt. Revere came around to score four batters later on a groundout by Ryan Howard.

"Adam Wainwright is such a great pitcher. I was kind of being more patient, took those two strikes. I was trying to see more of him because I haven't faced him since last year," Revere said. "I know the umpire was kind of squeezing a little bit tonight. I didn't want to take a chance getting called strike three on me. So I did everything I can to just put that ball in play and luckily, I found the right spot."

"Just to get an early baserunner and get some things going with getting men on base did set the tone," Sandberg said.

Adams gave the Cardinals a 4-1 lead in the third with his 13th homer of the season, but the Phillies capitalized on Wainwright's command issues in the bottom of the inning.

Kendrick began the third inning with his fourth single of the season, while Chase Utley, Howard and Marlon Byrd all had RBIs to tie the game at 4. The Cardinals were nearly out of the jam after getting Dominic Brown in a rundown between second and third, but an errant throw by Adams allowed Howard to score the go-ahead run.

"It wasn't a bad play. It was just that the throw was off," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. "It's a shame; that's the play that decided the game."

Wainwright, who entered the game 3-0 with a 1.54 ERA in his last three starts vs. Philly, saw his season ERA rise by 12 points after allowing five runs (four earned) in his six innings.

Philadelphia's bullpen trio of Jake Diekman, Ken Giles and Jonathan Papelbon combined for a flawless 2 2/3 innings to secure Kendrick's first win since July 25.

After another rough beginning, it seemed unlikely that Kendrick would be able to hang with one of the NL's premier pitchers. But Kendrick outlasted his three-time All-Star counterpart, and left after retiring the first batter of the seventh to a round of applause.

"You just have to battle," Kendrick said. "I'm a competitor. I don't want to lose, so I just had to keep battling. That's all you can do. Keep making pitches, keep grinding and try to keep your team in the game."

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Phils lose bid for Castillo, looking at Sizemore

Former All-Star has been productive since signing Minors deal in June

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Phils lose bid for Castillo, looking at Sizemore play video for Phils lose bid for Castillo, looking at Sizemore

PHILADELPHIA -- Remove Cuban outfielder Rusney Castillo from the list of potential upgrades for the Phillies' offense -- but keep Grady Sizemore's name on it.

The Phils lost the bidding war for Castillo, who is reportedly close to finalizing a deal with the Red Sox worth more than $72 million. It's not a complete surprise, though. While the Phillies were among a handful of teams to hold a private workout for Castillo, they were not expected to sign him.

"I know that he was looked at," manager Ryne Sandberg said before Friday's game against the Cardinals. "I'm not sure how aggressive we were on him. I just found out that he signed."

General manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said last week the club needs to make serious upgrades to its offense. The Phils could be aggressive with other international free agents in the coming months, including Cuban outfielder Yasmani Tomas, a 23-year-old power hitter.

The Phillies are also interested in bringing back Sizemore. The former All-Star has produced since joining the organization in June on a Minor League deal. In 33 games with the Phils entering Friday, Sizemore had a .301 average and .767 OPS, which ranks ahead of fellow outfielders Domonic Brown and Ben Revere.

Sizemore, 32, has been limited by injuries in recent years and management is not convinced that he can be an everyday player. Still, Sandberg said he likes Sizemore's approach at the plate and his experience.

"I think that he would be considered for next year," Sandberg said. "He gives a professional at-bat, even in a pinch-hit [situation]. It looks like he can get a little bit more flexible with his running on an everyday type of basis. He's a baseball player, he knows how to play the game and he shows that."

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Phillies fans pitch in for Stand Up to Cancer

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Phillies fans pitch in for Stand Up to Cancer play video for Phillies fans pitch in for Stand Up to Cancer

PHILADELPHIA -- Upon entering Citizens Bank Park for Friday night's series opener between the Phillies and Cardinals, fans were handed Stand Up to Cancer placards, setting the stage for a special moment.

Fans were asked to stand up at the end of the third inning to honor a person in their life who has been affected by cancer.

Stand Up to Cancer Night coincided with the Phillies' inaugural Star Wars night. Characters from the beloved movie saga roamed the concourse during the game and Darth Vader threw out the ceremonial first pitch. A portion of the theme night ticket benefited Stand Up to Cancer efforts.

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Phillies have decisions to make heading into '15

Offensive upgrades, addressing positional logjams at forefront for GM Amaro

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Phillies have decisions to make heading into '15 play video for Phillies have decisions to make heading into '15

PHILADELPHIA -- Everybody wants to know if the Phillies have a plan for the future. They say that they do.

But general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. is keeping quiet about it. He acknowledged last week in Anaheim that the Phils need to improve their offense and rotation, but he said little when asked if there could be changes coming in the player-development and amateur and pro scouting departments. But it looks like Amaro will be making those decisions. Team president David Montgomery told a fan group this week at Citizens Bank Park that Amaro is "not on the hot seat," so unless that changes, he will get another chance to turn around the team's sagging fortunes.

