PHILADELPHIA -- Phillies center fielder Odubel Herrera might want to extend the season a little longer.
Herrera has been one of the hottest hitters on the planet for the past week, and his torrid hitting continued in Tuesday night's 7-6 victory over the White Sox at Citizens Bank Park. He went 3-for-4 with one home run, three RBIs, three runs scored and two stolen bases. He is hitting .536 (15-for-28) with four doubles, two home runs, six RBIs and four stolen bases in his last seven games.
"I'm working hard," Herrera said through the Phillies' interpreter. "I think I'm working really hard. Things are showing off."
White Sox left fielder Melky Cabrera hit a three-run home run to right field in the third inning to give Chicago a 3-2 lead, but the Phillies scored two runs in the bottom of the third against right-hander James Shields to make it 4-3. Herrera knocked in a run in the fifth and Phillies left fielder Roman Quinn hit a one-out single to right-center field in the sixth to score two runs to give the Phillies a four-run cushion.
But the lead nearly didn't hold up. Phillies closer Jeanmar Gomez allowed three hits and three runs in the ninth inning, getting yanked with two outs and the tying run on second. Michael Mariot entered and got Tim Anderson to ground out to end the game. It was the first save of Mariot's career.
"We had some opportunities there, even in the middle, to get back into it," White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. "Offensively, we just kept chipping away. Even in the last inning there, we bring up the tying run. But we've gotta be able to hold them. That's the biggest thing."
Said Mariot, who got the ball from the final out: "It was pretty cool. I want to say I had more adrenaline even before I got up. I heard somebody say if somebody goes in it's a save opportunity. That kind of got the adrenaline going. Going out there I was just thinking about throwing strikes and getting ahead."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED The Scorpion:Ryan Howard nicknamed rookie first baseman Tommy Joseph the Scorpion earlier in the season. It did not catch on, but Joseph at least established himself at the plate. He went 2-for-3 with one double and one RBI. He is hitting .500 (10-for-20) with two doubles, two home runs and five RBIs in his last six games.
Homer hurts Shields again: No pitcher in baseball has allowed more balls to leave the yard this season than Shields. The red-hot Herrera helped Shields tighten his hold on the top spot when he smacked a two-run shot in the first inning -- the 38th Shields has surrendered this season. The Angels' Jered Weaver (36) and Indians' Josh Tomlin (35) are the only pitchers who come within six of Shields. The Phillies plated seven total runs off Shields in 5 1/3 innings, the seventh time Shields has allowed seven or more runs in 20 starts since joining the White Sox in June.
"It was kind of on and off. First inning, I thought [Quinn] swung on the check swing. I ended up walking him and giving up a homer," Shields said. "I made some pretty good pitches that I actually thought were gonna hit the dirt that they got some hits off me and strung together some hits when they needed to. We ended up with the infield in and they found some holes. I've got to do a better job of getting some outs there early."
Thompson avoids major damage: Phillies right-hander Jake Thompson allowed eight hits and seven runs in five innings against the White Sox on Aug. 23 at U.S. Cellular Field. He fared a bit better Tuesday, allowing four hits and three runs in five innings. He got out of a jam in the fifth, when Jose Abreu hit into an inning-ending double play with runners on first and second, preserving a 4-3 lead.
"It was huge," Thompson said. "I had to have one. That guy is the dangerous guy in their lineup. Good average guy, good pop guy. I was able to run a fastball in on him and got a ground ball when I absolutely had to have it."
Eaton's double:Adam Eaton had been 0-for-4 coming into his ninth-inning at-bat, but after falling behind 0-1, Eaton ripped a shot into left-center field to help the White Sox get within one of the Phillies. The rally, though, was extinguished when Anderson grounded out. It was the second straight game with a double for Eaton, who smacked a two-bagger in Monday's loss to the Royals.
"I hate to do it, but I'd have to consider it because he hasn't been himself lately. We want to win as many games as we can." -- Phillies manager Pete Mackanin, on possibly using a different pitcher in save situations in the season's final 11 games.
Gomez has a 10.13 ERA (15 earned runs in 13 1/3 innings) in 16 appearances since Aug. 14. He also has allowed 23 hits and six walks.
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
On the 21st try, Omar Narvaez finally caught his first man stealing. The 24-year-old backstop entered Tuesday having been stolen on successfully in all 17 tries, including a pair of Royals on Monday. The Phillies took advantage and swiped three bags -- two from Herrera and one from Quinn -- but Cesar Hernandez in the eighth inning became Narvaez's first victim.
"I think their speed really came into play for a lot of [the game]," Ventura said. "You're gonna need some help from your pitchers. Those guys are pretty speedy. It's not for a lack of trying or having an arm to do it. You've got to be able to time it up right."
UPON FURTHER REVIEW
Herrera swiped the Phillies' third bag of the game in the fifth inning, diving into second well ahead of Narvaez's throw. But second baseman Tyler Saladino knocked Herrera's hand off the bag by hitting Herrera's elbow with his glove. That led to a White Sox challenge, but replay officials would not be fooled; the call was confirmed.
WHAT'S NEXT White Sox: Left-hander Chris Sale continues his bid for the American League Cy Young at 6:05 p.m. CT on Wednesday when the White Sox and Phillies wrap up a quick two-game set. Sale has gone at least eight innings in each of his last six starts, posting a 2.16 ERA over that span.
Phillies: Phillies right-hander Jerad Eickhoff (10-14, 3.74 ERA) faces the White Sox in the series finale at Citizens Bank Park at 7:05 p.m. ET. He allowed four hits and two runs in six innings last month against the White Sox in Chicago. He is 2-2 with a 2.93 ERA in his last five starts.
Todd Zolecki has covered the Phillies since 2003, and for MLB.com since 2009. Read his Phillies blog The Zo Zone, follow him on Twitter and listen to his podcast.
Evan Webeck is a reporter for MLB.com based in Philadelphia and covered the White Sox on Tuesday.
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.