Phils top D-backs for sixth straight win
Victory moves club to within 3 1/2 games of Braves
PHILADELPHIA -- The Phillies watched another everyday player leave the field with an injury Tuesday at Citizens Bank Park.
They could not have been surprised.
The Phillies beat the D-backs, 9-5, but lost center fielder Shane Victorino to a strained left oblique. Victorino and Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said Victorino left the game in the seventh inning for precautionary reasons.
But combine Victorino's oblique injury with Jimmy Rollins' bruised left foot, which could keep him out until Thursday at the earliest, and Chase Utley's surgically repaired right thumb, which could keep him out for another four weeks, and the Phillies' lineup has taken another hit.
"We've had so many injuries," said first baseman Ryan Howard, who went 2-for-4 with a home run and three RBIs to raise his season average to .302. "We've had such an up-and-down year. The focus has just continued to be -- do what we can. You hope it's nothing too serious and they can come back quick."
There are three big reasons the Phillies, whose season-high six-game winning streak has moved them within 3 1/2 games of the Braves in the National League East, could survive a few days without Rollins and Victorino:
Raul Ibanez. He has hit .367 (18-for-49) with four doubles, one home run and nine RBIs in 14 games since July 8. He has done a splendid job in the No. 3 spot in the lineup vacated by Utley.
Howard. He has hit .333 (23-for-69) with two doubles, one triple, eight home runs, 21 RBIs and an impressive .739 slugging percentage in 18 games since July 6. He leads the Majors in home runs and RBIs over that span.
Jayson Werth. He has hit .429 (12-for-28) with four doubles, one home run, four RBIs, a .579 on-base percentage and a .679 slugging percentage in nine games since July 18.
"I'm just going out there, trying to do what I can," Howard said. "But we have to have guys come in and step up. We have to continue to go."
They stepped up when Phillies left-hander Cole Hamels did not pitch his best. He allowed six hits, three runs, four walks, one home run and hit two batters in five innings, although a tight strike zone played a role in his struggles.
He threw 108 pitches as he worked out of three bases-loaded jams.
Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said he loved Hamels' stuff, perhaps a nod to the hitter-friendly strike zone.
"When you're not hitting your spots, you just have to keep battling," Hamels said. "I was battling, but I wasn't going to give in and start throwing them over the plate, because this team has shown they can hit the long ball."
Hamels entered Tuesday 1-1 with a 1.72 ERA in five July starts, and 5-5 with a 2.80 ERA in 15 starts since April. He would have had a better record in that stretch, except he ranked 50th out of 54 NL pitchers in run support this season, averaging just 3.47 runs per game.
He got the support against the D-backs.
Werth crushed a two-run home run to center field in the fifth inning to give the Phillies a 4-3 lead. It was Werth's first home run since June 23. He went 104 at-bats without a homer, although he has reached base safely in 17 consecutive starts.
Ibanez scored Victorino with a single to right field in the sixth inning to tie the game at 5. Howard followed with a two-run home run to left field to give the Phillies a 7-5 lead.
Cody Ransom hit a two-run home run to left field in the seventh inning to put the game away.
Phillies right-hander David Herndon allowed two runs in one inning, but picked up the first win of his big league career. Danys Baez threw a perfect seventh inning. Jose Contreras and Ryan Madson also threw scoreless innings in relief.
Those are encouraging signs, but the Phillies still left the ballpark knowing they might be without Rollins and Victorino for a few days.
Victorino will receive a MRI exam on Wednesday.
A trip to the disabled list would be interesting for a couple reasons: First, the Phillies could call up Triple-A Lehigh Valley outfielder Domonic Brown, their top prospect. Second, it could take Werth off the trade market. It seemed unlikely Philadelphia would trade Werth before Saturday's 4 p.m. ET Trade Deadline, but that could clinch it.
"We ain't there yet," Manuel said, when asked if the Phillies would call up a player to replace Victorino.
Could it be Brown?
"I think Domonic is always a consideration," he said.
Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.