"Everybody is entitled to their opinion," Amaro said about criticism directed at the Phillies' front office. "A lot of people don't really know much about the inner workings of our organization unless they're working with us. They're entitled to have those opinions. We believe in the people that work with us. We know that we have to improve in certain areas, and we'll continue to try to do that."

One part of the recent fan frustration comes from mixed messages from the front office and manager's office.

Phils manager Ryne Sandberg said last month he wants to see other players at first base, but Ryan Howard continues to play there almost every day. Sandberg repeatedly said the organization needs to learn more about Darin Ruf, but he has only played him sporadically. Grady Sizemore has a history of injuries and is a free agent following the season, but he has played fairly regularly.

The Phillies talk about change, yet there has been little change on the field.

But sources over the past couple of weeks have helped piece together the Phils' thinking in regards to some of these situations.

Amaro said a few weeks ago he expects Howard to be his Opening Day first baseman in 2015, which might be the case. But if the Phillies have any chance of trading him to an American League team in the offseason, they also know he must play.

Howard is owed a total of $60 million following this season. Nobody is going to take Howard at his current salary. Everybody knows that. But if Philadelphia agrees to pay a significant portion of it ($50 million, for example), an AL team might listen.

The Phils could sell the fact that Howard finished among the NL leaders in RBIs. He currently is tied for fourth with 77 and is on pace for 98. Of course, Howard entered Wednesday with more runners on base than any other hitter in baseball, so those RBI numbers are a bit deceiving. But at $5 million per year for two years, maybe an AL team would think Howard is worth a shot as a No. 5 or 6 hitter as their designated hitter.

But what about Ruf, Sizemore and Domonic Brown? The Phillies find themselves in a logjam with Howard playing daily at first base. Marlon Byrd could be traded in the offseason, so he will continue to play every day to keep up his value. Ben Revere is hitting well, and the Phils would like to know if the hitter they have seen since late June is the hitter they can expect to see in the future.

That leaves three players for one position.

Despite the fact Sandberg said they don't know much about Ruf, the organization feels it does. It thinks he could be a platoon player in the future -- other teams feel the same -- but it also is juggling to see if it can get anything at all from Brown, who is on pace to have the lowest OPS of any qualifying left fielder since 2002, while continuing to evaluate Sizemore.

The Phillies could bring back Sizemore, but that's far from a sure thing. There could be a situation where the Phils trade Brown and enter next season with Sizemore and Ruf in a platoon in left field. But they stand no chance of bringing back Sizemore if they bench him the rest of the season.

The Phillies know their offense is not good enough. Chase Utley and Howard have hit third and fourth this season, but they would fit better elsewhere in the lineup. But good luck finding a No. 3 or 4 hitter in the offseason.

Offense is at a premium, which is why Philadelphia is considering international free agents. Multiple sources said recently the Phils will take a run at Cuban outfielder Rusney Castillo, although they are not expected to sign him.

Keep an eye on Cuban outfielder Yasmani Tomas. The 23-year-old has big-time power and could fit into the Phillies' lineup. He could hit the market in the next couple of months. Yozzen Cuesta is a corner infielder, which would require the Phils to shuffle several pieces if they planned to pursue him.

Triple-A corner infielder Maikel Franco is ready for his callup. It might come in September. If not, he could figure into next season's Opening Day roster, either at first or third. The Phillies like third baseman Cody Asche, but they have considered moving him to left field.

There are a lot of moving pieces and plenty of possibilities, but the Phils are choosing not to tip their hand. One thing is certain: they need to make significant upgrades offensively. If not, it could be a very long 2015.

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Education awareness is focus of Hamels' event

Hundreds help support pitcher and wife at their fifth annual charity fund-raiser

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Education awareness is focus of Hamels' event

PHILADELPHIA -- The message strewn across the T-shirt being given away depicted the evening's mantra: "Education Is The Answer."

Cole Hamels got the win at Citizens Bank Park on Wednesday afternoon, but on Thursday night, he and his wife, Heidi, were different kinds of heroes. The couple played host to the fifth annual "Denim and Diamonds" charity event at Vie to benefit The Hamels Foundation.

Five hundred pro athletes, celebrities, corporate sponsors, businesses and generous individuals donned their favorite pair of jeans and enjoyed an evening of cocktails, dinner and a private concert featuring Lady Antebellum. Guests also had the opportunity to win diamonds and designer jeans and bid on a variety of auction items relating to restaurants, travel and designer accessories -- all in the name of raising funds and awareness for education.

According to The Foundation's website, it has a "dual purpose to provide support for quality education in the United States and establish a school in Malawi, Africa."

Many inner-city programs in Philadelphia have been given the building blocks for a strong education thanks to The Hamels Foundation. In 2013, that included grants to three schools for new musical instruments, library renovations and supplies for an art program.

"It's a great thing to be able to give support back to the community that's given us so much support on the field and to affect the lives of so many kids," Hamels said.

The website also spotlights a statistic: There are more than 1 million orphans due to the HIV/AIDS pandemic in Malawai. "The Hamels Foundation is dedicated to building a primary school (Grades 1-8) that will educate nearly 2,000 boys and girls in the Mulanje District of Malawi. The first step towards breaking the cycle of AIDS is education, as well as tending to basic needs such as shelter and food. Our goal is to provide the first step in improving the lives of thousands."

