PHILADELPHIA -- Thrust into a long-relief situation after starter Kyle Kendrick struggled on Wednesday, B.J. Rosenberg recorded three outs in the top of the third inning and walked into the dugout to get ready for his first Major League at-bat.
"I was up second, so I was like 'I need a bat. I need batting gloves,'" the rookie reliever said with a smile. "I was just getting stuff and throwing it on. Grabbed a bat and went out there."
Using the bat of injured reliever Jose Contreras, Rosenberg laid down a sacrifice bunt and reached base on an error. An inning later, facing Washington's John Lannan, he picked up the first hit and RBI of his career with a seeing-eye single up the middle. But his rare pair of plate appearances aside, where Rosenberg really impressed in Wednesday's 8-4 loss to the Nationals was on the mound. The right-hander tossed three no-hit innings to improve his scoreless streak to 10 consecutive innings.
After struggling earlier in the year, Rosenberg (1-2, 6.86 ERA) has pitched much better as of late. He entered Thursday having not allowed a run since giving up a home run to Atlanta's Martin Prado on Sept. 1, and he had given up only two hits in 30 at-bats since Sept. 4.
Rosenberg's recent success is not a coincidence. Shortly after his third recall from Triple-A Lehigh Valley on Aug. 3, All-Star closer Jonathan Papelbon approached Rosenberg about throwing a splitter. The two began to work on the pitch while playing catch. What has resulted is a third pitch -- Rosenberg also throws a fastball and a slider -- that has helped him be more effective.
"He's a pretty good teacher to have when you're talking about throwing a split, so I was just fortunate that I was able to throw with him," Rosenberg said before Thursday's series finale against the Nationals.
"He's taught me a lot with it. I think it's been something that's kind of got hitters off my fastball a little bit. It's been a good pitch, especially the last couple outings, against the Braves [on Saturday] and this last one [on Wednesday against the Nationals], I was throwing it a lot more than I had been. It's been pretty good."