Sunday, June 21, 2015

Phils beat up Wacha, Morgan nets first MLB win

Philadelphia, PA -- The Philadelphia Phillies turned to a 25-year-old rookie to help end a historically poor stretch of play, and Adam Morgan delivered.

Morgan pitched 5 2/3 innings of one-run ball and the Phillies picked up a 9-2 win over the St. Louis Cardinals to avoid a series sweep.

Morgan (1-0) gave up six hits and struck out six in his major league debut, earning the first win for a Phillies starter since May 23, when Cole Hamels won in Washington. Starters had gone 0-16 during a 4-21 stretch since then.

"Just very very happy for the opportunity, very grateful," said Morgan. "I wasn't trying to do too much. I wasn't trying to overthink. The main thing I was trying to focus on was keeping the ball down."

St. Louis outscored Philadelphia 22-5 over the first two games of the series, and the Phillies had a minus-53 run differential over their last 11 games, but the bats woke up on Sunday. Maikel Franco and Ben Revere had three hits apiece and Andres Blanco hit his second home run of the season.

The Phillies handed Michael Wacha (9-3) just his second road loss of the season after pounding the young ace for five runs on eight hits over five innings.

"He was having trouble early on establishing the bottom of the zone with his fastball," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said of Wacha. "They were finding the good part of the bat."

They got to Wacha in the second inning, when Dominic Brown and Cody Asche hit consecutive doubles to plate the game's first run. Later in the inning, Cesar Hernandez drove in a pair with his single to right.

The lone blemish against Morgan came in the fourth, when Jhonny Peralta led off with a solo homer to right.

But Philadelphia responded next inning. Revere started it off with a single to center, moved to second on Wacha's error and scored on Franco's double to left. Ryan Howard made it 5-1 with his RBI single through the shift on the left side.

Revere added to the rout with an RBI single in the sixth, and Blanco's pinch- hit, three-run homer off Matt Belisle gave the Phillies nine runs for the first time this season.

Jason Heyward went yard off Jonathan Papelbon in the top of the ninth for the final tally.
 
Notes: Morgan was winless in 13 minor league starts this season ... Heyward had three of the seven Cardinals hits ... Heyward's home run was the only hit in 3 1/3 innings against the Philadelphia bullpen.
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