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Nix powers the Phillies' offense in 8-5 win

PHOENIX -- It could have been a little bit of everything Tuesday at Chase Field.

Maybe Hunter Pence's unexpected appearance in the lineup sparked the Phillies to an 8-5 victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks. Pence could not play Monday because he bruised his left rotator cuff Sunday, making it impossible for him to raise his arm above his head. But Pence is a quick healer, and he pronounced himself ready to play Tuesday afternoon. A few hours later, he hit a two-run home run to right field to hand the Phillies a 2-0 lead in the fourth inning.

"If I'm good to play, I'm going to be out there playing, because I know in this game you deal with a lot," Pence said. "When I first came in, I was like, 'I can move it pretty good, let me see how it feels swinging. I really feel in my gut I'm OK to hit today.' And I was."

Maybe it was the five runs the Phillies scored in the ninth inning in Monday's loss to Arizona. They were meaningless runs in a blowout loss, but it sparked a lifeless dugout. Manager Charlie Manuel called those runs a morale booster. It is possible those positive vibes carried into their plate appearances Tuesday.

"I really think the last inning [Monday] helped," said Pete Orr, who went 2-for-4 with a triple and a career-high three RBIs in just his second start of the season. "It just gave us maybe some confidence to get going. It's that old saying that hitting is contagious. I think it for sure carried over to today."

Maybe it was Tuesday's pitcher. D-backs right-hander Josh Collmenter had struggled in his first three starts this season. He started the night 0-1 with a 10.22 ERA. He finished 0-2 with a 9.82 ERA after he allowed nine hits and six runs in six-plus innings.

"I don't really believe in momentum too much in this game," said Laynce Nix, who went 3-for-3 with a two-run home run and two runs scored. "It kind of depends on the pitcher the next day, but we're confident as a group we can get the job done. It's just nice to come out and do it early in the game today."

Or maybe the Phillies were just due. They had not scored more than five runs in a game since April 15.

The victory put the Phillies in position to finish their 10-game road trip through San Francisco, San Diego and Arizona at 5-5 with a win in the series finale against the D-backs on Wednesday afternoon.

Considering the way the road trip looked and felt at times, they would happily take a .500 mark.

Pence and Nix hit their two-run home runs in the fourth inning to hand the Phillies a 4-0 lead. Pence's homer snapped a 0-for-16 slump and gave the Phillies only their second home run with runners on base this season.

Pence crushed baseball after baseball during practice earlier.

A sign, maybe?

"What that meant to me is he had good BP and he had some outstanding distance in BP," Manuel said. "But that didn't put no runs on there for us. I like that one in the game that just made it over the fence better. It's not how far, it's how many."

Nix is hitting .333 (7-for-21) with three doubles, one home run and six RBIs.

"If you swing the bat like that, I like you," Manuel said. "I'll fall in love with you quick."

And Orr?

"I've started liking Petey a little bit better," Manuel joked.

Jimmy Rollins is stuck in a .091 slump (3-for-34), so Orr could see more action in Wednesday's series finale. It would not be a surprise to see Freddy Galvis at shortstop and Orr at second base, although Manuel said he had made no decisions.

The Phillies kept things going in the seventh. Nix and Brian Schneider both singled and advanced a base with Placido Polanco's sacrifice bunt. Juan Pierre hit a flare into shallow left field. D-backs left fielder Jason Kubel made a nice sliding catch, but second-base umpire Angel Hernandez incorrectly ruled that Kubel trapped the ball, loading the bases.

Orr tripled to right field to clear the bases to make it 7-1.

Shane Victorino homered in the eighth to make it 8-4. Victorino is hitting .316 (6-for-19) with one double, four home runs and six RBIs batting right-handed this season. He is hitting .255 (13-for-51) with two RBIs batting left-handed.

"I was waiting for us to get some hits, and we did that tonight," Manuel said. "We hit some balls good, we hit some balls hard. The game seemed a little different, didn't it? We had some guys swing the bats good."

Phillies right-hander Vance Worley allowed five hits and one run in six innings. The Phillies needed him to pitch as deep as possible, because Kyle Kendrick lasted just three innings Monday.

"I knew I needed to help the guys out," Worley said. "They had a long day the day before. The more I can limit their innings, the better. They count on all the starters to go as deep as they can, so their arms are fresh."

But, for a change, the Phillies were not talking about an anemic offense or another fine pitching performance wasted.

They were talking about runs and home runs.

"We've got a long season to go, and this team has a lot of potential," Pence said. "It hasn't come together yet, but it's April. We got knocked down. We've got to keep getting back up, and hopefully we get on a roll and start knocking some other people down." Comments