Ty Kelly Helps Phillies Win, But It's an Ugly One as Jerad Eickhoff Struggles


SAN FRANCISCO - Pete Mackanin's body language said it all after this one.

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There were reasons to feel good about the Phillies' 12-9 victory over the San Francisco Giants on Saturday night (see Instant Replay).

And there were reasons to not feel so good.

"It wasn't pretty, but a win is a win and I'll take it," the exasperated manager said. "I'm happy. I don't look happy, but I am."

Mackanin was happy because his club snapped a six-game losing streak and won for the first time in 12 games this season in the state of California.

He was happy because his team's struggling offense produced 12 runs.

But he was not happy that his club had so much trouble putting the game away. The Phils took a 12-4 lead into the bottom of the ninth inning to only see the Giants bring the tying run to the plate with two outs after Edubray Ramos was tagged for six hits and five runs.

The finish wasn't the only downer of the night. Phillies starting pitcher Jerad Eickhoff did not impress in 4 2/3 innings of work. He allowed eight hits and four runs, including an inside-the-park home run on the first pitch he threw. He walked two and hit a batter while throwing 91 pitches.

Eickhoff has made 22 starts this season and failed to pitch six innings in half of them. That is not the workhorse that the Phillies projected the 27-year-old right-hander to be this season. He has often been plagued by poor command and soaring pitch counts.

What's more, Eickhoff's velocity is down. His fastball averaged was just under 90 miles per hour in this outing.

"We talk about it during the game and wonder why," Mackanin said. "There's a couple of guys their velocity is down. I don't know if it's the cooler air or whatever, but it seems like the velocities were down all around tonight from our guys. We're going to have to look into that and see if we can increase that velocity, tell them to throw harder.

"Sometimes you get to the point where you start aiming. He might be aiming the ball a little bit. It looked like he was yanking his fastball maybe trying to guide it to the outer part of the plate instead of just letting it go."

Eickhoff, whose ERA is 4.46, acknowledged that his velocity is a tick down. He missed time earlier this season with an upper back strain but says he is healthy.

"I feel good," he said. "I don't know. It could just be August, I guess. I have no idea. But I felt good. For the most part, I was able to execute a lot of pitches. It hasn't affected anything. I wouldn't know.

"The command was kind of in and out, good to some hitters, then a couple of hitters later, it went away. So that was kind of frustrating.

"It's one of those games, one of those seasons, man. I just have to keep battling. I'm going to go out there every fifth day and try to put my best foot forward."

Run support has often been a problem in Eickhoff's starts. It was not in this game. The Phillies hit three home runs and broke open a tie ballgame with seven runs in the sixth inning. Rookie Rhys Hoskins became the first Phillie ever to hit four homers in his first 10 games when he smacked a three-run shot in the third. Ty Kelly came off the bench and highlighted the big sixth-inning rally with a pinch-hit grand slam and Cameron Rupp poked a solo shot in the ninth.

"Obviously, Ty Kelly with the slam really opened the gates," Mackanin said. "Rupp added on and thankfully he did. I didn't think we'd need it, but we did and I'm happy we had it."

Seven of the Phillies' runs were driven in by reserve players. Cameron Perkins got the start in right field and drove in two runs, including the tiebreaker in the sixth. Pedro Florimon came off the bench and drove in an important run in the sixth, and Kelly added the pinch-hit grand slam over the high wall in right to punctuate the inning.

Kelly has made the most of his infrequent playing time. He has 14 hits and 14 RBIs.

"You just have to take whatever opportunities are given and I've been fortunate to get some big opportunities," he said. "A pinch-hit with three guys on base. You can't ask for much more than that."

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