Eickhoff's 6 solid backed by Altherr in Phils' win
By Scott Merkin and Todd Zolecki
CHICAGO -- Jerad Eickhoff threw just 71 pitches over six quality innings on Wednesday during the Phillies' 5-2 victory over the White Sox at U.S. Cellular Field. The White Sox three-game winning streak came to an end, as Eickhoff allowed two runs on four hits while striking out two and not issuing a walk.
Eickhoff faced the minimum through five innings, having given up a leadoff single to Adam Eaton in the fourth, which was erased on a Tim Anderson double-play grounder. But after giving up two runs on three hits in the sixth, the Phillies went to their bullpen.
"I wanted him out on a positive note," Phillies manager Pete Mackanin said of Eickhoff. "He's been struggling in the sixth inning and after that, so I didn't want him going back out there. We have three guys I have confidence in [Edubray] Ramos, [Hector] Neris and [Jeanmar] Gomez. So it worked out for us."
"Adam was the one that breaks it up and gets it going, but [Eickhoff] was tough on us," White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. "A great curveball. That's the biggest thing that sticks out. When he got in trouble, that curveball was the pitch for us. After that, it just wasn't a good night offensively. I don't think we swung it that well."
James Shields suffered the loss, although he made his first average start of the month. The White Sox right-hander gave up four runs on seven hits over six innings, striking out six without a walk. Shields retired the first five Phillies he faced before consecutive hits from Tommy Joseph, Aaron Altherr and Freddy Galvis brought home two runs. Cesar Hernandez and Joseph also went deep for the Phillies.
The White Sox scored one in the ninth off of Gomez but stranded two runners when Dioner Navarro grounded out to second to end the contest.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Eickhoff shakes off sixth: The sixth inning has been a problem this season for Eickhoff, who has a 12.32 ERA in the sixth compared to a combined 2.64 ERA in the first five innings. But after he allowed the two-run homer to Navarro and allowed a hit to Tyler Saladino to bring the tying run at the plate, he retired the next three batters to preserve the Phillies' two-run lead.
"I tried to slow it down," Eickhoff said. "Freddy [Galvis] came out and said I was going a little quick, a little fast, so he was kind of instrumental in slowing me down and making me make pitches. I was happy to get out of that inning and bounce back." More >
Navarro dials long distance: The White Sox had one hit through five innings but got going in the sixth. Avisail Garcia opened the frame with a single and Navarro homered to cut the lead in half. Navarro had last homered on July 4, going 32 games and 112 at-bats without a dinger. He now has six for the season.
Cesar, Tommy and Aaron: Hernandez, Joseph and Altherr continue to make cases for 2017. Hernandez hit a solo homer to left in the third and Joseph hit a solo shot to right in the sixth. Hernandez entered the game hitting .343 (72-for-210) with 15 extra-base hits, including three homers, 16 RBIs and a .413 on-base percentage over his previous 59 games. Joseph has hit 17 homers, giving Phillies' first basemen a Major League-leading 33 homers this season. Altherr added a pair of hits and two RBIs, as well. Mackanin said he has been impressed with each of them.
"That's kind words from the guy that's at the helm of the club," Joseph said. "You get the opportunity, you just try to make the most of it. And that's what I'm trying to do and that's what everybody in here is trying to do."
Shields doesn't dig the long ball: With the two home runs allowed in six innings, Shields has now given up 22 in 75 2/3 innings since joining the White Sox. Shields, who has a combined 16 losses between San Diego and the White Sox, has yielded a Major League-high 64 home runs since the start of '15.
"Yeah, I mean the ball down the line, I honestly didn't think it was going to go out," Shields said of Hernandez's home run. "I thought it was a routine pop fly. I think he thought it was a routine pop fly, but sometimes it goes that way." More >
"We won, so I guess I made the right move. That's how it works, right?" - Mackanin, on removing Eickhoff, despite throwing just 71 pitches after six innings
"The way he was swinging before he got hurt was probably as good as he's been swinging it since he's been here. It may take a little while for him to get that back, but you like what you see as far as him being able to make contact. And he makes hard contact." --Ventura, on Garcia, who had two hits and an RBI
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard made his first career appearance at U.S. Cellular Field and has now played in all 30 big league ballparks. He singled, giving him a hit in all 30, as well.
WHAT'S NEXT Phillies: The Phillies return to action Friday when they open a three-game series against the Mets at Citi Field at 7:10 p.m. ET. Phillies left-hander Adam Morgan (1-7, 6.21 ERA) faces Mets right-hander Bartolo Colon (11-7, 3.36 ERA) in the series opener.
White Sox:Anthony Ranaudo opens a four-game set against the Mariners, with first pitch set for 7:10 p.m. CT on Thursday, having lasted pitched on Aug. 17 in Cleveland, where he allowed five runs on eight hits over four innings. Ranaudo has given up eight runs on 10 hits over 10 2/3 innings pitching for the White Sox, including four home runs.