Aaron Nola was the man Gabe Kapler wanted on the mound with Manny Machado at the plate and the tying run on third base.
It was the right move.
Nola stuck out nine in seven splendid innings Trent Murphy Jersey Bills , Nick Williams hit a two-run homer and the Philadelphia Phillies beat the Baltimore Orioles 4-1 Wednesday to sweep a two-game interleague series.
Nola (11-2) gave up one run and seven hits to win his fifth straight decision.
He escaped a jam on his 103rd pitch when second baseman Cesar Hernandez made an outstanding, over-the-shoulder running catch on Machado’s shallow fly to right with two outs and runners on first and third.
”That’s awesome,” Nola said of the play.
Kapler, who was heavily criticized for pulling Nola after 68 pitches in the season opener at Atlanta, visited the mound before letting his ace face Machado with a 2-1 lead.
”We knew he was the best option,” the first-year manager said. ”He always makes us feel confident.”
Nola said he would’ve lobbied to stay in but didn’t have to say anything other than he felt fine.
”I want to go deep in the game,” he said. ”I want to get through that inning.”
After five consecutive losing seasons, the Phillies are on the rise under Kapler. They pulled within 1 1/2 games of NL East-leading Atlanta and moved 10 games over .500 for the first time since finishing the 2011 season with a franchise-record 102 wins.
”It’s a nice milestone, one we can celebrate,” Kapler said.
Making his second career start and third appearance, Orioles right-hander Yefry Ramirez (0-2) retired 13 of his first 14 batters before running into trouble in the fifth. Ramirez gave up two runs – one earned – and one hit in five innings.
”I was really proud of Yefry. You couldn’t ask for much better Martavis Bryant Jersey Elite ,” Orioles manager Buck Showalter said.
Williams connected off David Hess in the seventh, sending a 409-foot shot into Philadelphia’s bullpen in right-center and extending the lead to 4-1.
Victor Arano tossed two scoreless innings for his first career save.
Ramirez didn’t allow a hit until Scott Kingery ripped a one-out double to left in the fifth. Williams, who walked, advanced to third on the hit.
Jorge Alfaro followed with a grounder down the first-base line. Chris Davis moved a few steps to his left, took his eyes off the ball to look at Williams running halfway down the line, and the ball knuckled under his glove. Both runners scored on the error.
Adam Jones lined an RBI double to left-center in the third, giving the Orioles a 1-0 lead.
For the second straight day, fans clapped each time Machado was introduced. They also chanted ”We want Manny!”
The three-time All-Star is set to become a free agent after the season and the Phillies are among the teams interested in acquiring him before the non-waiver trade deadline on July 31 or signing him in the offseason.
Machado told reporters before the game he wants to play shortstop wherever he goes and he wouldn’t be surprised if Philadelphia aggressively pursued him. Phillies team president Andy MacPhail held the same position in Baltimore when the Orioles selected Machado No. 3 overall in the 2010 amateur draft.
Orioles: OF Joey Rickard was recalled from Triple-A Norfolk to replace OF Colby Rasmus, who was placed on the restricted list before Tuesday night’s game.
Phillies: RHP Jerad Eickhoff was scheduled to throw another live batting practice at Single-A Clearwater. Eickhoff has nerve issue in fingers and hasn’t pitched this season.
Orioles: RHP Andrew Cashner (2-8, 4.48 ERA) starts the opener of a four-game series at Minnesota on Thursday night. Cashner had a 3.21 ERA in five starts in June but didn’t earn a win.
Phillies: Nick Pivetta (5-7, 4.66 ERA) takes the mound at Pittsburgh for the start of a three-game series on Friday. Pivetta earned the win in a scoreless inning of relief in Philadelphia’s 13-inning victory over Washington last Sunday.
Brian Bowen had the opportunity to spend a couple of days last week playing in real basketball games Jason Sanders Color Rush Jersey , replete with scoreboards and referees and with every courtside seat filled.
It’s unclear when he’ll be able to do that again.
Bowen might have been one of the most talked-about players in NCAA basketball over the last year, without so much as playing a single second of a game. He’s the one-time Louisville commit who left amid massive scandal – the federal probe into the college game, including allegations that his father took money during the recruiting process – and subsequently transferred to South Carolina.
But the NCAA hasn’t cleared him yet. It might not. So he’s taking a long look at the NBA, and Bowen’s invitation to the draft combine last week was a fact-finding mission that will help him decide whether to formally turn pro or return to school with hopes that his collegiate eligibility will be restored so he can play with the Gamecocks.
”It’s the biggest thing I’ve ever been through in my life,” Bowen said after one of his 5-on-5 games at the combine. ”They took the game away from me, a game I truly love. It made me realize how much passion and love I do have for the game. I put that into my workouts every day and I go as hard as I can.”
The 6-foot-7 Bowen of Saginaw, Michigan has until the end of the month to decide whether to keep his name in the draft or not. The draft itself is June 21. And there’s been no indication if the NCAA will offer him any clarity before he has not make his stay-or-go choice.
”My lawyer and the school are dealing with it,” Bowen said.
His is a most curious case, even in a draft that has a handful of players who have been tainted on some level by the ongoing mess that reverberated through the college game last season and probably will continue having a ripple effect for the foreseeable future.
Billy Preston, the 6-1o forward who left Kansas while being investigated by the NCAA and played professionally in Europe, was at the combine trying to show his worth to NBA clubs. Same goes for the 6-4 De’Anthony Melton Authentic Kerryon Johnson Jersey , who left USC after not being able to play this past season because a family friend was linked to the scandal.
Melton said the interviews with teams at the combine had little to do with basketball and mostly centered on his side of the story.
”I just broke it down for them,” Melton said. ”I told them from the very beginning to the very end. I know there’s a lot of reports out there about what happened and what was going down, I told them my feelings about everything and why I kept quiet through the whole situation. I gave them what they were asking for.”
That trio of players handled their unwanted down time in different ways.
Bowen said he locked in on academics, earning a 3.5 GPA. Preston went to Bosnia and played, albeit in only a handful of games and was back around the Jayhawks – as a fan and friend, not player and teammate – for their Final Four appearance. Melton started studying NBA games and looking at them as if he was a coach, diverting his attention away from college ball with the exception of USC’s schedule.
”Any decision I made, I don’t regret nothing,” Preston said. ”I don’t regret anything I’ve been through. It’s God. It’s in God’s hands. Whatever presents itself, I’ll definitely fight my way through it. Being over there, I think that was God putting a barrier in my way and I broke through it. I didn’t even think I would be here right now.”
Bowen always expected to be at the combine Denzel Ward Browns Jersey , but never while in this situation.
He doesn’t speak ill of Louisville . He insists that he’s had no involvement with Christian Dawkins, the would-be agent who federal prosecutors say brokered and facilitated payments to players during their recruitments in exchange for them hiring him when they turned pro. He says he hasn’t even considered who he would hire for representation if he stays in the draft.
”It’s a situation I have to deal with,” Bowen said. ”It is what it is. Continue to stay focused, that’s my big thing.”
He’s also closer than ever with his father, which might surprise some considering his alleged role in Bowen’s problems. He’s been in South Carolina with his son, and the younger Bowen said they begin each day the same way – a hug in the morning, saying ”I love you” to the other before starting to attack the daily schedule.
”Everything happens for a reason,” Bowen said. ”Somebody’s situation is always going to be worse than mine. Other people in my family have worse situations than I have. I just have to learn, use it as a learning experience, use it as motivation and have a chip on my shoulder.”