"Education can literally turn around this country," Heidi Hamels said.

"It's the backbone of who you are as a person and the knowledge that you have which really gets you out of situations or can propel you to achieve your dreams," Cole Hamels said. "If we're at least able to help get people to the starting point in that area, we feel like people can really go out there and better the world. Achieving their dreams a little bit more than what they're able to do right now."

Members of the Phillies organization showed up in full force on Thursday to support a cause that hits home for many of them.

"Everywhere I've gone, education has always been first. That was the biggest thing with my parents," outfielder Ben Revere said. "I couldn't go out and play with my friends or go play sports unless I had my homework done."

"Everything starts with education. I think you have to have that," said Larry Andersen, former Phils relief pitcher and one of the team's current radio broadcasters. "That's a big problem in the world right now, is that a lot people lack an education."

"It was a big deal in my family because my parents were the first two on both sides of the family to graduate from college," relief pitcher Mario Hollands said.

"School was absolutely the most important thing in my life growing up," infielder Reid Brignac said. "Without making good grades, there was no baseball. There was no sports. My parents were really strict on education being first. This is a great cause."

"Denim and Diamonds" is in its fifth year, but the event is still running on the same amount of steam that powered it during its inaugural year.

"That's everything," Heidi Hamels said. "The Philies from the top down provide that atmosphere.

"We're not out to change the world or change the school system. But really to be a key element in these kids' lives. And they can go, 'That person noticed me. That person noticed me.' That's all we're for. We're just here to support our community that really does support Cole everyday at the ball field."

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Taney Little Leaguers have fans in Phillies

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Taney Little Leaguers have fans in Phillies play video for Taney Little Leaguers have fans in Phillies

PHILADELPHIA -- Manager Ryne Sandberg entered the Phillies' media room Wednesday afternoon at Citizens Bank Park wearing an unfamiliar blue T-shirt and blue cap.

"Well, obviously a big day here in Philadelphia," Sandberg explained following the Phillies' 4-3 victory over the Mariners.

Sandberg was representing the Taney Little League team from the Graduate Hospital neighborhood in Philadelphia. It was scheduled to play Las Vegas on Wednesday night in the Little League World Series in Williamsport, Pa.

A thirteen-year-old girl, Mo'ne Davis, who appeared on the latest cover of Sports Illustrated, was scheduled to pitch.

"I feel like we did our part winning Game 1 here," Sandberg said. "A big game tonight for Taney. We're all pulling for them."

The Phillies hung a Taney T-shirt in their dugout during the game, another sign of support for a team that has caught nationwide attention.

"It was the team's idea to put something up," Sandberg said. "It's fun. We all enjoy the games. We all played Little League, so we can relate. It's back to the basics of baseball and having fun and jumping around and doing all the things that they do. So to have somebody to cheer for and pull for, that doesn't happen every year. We have somebody to pull for, so I know that we're all going to be watching tonight."

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Schilling: Cancer caused by smokeless tobacco

Former pitcher reveals he's battled oral cancer after 30 years of chewing

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Schilling: Cancer caused by smokeless tobacco play video for Schilling: Cancer caused by smokeless tobacco

There's another ballplayer lined up in the fight against smokeless tobacco.

Curt Schilling said Wednesday that he believes his use of smokeless tobacco led to oral cancer that required radiation and chemotherapy. Schilling revealed the type of cancer he had while speaking on WEEI Radio during the Boston station's annual fund-raising broadcast for the Jimmy Fund.

"I do believe without a doubt, unquestionably, that chewing is what gave me cancer," he said.

During the broadcast, Schilling issued a warning to smokeless tobacco users.

"It's like being given a death sentence without committing a crime," Schilling said.

The cause of ballplayers against smokeless tobacco deepened in June, when Hall of Famer Tony Gwynn died after battling cancer of the salivary gland. After Gwynn's passing, Commissioner Bud Selig and Tony Clark, the executive director of the Major League Baseball Players Association, both expressed a desire to end the use of tobacco in baseball.

"It will be a subject they'll discuss during the next collective bargaining," Selig said during the All-Star break. "I understand that individuals have a right to make their own decisions. I hope we're successful, because the Tony Gwynn story was a heartbreaking, awful story.

"I feel very strongly about this, just as I did 10, 15 years ago. The one thing I personally assume as Commissioner is that we're responsible for the health of our players. I believe that. Some may think that's naive, but I don't think so."

Schilling, who pitched in the Majors for 20 years, said that he used smokeless tobacco for 30 years and that he had been unable to kick the habit despite pain associated with it.

"It's a dangerously addictive habit that I wish I had never done," Schilling said.

Schilling had a heart attack in 2011 and required surgery to place a stent in one of his arteries, and he told WEEI on Wednesday that he has lost 75 pounds during his bout with cancer.

"I am in remission," Schilling said. "[However], I don't have any salivary glands. I can't taste anything and I can't smell anything."

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